Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, February 1, 2021

5 Mine Workers Killed in Zacatecas as Cartel War Intensifies

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Police officers arrive at the scene where the 5 mine workers were killed. They were sitting in their vehicles when the cartel hitmen arrived and opened fire at them.

In an armed attack on Sunday night, five mine workers were shot to death in the municipality of Fresnillo, Zacatecas. The victims were three women and two men; they were shot while they were sitting inside two vehicles. So far authorities have not given a public announcement about this incident. Local media reports say that three other people were injured. The assassins managed to flee and are currently at large.

The month of January 2021 was particularly violent in Zacatecas with 57 registered homicides and three mass murder incidents. In the first incident, authorities discovered six bodies inside a mine shaft. In the second one, eight people were killed in a single morning, including two minors. Authorities say there is an ongoing turf war between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS).

Since last September, the Mexican government launched a special guard force to protect local mining companies because they have been preyed by drug cartels. Mining companies, many of them foreign, have been forced to pay extortion to local cartels. In the past, cartels have also stolen minerals or semi-refined metals directly from mines.

Mexico's mining industry has to take into account the rising security costs and threats from drug cartels when they plan to open or close a mining facility. Cartels threaten these mining regions not only to control the smuggling routes to the U.S.-Mexico border.

They also want to keep their drug-producing regions intact. Many of the isolated, mountainous regions where mining companies have a presence are where traffickers grow marijuana and poppies. Some drug cartels have also started their own side business of illegal mining.

Survey and statistics 

This January 2021 ended as a violent month for the citizens of Fresnillo. Over 50 murders were registered that month. In a survey conducted by a local newspaper, Fresnillo residents reported that violent acts have prevailed in various parts of the city and its rural communities. They said that their perception of security has worsen in 2021 and that this year is much worse than previous ones.

According to another survey done by Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), over 91 percent of Fresnillo residents said they do not feel safe living there. Fresnillo currently ranks among the top five worst cities of public perception of insecurity.

The head of the Attorney General's Office in Zacatecas (FGJEZ), Francisco Murillo, said that since 2019 there has been a 60 percent increase in homicides. He highlighted that 91 percent of homicides are linked to organized crime groups.

"Criminal groups have been operating in different areas of Zacatecas and that has generated higher mass killing incidents", Murillo said.

Sources: Milenio; Ecodiario; NTRZac; Noticias en la Mira; Reuters; Jornada


  1. Despite the circumstances, it is beyond a pleasure to not only see BB back up again, but one of the greatest and long-time posters as well.. MX!


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