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

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Armed Gunmen "Los Motonetos" Descend On San Cristobal De Las Casas, Chiapas

By "narcomappingmx" for Borderland Beat

On June 14, 2022 a flurry of social media posts began documenting criminal group operations on a large scale in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Videos and images taken by citizens showed large groups of armed criminals moving on foot in the northern section of the city, around the Mercardo del Norte.

Title photo made by Hearst

This post aims to compile the videos and photos taken by citizens and journalists, and analyze the events that took place.

In an apparent show of force, the criminals arrived, fired off shots, smashed and burned cars for about five hours, and then left before security forces intervened. Only one death has been reported, although in audio from videos, many gunshots can be heard. Some videos seem to show some of the gunmen in a fire fight, firing shots at a target off camera before running for cover. 

The criminals performed several actions to disrupt the city. According to local witnesses, some rode around on motorcycles, shooting guns at nothing in particular. Others attacked cars that passed by, and hijacked vehicles to burn for roadblocks.

Amidst the chaos, dozens of terrified locals ran and other hid inside a local Walmart, and where followed by the criminals who parked their vehicles in the parking lot. 

The fight was for control of extortion rents in the large market, which houses hundreds of vendors selling everything from vegetables to counterfeit movies. However, according to local papers, in the nearby streets you can also find illicit drugs, firearms, and illegally chopped lumber.

An anonymous tenant of the market confirmed this, reporting to local paper Chiapas Paralelo that: "for years, people have wanted control, but now it has increased, and they want us to pay a tax". The mayor of the city further confirmed this in a radio interview, saying that the group has been responsible for extortion for the last five years.

Criminals also left threatening graffiti directed at Chavez, who according to local papers, is the administrator of the market.

Photos posted by Facebook Page Noticias San Luis show graffiti painted on the walls of the market. 

A video posted by twitter user @LPueblo2 shows the city of San Cristobal, with smoke rising and gunshots in the distance.

The count of criminals varies; some nota roja pages reported that thousands of criminals descended on the city, while traditional news sites such as Financiero reported about 100. Most videos and photos show groups of several dozen armed men nonchalantly walking down the middle of the road, with no fear of being spotted or confronted by security forces, so Financiero's number is more likely accurate.

Video of armed gunmen walking in San Cristobal shared by twitter user @LPueblo2.

It is important to note that San Cristobal, Chiapaseneración does not suffer from a lack of state power - there is in fact an army base just 30 minutes from where these events took place. The region is also frequently patrolled by the Mexican army. However, these security forces only arrived after the criminals scattered. 

Citizens reported that local police did not intervene. One video posted on Twitter shows a civilian confronting several officers, saying "why wont you confront them? (...) you are all useless!". An official message from the mayor would later address this widespread anger from citizens, saying that the police were were not equipped to fight the better armed criminals.

 Around 5:30 PM, security forces began to arrive. However, the criminals had all left. A large joint force of army soldiers, National Guard, State Police, and Municipal Police searched and patrolled the empty streets.

In a radio interview today, San Cristobal mayor Mariano Díaz Ochoa claimed that the group responsible is "Los Motonetos". He also claimed that he knows who their leaders behind the attack are. In December of 2021, Borderland Beat reported that this same gang attacked the San Cristobal police headquarters, intending to free some of their members.

The Criminal Context Of Chiapas

While activity by criminal groups has been rising in the past year in Chiapas, San Cristobal has long been considered a safe 'pueblo magico'. It has a large community of foreigners, and relies largely on tourism. Recent events however, exhibit how the region is now on the radar of criminal groups.

In July of 2021, InSight Crime reported that in response to these threats, a community defense group called "El Machete" formed. They released a statement saying that they would defend their communities against organized crime groups and traffickers who had emerged as threats. Earlier that month, a criminal group had launched a wave of deadly attacks against the indigenous group in Pantehlo, Chiapas.

That same month, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion attacked the son a high ranking Sinaloa Cartel operator in Tuxtla Gutierrez, as Borderland Beat reported.

Photos posted by Facebook Page Noticias San Luis show a burning car in the middle of the road, likely used as a roadblock. 

A video of the same event shared on twitter by user @LPueblo2.

Photos posted by Facebook Page Noticias San Luis show dozens of civilians hiding inside a Walmart, many of them lying on the floor for fear of stray gunfire.

Photos showing armed gunmen near the Mercado Norte posted by Twitter user @LPueblo2.

An official message from the mayor of San Cristobal, Mariano Díaz Ochoa following the event.


  1. I thought this was a big tourist área, so much for that. OS but 2 dead bodies, burned to a crisp, just found in cibuta, sonora, near nogales, were young Narcos i think from chapitos crew were killed. El Gigios area.

    1. Sonara is a fucking mess worst than zacatecas

    2. I was in San Cristobal and Tuxtla about a year ago, after the CJNG attacks. Not as many tourists as usual, although this could be because of covid.

    3. Why would anyone visit Mexico?

    4. 11.59, very good point.

    5. I visit Mexico for the donkey show and the ladies at the strip club.

  2. sir to blame everything bad in Chiapas on Trump.

    1. 5:10 SIR is a junki but ge aint a trump hater, on the other hand you seem to be a trumpster

    2. Negative chief.

    3. Lol 548 is a sir nuthugger. That tecato always bitches about the USA is only reason why everything is wrong in Mexico.

    4. 9:45 behind most every ill in the world are American or European criminal greedy masterminds, withnexception of some australopithecos from Austrailia like Robert Murdoch, his whole damn family and the "reporters" he uses until they claim in court they are just onlynentertainers"

  3. I wonder how USA law enforcement would react in a event like these 🤔

    1. The local government said the police did not intervene as they were outgunned. But that same excuse cant work to explain why the army did not arrive. It should not take 5 hours to drive down that simple highway - I have driven it in 20 mins. The people of San Cristobal deserve their security.

      US law enforcement certainly are better trained and equipped. I cant think of any situation happening like this in the US, so who knows

  4. Mexico needs to invite the US military in to replace their own corrupt army and police forces and retake control of the country. But Amlo would never do that.Too much of Mexico's government is funded and owned by narcos. They should use money saved by disbanding their own corrupt police to pay the US to restore order and do lie detectors on every single government employee

    1. It's 👍 good to think positive for Mexico, the minute USA wants help in restoring ..,..the currrupt officials, curupt Military cry it is a solvereign country and they need no help.
      Yes to the bribes, yes to the yearly aid from USA, no to reforms, no to getting Mexico better.

    2. 1:56 american melitary bent on protecting us mercenary businesses in Mexico in exchange for executive positions after retirement is never an option, who wants 20 or 50 year occupation and extortion by US businessmen protected by US melitary???
      US melitary abuses and corruption (SOAWATCH) left the LatinAmerican side full of migrants the US does not want even in their Cumbres de Las Americas and mass grave full of their Falsos Positivos to visit like La Macarena in Culombia.


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