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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, August 1, 2022

Analysis And Updates On The CJNG IED Bombing In Irapuato, Guanajuato

Written by "El Huaso", graphics by "Hearst" for Borderland Beat. Many thanks to security expert David Saucedo for his analysis and correspondence.

This is an updated and expanded version of the two Borderland Beat articles covering the July 28 IED attack and the subsequent release of a narco video of the event.

A frame of Video #1 showing the moment the explosion is detonated.

Key Points and Summary

  • A criminal group called police about a body inside a house in Irapuato, Guanajuato on 7/28.

  • The criminals may have observed police response through cameras inside the house, & detonated the bomb.

  • Afterward, they released a taunting video of the footage threatening local Ministerial Police.

  • 45 of the 54 narco messages (83.33%) by CJNG in Guanajuato in 2021 use the exact phrase the narco video ends with.

  • A prior narco video released by CJNG in February 2022 mirrors the same language and makes similar threats.

An investigative police officer (AIC - Agencia de Investigación Criminal) was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) after responding to reports of a body inside an empty house on July 28 in Irapuato, Guanajuato. The IED was hidden inside a house and detonated remotely, according to the press. The next day, criminals allegedly released a video filmed from a hidden camera inside the house, threatening local police (referenced here as Video #2). The IED was intended to kill Ministerial Police, according to the video. While authorities have not released information about the group behind the attack, evidence suggests that it was orchestrated by the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).

July 28, 2022

The events occurred on the afternoon of Thursday July 28 on calle Jose Zapata, colonia El Comunal, in southern Irapuato, Guanajuato. Irapuato journalist Gerardo Hernández captured the events (here referenced as Video #1) while livestreaming on Facebook for his own outlet, TV Consecuencias. Hernández was initially covering the police response to reports of a dismembered body inside the house when his livestream captured the explosion and aftermath.

Around 6:30 p.m., Municipal Police and paramedics were the first to respond to reports of gunshots and a body inside the house. Secretary of Citizen Security, Ricardo Benavides, later stated that responding agents found no signs of gunfire. Officers entered the open door to the house, and upon finding dismembered body parts inside black plastic bags inside, took photos and called the Guanajuato Attorney General's Office (FGEG) to take over the investigation and established a perimeter outside. Municipal Police officers later noted that nothing seemed odd inside the house. 

In a photo provided by Guanajuato security expert David Saucedo, a shiny black boot is visible, consistent with those worn by Municipal Police in Irapuato. This affirms that the Municipal Police entered the house before detonation and lends support to the thesis that the IED was detonated by a timer or remote detonating signal, not by movement of the door.

FGEG agents arrived soon after along with the army and AIC officers. Hernández begins livestreaming around 7:33. At 7:35, his filming captures the explosion as two AIC officers are about to enter the house. 

While several news sources reported that two officers were injured, a tweet by the Guanajuato Attorney General's office stated that one officer and a dog were injured in the event, and will survive. 

Libia García Muñoz Ledo, Secretary of the Guanajuato State Government, stated that the bombing was between criminal groups and not an act of terrorism.

Summary of Video #1

This is a shortened version of Video #1, focusing on the moment of detonation and the moments after. For the full 33 minute recording, see journalist Gerardo Hernández' video on TV Consecuencias.

Video #1 starts about one minute before the detonation of the IED until 30 minutes after, as police investigators cordon off the area and continue their examination of the crime scene. 

The recording shows two investigative police officers about to enter a house while Mexican army soldiers as well as FGEG agents guard the neighborhood block. Hernández’s video zooms in as the female officer is about to enter, when a loud explosion is heard and smoke covers the area, shocking the responding officers and triggering screams from onlookers. 

The two victims at the door at time of detonation were not the first security forces inside the house. Later video would reveal that army soldiers and other police had entered the crime scene without harm, suggesting that the IED was not triggered by the first elements who entered the building. Furthermore, the female agent who was injured had previously been inside the home, as shown in Video #2.

At the time, Hernández said on his livestream that it appeared the detonation was caused by the door opening. 

A frame-by-frame examination of the explosion shows detonation as the officer reaches the door. It may be that the IED is detonated at the moment the officer appears to contact the door, but certainly not as she entered, as she is clearly still outside the house.

Following the explosion, security forces who had secured the area and cordoned it off with yellow tape sprang into action, ushering civilians away in case of another explosion. One soldier appears to grab a backpack from a Humvee, possibly retrieving medical equipment to care for the injured.

The injured AIC officer is shown limping, escorted by soldiers to be assessed for injuries before being speedily evacuated in a white National Guard pickup for treatment. 

Within moments, the area is swarmed with elements of the army (green uniforms), Guardia Nacional (white uniforms), and Irapuato Police (blue/black uniforms) who expand the perimeter and are seen urging curious civilians back indoors. Civilians are also seen carrying children out of their homes as they flee the area. Two more ambulances arrived. 

According to AM Guanajuato, the total number of responding officers and soldiers was about 150. 

Photos showing the exterior of the house show the window frame was blown out of the cement wall. The door the officers were about to enter seems intact. Through the open window, we can see the room adjacent to the entrance shows significant damage. The metal door frame to the next room appears to be damaged. Although the photos are blurry, it is possible to make out what appears to be a crack in the cement wall near the roof.

Warning graphic photos below: Photos of the interior and exterior of the house below.

July 29, 2022

A Narco Communicado Emerges

The day after, notable details emerge. In the late afternoon of Friday July 29, a video allegedly released by the criminals behind the attack began to circulate online on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. It is not yet clear which account first posted the video. Often in Mexico, criminals will send their videos to several social media outlets or news sources in order to expand the reach of their message.

Summary of Video #2

Video #2 is less than a minute long. It shows edited footage from a hidden camera inside the house. The video shows the security forces inspecting the crime scene inside the home, with threatening, taunting text overlayed. In one corner by the door, the dismembered body can be seen inside the black trash bag, next to blood smears.

This angle shows that the interior of the house is barren, except for the body inside trash bags and the the cooler. The bomb may have been placed inside these bags, mixed in with the body.

The text is directed at the local Ministerial Police, who the criminals accuse of targeting family members of their organization and operating without search warrants. The criminals expressed disappointment that the Attorney General's Office and Army also showed up to the crime scene. They had hoped only their targets, the Ministerial Police, would arrive at their trap. 

One line of text says ”We hoped it would only be you, common Ministerial Police. If we are your target, you are ours.”

The video ends with footage taken from Hernández's Video #1 showing the explosion from outside the house, with the phrase "Remember that all of Guanajuato has an owner and we have no fear here" overlayed in yellow letters.

The text in the video communicates a motive: revenge against the Ministerial Police of Irapuato for what the criminals allege is targeting their families and operations, specifically raiding houses without search warrants.

While some journalists have claimed the Video #2 was live streamed, providing the criminals with live footage inside the house, this is not confirmed. Additionally, the IED was detonated at a time when no one was inside the house. If the criminals had access to live video, and truly intended to kill or injure a Ministerial Police Officer, they would have waited until the officer had entered and was closer to the bomb. 

Video translation:

We make this aware to you:

That we respect the integrity of other police agencies, 

Military and municipal, 

This is for you, 

(corrientes = lowly, common, base) Common Ministerial Police, 

We have told you, keep on working outside of procedure, 

Working without search warrants, and messing with the families of our members, 

He who warns doesn't betray, 

We hoped it would only be you, common Ministerial Police, 

If we are your target, you are ours

Remember that all of Guanajuato has an owner and we have no fear here.

Context in the state of Guanajuato

The state of Guanajuato is currently the most violent state in Mexico by homicide count, with 1,566 recorded so far this year, according to SSPC data. This accounts for just over 10% of the nation's total homicides. This homicide count is driven by conflict between criminal groups. While violence was heavily concentrated in the northern states of Mexico in the early 2010s, Guanajuato has become the epicenter of conflict in Mexico for the last several years. 

At the time of this attack, a staggering 89.7% residents of Irapuato responded that they feel unsafe in the city, according to poll data by Mexico's statistics agency INEGI.

According to security analyst David Saucedo, Irapuato is an epicenter of violence in Guanajuato, currently contested by CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel. When asked about this event, David Saucedo said to Borderland Beat that this explosion is related to this conflict, while authorities do not know which group was behind this attack.

Explosives and IEDs in Mexico

The use of explosives attracts significant government attention in Mexico, usually provoking a federal response. Their use here against security forces will give the federal government further reason to react with force, probably by increasing army deployments to the region.

As Small Wars Journal researchers note in "Use of IEDs and VBIEDs in Mexican Crime Wars," while cases of IEDs are fairly uncommon in Mexico, many have occurred in the state of Guanajuato, most often related to the ongoing conflict between the CJNG and Cartel Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL), who are allies of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The authors also note that IED's used in Guanajuato have been often accompanied by threat messaging towards the government, which is consistent with this event.

One example of IED use against security forces was in March of 2020, when a car bomb was used in Celaya to injure two Guardia Nacional officers, as reported by Borderland Beat. This attack happened days after CSRL leader José Antonio Yépez Ortiz's ("El Marro") father was captured by security forces.

The use of an IED against security forces is an incredibly brazen move. Coupled with the criminals publishing a threatening video after the event and showcasing their sadistic methods, this event is extremely likely to result in a strong government response.

This event draws comparison to another bombing in Ciudad Juarez in 2009, when criminals placed a bomb under a body dressed as a police officer. As first responders approached, they detonated the explosive, killing their victims. This event has escalated to using the video for propaganda purposes after the attack.

Who is behind this attack?

While there is no official government confirmation about which cartel is behind this attack, evidence points to the CJNG, a large, powerful cartel which has earned a reputation with the DEA as being willing “to engage in violent confrontations with Mexican government security forces and rival cartels'’.

News site Infobae identifies one phrase in particular that seems to point to CJNG being the author of the attack. The phrase the video ends with, "Remember that all of Guanajuato has an owner", is a common phrase used in CJNG messaging. I reviewed my collection of narco messages found in Mexico in 2021, and found that of the 54 narco messages signed by CJNG in Guanajuato, 45 (83.3%) had this same phrase.

One example from October 20, 2021 shows this exact phrase used in a narco message used to threaten police officers in the city of Leon, Guanajuato.

Additionally, a narco communication video released by CJNG in February of 2022 further points to CJNG being behind this attack. In this video, a member of CJNG threatens the FGEG, saying that for "each house that is raided, or each member of our business you touch, we will kill one of you." This threats seems to have been fulfilled in the July 28 attack.

In this video, the phrase "quien avisa no traiciona" also is said. 

Sources: WhatsApp correspondence with security analyst David Saucedo, Borderland Beat ArchivesHeraldoInfobaeGerardo Hernández Facebook FGE TweetMilenioINEGI Informe de Seguridad Julio 2022, Small Wars JournalLa Opinion.


  1. Fiscales de Hierro in charge of State Security and prosecutions have been getting fame and fortune for being violence generators,
    Carlos Zamarripa has been on the job for about 20 years and just got designated for 10 more by the governor, as Jorge Winckler (the Innocent who has been on the lam for 3 years) got arrested for his crimes in Veracruz and NAYARIT'S El Diablo Veytia is in a prison on the US trying to prove their innocence.
    Puro pinchi Fiscal Carnal all over.

    1. winckler is not innocent, just got nabbed by FGR

  2. Not the first bomb attack probably not the last in Guanaterror

  3. Damn Jalisco just steamrolled over the state. How cone CDS let it happen? Mayo says he's old school so you figure Chapitos would go for the huachicoleo.

    1. Jalisco has poured a lot of effort into the state. Progress has been slow, I wouldn't call it steamrolled. Remember, Mencho has been at this for over 5 years now

    2. Progress in Jalisco?, dont really....

  4. Not much of a blast. Not only are they lousy hitmen but lousy terrorists as well.

    1. Its a good observation. Not even the door came off from the blast.

  5. Thanks Hearst and Huasa for the breakdown and translation. I hope this leads to a firm federal response.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your comments Detroit. We will have to wait and hope for response. It seems like the line for what causes a crackdown gets pushed further and further


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