Mexican police, soliders killed in multi-city attacks by drug gangs
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) — Coordinated attacks in at least seven Mexican cities killed three federal police officers and two soldiers Saturday in what officials are calling an unprecedented onslaught by drug gangs.
The attacks were in retribution for the capture early Saturday of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, a high-ranking member of the drug gang known as La Familia Michoacana (The Michoacan Family), the state-run Notimex news agency reported.
Medina is known as chief of assassins within the organization and a close confidante of Nazario “El Chayo” Moreno, one of the group’s two top leaders, the Mexican newspaper El Universal reported Saturday.
Men armed with high-powered rifles and grenades launched the attacks in the cities of Morelia, Zitacuaro, Zamora, Lazaro Cardenas, Apatzingan, La Piedad and Huetamo in Michoacan state, Notimex news said, citing federal police authorities.
The three officers were killed in Zitacuaro, police official Eduardo Moran told CNN en Español, while six police officers were reported wounded in Morelia. Two soldiers were killed in Zamora, shot by men in a passing car as they walked to their headquarters.
Michoacan is in west-central Mexico, on the Pacific coast.
The government, the brave officials, federales and policemen of Mexico, the ones who are standing up to the drug cartels, are unbelievably courageous. They should get a hell of a lot more cheers from us than they do, especially when you consider that it’s Americans’ cash that these para-militaries have used to out-arm and out-gun everybody.
Saturday’s attacks came just days after a drug gang in Tijuana declared they were at war with police, threatening to kill five officers every week until Police Chief Julian Leyzaola resigns.
The threat was made in a note found on the windshield of a slain officer’s car, news reports said.
“Leyzaola has become the poster boy for honest police work, which has put the drug gangs on notice,” Vicente Calderon, a reporter for the Tijuana Press news agency, told CNN affiliate KUSI.
“They believe he is serious, that he means business and is trying to re-establish the rule of law that has been affecting the city and whole state for many years since organized crime established themselves in Baja [California].”
Tijuana, the westernmost city in Mexico, is across the border from San Diego, California. Sixteen police officers have died there in 2009, and officers are now patrolling the city in groups of six, KUSI reported.
Leyzaola is the man, he’s serious.
You know that corruption has been a way of life there when the cartels make political demands about his employment. ‘We want somebody we can bribe.’