Friday, August 31, 2018


"El Chapo" Isidro and "Los Chapitos": the fight for territory in Sonora

By Monica Miranda

La Silla Rota
August 25, 2018

Headlines such as "Three shot in Cajeme", "Dismembered left in ice cooler", "Pistoleros abduct a couple in the south", cease to leave an impression on Sonorans, especially those who live in cities such as Cajeme and Guaymas.

The plaza battles between "Los Chapitos " (Sinaloa Cartel) and "Chapo" Isidro (Beltrán Leyva) have the population of southern Sonora in suspense, municipalities near Sinaloa (Navojoa, Cajeme and Guaymas).

In recent days there have been dismembered bodies found, there are executions in broad daylight, 'levantones', and strong security operations from both the State Secretariat of Public Security and the Army and Gendarmerie.

"The Salazars" are a cell of Sonorans who have been operating for years for the Sinaloa Cartel, recently for the group of "Los Chapitos ", Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, who took more control of the organization after the capture of their father, "El Chapo" Guzmán and later, the arrest of Dámaso López "El Licenciado", with whom they fought for leadership.

On the other side of the camp is "El Chapo" Isidro, (Isidro Meza Flores),also from Sinaloa and who worked for Guzmán Loera before forming his group "Los Mazatlecos", which joined the Beltrán Leyva Cartel for fight for the plaza against the Sinaloa cartel. [BB Note, a factual error, Isidro did not work for Sinaloa Cartel prior to joining BLO]

The capture of Guzmán Loera divided the "Los Salazar" cell in Sonora and made it an easy target for its smaller adversaries operating in the south of the country.

It was thus that the assassins of "El Chapo" Isidro managed to penetrate the security filters in order to try and seize the plaza.

Now, Los Salazar, led by "Los Chapitos ", now known as Gente Nueva Salazar (GNS), seek to recover the places they had held for decades for the planting, transfer and sale of drugs.

"They wanted to make their own group (Chapo Isidro), they left the fight because before they were good with the people here (Los Salazar), they are fighting for the Plaza de Obregón (head of Cajeme)," said a source close to the GNS organization to La Silla Rota.

This fight gained strength in 2018 and is reflected in the deaths recorded in Cajeme, with 126 officially registered homicides.

As of May 2018, there were 64 homicides counted. Since then, in June, 18 murders were counted, 28 in July, and 16 in August so far, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Security.

Homicides happen every day in Ciudad Obregón and Guaymas. As indicated by the laws of physics, before any action a reaction occurs and the behavior of these groups responds to the provoked attacks among themselves.

But in this war, innocent victims have had to pay the cost, without fear of it, just because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is, the time when the criminals decide to launch their next move against their opponents.

During July of this year the wave of violence in Sonora skyrocketed, to the extent that citizens in Cajeme heard gunshots in broad daylight and close to their homes in different parts of the city.

The lives stolen by the struggle

Alexis Rafael Rivera, at dawn on Sunday, July 22, specifically at 2:00 a.m., told his mother in an agitated voice to open the door of his house as soon as possible, as he had been shot at.

Hours later she was informed that her son had died in the General Hospital of Ciudad Obregón.
The cause was indicated as an assault by the state police of public security, allegedly repelling the shots with a weapon carried by the young man, who was being pursued by the police.

"At 1:42 in the morning I received a call, where he told me, love, open the door for me, they're shooting at me, but it was his strong, firm voice, without hesitation, without any alcohol, you could tell that my son was doing well," said the mother.

The family claims that the police confused Alexis with a hitman, a member of one of the organized crime gangs operating in Obregón, Sonora.

The version sent in a press release indicates that the pursuit began when red alert was activated due to a firearm injury that occurred in the Miravalle neighborhood.

The vehicle reported as the aggressor was a gray Chevrolet Spark, which was driven by Alexis accompanied by three men, who are currently being detained.

During the chase, the Spark vehicle lost control hitting a parked car, from which a person got out and ran, at that time the driver (Alexis) apparently assaulted the officers, who repelled the attack.

In the statement it is indicated that, as the officers approached the car taking preventive measures, they realized that the person they identified as Alexis Rafael was injured, for which they requested the presence of the Red Cross, providing first aid and transfer to the General hospital, where moments later he lost his life.

"We do not believe that version, because of the call he made to my mother, if he was talking on the phone with one hand, how could he go shooting with the other? There are things that do not fit," said the sister of the deceased Uber driver, Johana Rivera.

Later, on July 28 in San Carlos, Guaymas, three young men were "picked up" by state police, and allegedly handed over to a criminal group that operates in the area.

On social networks, the population makes public announcements about missing relatives, mainly these young people who attended a weekend trip to San Carlos.

During the past month, a series of violent events occurred in this region of southern Sonora, such as the disappearance of seven people, four murders, one of them was shot, and a shooting of houses and vehicles in the San Vicente neighborhood, recorded last Sunday at dawn.

State public security points out that through social networks relatives are looking for missing persons between 20 and 40 years of age, and demand that they be found alive.

Faced with this climate of violence, the state, federal and Sedena police maintain security operations in the port of Guaymas and Empalme in order to suspend the travel warning made by the United States Department to its personnel, and also contain the violent acts recorded since last weekend when an armed group fired on vehicles parked during the early morning in the San Vicente neighborhood, confirmed Adolfo García Morales.

The Secretary of Security in Sonora said that work is being done to restore peace among the population of said municipalities, after the information that transpired in social networks about the disappearance of young people in San Carlos, on Saturday 28.

In addition, he said that the presence of municipal police patrolling the area was maintained, a fact that could be corroborated through the GPS system that the police units report, as the supposed absence of the elements in the streets due to threats of organized crime was reported.

"In the C5, the police are monitored by GPS patrols, where they are, there are calls to 911 incidents that were attended to by the municipal police. The GPS allowed us to see that there were municipal police patrolling the city, right now I do not have the exact data how many."

Following these events, an alert was issued by the United States Department calling for a travel ban of personnel from the American consulates to the municipalities of southern Sonora.

Escalating violence with dismemberment

A ice cooler containing human remains appeared on Friday, August 10, on Calle 600, a few meters from Calle Norman E. Borlaug, in the Valle del Yaqui, in Cajeme.
The municipal police received the report, detecting in the area a narcomanta adjudicated to Gente Nueva Salazar.

Elements of the Municipal and State police arrived in addition to expert services to collect the cooler and the official transfer towards the district attorney's office in Cajeme.

The constant violence in Cajeme with multiple murders, the last 4 registered in less than 24 hours on Friday the 10th, caused the population's boiling point to be reached. That is why the responsible authorities are required to rethink the coordination strategies between the different levels of police corporations, said Faustino Félix Chávez.

The mayor of Cajeme said that one of his last duties as a public servant of Ciudad Obregó is analyzing with the state government new measures to stop the murders registered almost daily in Cajeme, and alternatives to inhibit crimes related to organized crime.

"We have to listen to society, it is not something that is only happening in the south of Sonora, we know that it is not foreign to the rest of the country, but we worry about our house, we care where we live, where we have our families and although we said it is something between criminals, we have already seen people who are not criminals having to suffer the ravages of what is happening."

For its part, the government of Sonora has continued with operations in Cajeme, Guaymas and Empalme, where elements of the State Public Security Police, the Federal Police, the Gendarmerie and the Mexican Army arrived.

"For various sectors of Ciudad Obregón, monitoring and prevention points were installed in which elements of SEDENA, PESP, PF and Municipal Police participate," the state agency reported on its Twitter account.

Cajemenses seek to restore peace

Marches for Peace, organized by relatives of "levantadas" or disappeared persons, began with inhabitants of Cajeme and Guaymas going out into the streets to demand that the authorities contain the clashes between members of organized crime groups.

With placards and slogans of "No more violence " and "We want security and peace" they marched to the municipal palace.

Armida Salas Lapizco, denounced to the authority the disappearance of her nephew Miguel Ángel ITSON, student in the Systems Engineering degree, who disappeared on March 27, 2012.

"He was going to graduate in December 2012, he was doing his social service and we do not know anything, the authorities have not given us any response, we have never passed from the PGR window, my nephew's car appeared abandoned."

There are about 70 murders officially registered in Cajeme so far this year, but it should be noted that there is a percentage that is not reported to the judicial authorities, so it is not recorded in the lists reported by the Executive Secretariat of the National System of Public Security.

(Translated August 28 by El Profe for Borderland Beat)

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