“MX” for Borderland Beat
|All four victims were reported missing days prior; authorities warn that mass kidnappings in the area are tied to the local drug trade.
Four men were killed and their bodies were abandoned on a road in Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, last week. Officials say this discovery is tied to the disappearances reported in this area in the last few weeks.
The deceased were left side by side near a highway connecting Cuauhtémoc to Chihuahua city. Dozens of elements from different police forces were deployed to the scene when the discovery was announced.
According to February 2021 reports, the presence of a new criminal group in the city of Cuauhtémoc is the main factor of the increase in kidnappings in the area. Most of the people who are kidnapped are killed or presumed dead. State prosecutor Jesús Manuel Carrasco said that many of the victims were believed to be involved in the sale and distribution of meth.
The prosecutor indicated that this group operates mainly in the city of Chihuahua and that it is seeking to have a greater presence in the municipality of Cuauhtémoc and in the western region. However, he did not state the name of the criminal group in question.
Borderland Beat analysis
A Ciudad Juarez newspaper reported that the group was the “Cartel del Tigre” (also known as Gente Nueva del Tigre), a local cell of the Sinaloa Cartel once headed by Julio César Escárcega Murillo AKA “El Tigre”, who was arrested in Cuauhtémoc in October 2017. They work closely with other Gente Nueva cells in rural Chihuahua.
The Cartel del Tigre faction has been competing against La Linea for control of Cuauhtemoc for the past few years, as reported by Borderland Beat. The obvious frictions between the layers of authority (state and municipal) who support La Linea or Cartel del Tigre add another dimension of violence in this area.
In Chihuahua city, gangland disputes between Gente Nueva on one front and La Empresa and Los Aztecas on the other are driving the violence. Gente Nueva gets support and reinforcements from Parral, a municipality close to the border with the state of Durango.
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