“HEARST” for Borderland Beat
|Image is from the night after the gun battle, taken by Michoacán Secretariat of Public Security (SSP)|
The silence of the night in the long besieged Aguililla municipality of Michoacan was interrupted by the sound of gun battles on the evening of May 18, continuing into the early morning hours of May 19, 2021. It is widely believed that these battles were between Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and Cárteles Unidos.
On social media, videos taken by Aguililla residents show the type of clashes that were heard intermittently throughout the night. Sustained gunfire lasting between 20-30 seconds and loud detonations can be heard in their videos, most of which do not capture any of the exchange visually, only through audio.
At 1:34 am on May 19 2021, journalist Carlos Ángel Arrieta shared on Twitter a recent video by an Aguililla resident in which a gun battle can be heard in the distance. The resident can be heard saying “That’s enough, Emanuel,” as she listened to the sounds. A second, more popular clip was also shared online in which more gunfire can be heard in the distance.
So far government security forces have not reported whether there were any wounded or dead found as the result of the battle, although previous exchanges have demonstrated that both Cárteles Unidos and CJNG try to collect their dead and transport the bodies elsewhere when possible. In the coming days, photos and videos may emerge online from either Cárteles Unidos or CJNG members showing the aftermath of the battles, possibly in the form of dead bodies or captured rival cartel members and their inevitable fate.
A clip of a truck burning was shared by Jalisciense1c on Twitter. They report the clip depicts a Los Revueltas truck that the CJNG had disabled and destroyed during the Aguililla battle however there is no confirmation or corroboration from any official sources of this. Los Revueltas is a Michoacan cartel which is a part of the larger Cárteles Unidos alliance and associated with the Revueltas family. It is reportedly led by El Chirrios, a man who has been named and threatened in many CJNG videos before.
The online rumor mill is similarly abuzz that Los Revueltas recently kidnapped an uncle of Mencho, the leader of the CJNG as well as relatives of Miguel Fernández alias M2, who is one of the most well known CJNG lieutenants operating in Michoacán. Infobae reports a CJNG member posted online a message which reads “The same way you are so brave with the innocent, come out now and let’s put an end to this fight. Don Agustin, El Banano and El Cuate were innocent, but not us. Come out and let them kill us to see if it’s the same thing.” However these are all rumors and should be taken as such.
For context, after the evening of May 18, 2021, a few hours after to the gunfights, the Michoacán Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) reported on their official Twitter account:
“We maintain free traffic on the Apatzingán-Aguililla section; elements of the Policía Michoacán. They are deployed in the vicinity of the towns of El Terrero, El Limoncito and El Aguaje.”
The SSP and federal forces have made promises to Michoacán residents this month to surveill and maintain free transit on the main thoroughfares of the state, which are regularly blocked by criminal groups in the area. Most commonly these roadblocks come in the form of ditches cut into the concrete/asphalt/cement during the middle of the night.
At 9:04 pm on May 19 2021, a day after the gun fights, Michoacán SSP tweeted out saying:
“In order to preserve order and guarantee free movement, we maintain surveillance at the accesses to the municipality of Aguililla, as well as prevention routes on the road section that leads to the town of El Aguaje.”
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