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Los Viagras Behind Much of Friday’s Violence in Michoacán says Head of SSP

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A truck burned in Michoacán on Friday, May 28 2021.   
Israel Reyes Patron, the head of the Michoacán Ministry of Public Security (SSP) said in a press conference on Saturday, May 29 2021 that Los Viagras, of La Familia Michoacana and Carteles Unidos were the perpetrators behind the violence in Morelia on Friday. He also attributed many of Friday’s roadblocks in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán to Los Viagras.

On Friday in the city of Morelia, 5 vehicles, 3 gas stations and 2 large stores were set on fire. Israel Reyes Patron said of this:

“What happened in Morelia, we know and we have information that those responsible are members of Los Viagras cells, of a group that is settled in the area. And what they wanted was to generate distraction from the Government, so as not to generate actions against these criminal groups.” He also stated that 2 people carrying firearms were detained in Morelia on Friday and that they are currently being investigated.

He continued on to clarify that these events were unrelated to the upcoming June 6 2021 elections, saying “It is a merely criminal issue that has nothing to do with the exercise of the electoral process.”

“It is for control of the area. It is a conflict that this group that is in Pinzándaro, Buenavista, with the group that is in Aguililla, feel harassed. And they generated these types of events to draw the attention and the Government’s brand, and in some way they protect themselves in their area ”, he explained. “It is about sabotage, blockades and communication channels.”

“The conflict is in the same place as always, in front of Aguaje, El Terrero, where the territorial control of the group that is settled in Aguililla is divided against those who are settled in Pinzándaro”, he said.

Reforma reports that the group in control of Pinzándaro, Buenavista is Los Viagras, an armed cell of cartel La Familia Michoacana. They also report that Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) is present in Aguililla municipality.

Israel Reyes Patron, the head of the Michoacán Ministry of Public Security.

On Friday in the town of El Terrero in Buenavista municipality, National Guard members were attacked with sticks and stones by a group of people.

“Armed civilians are those who are uncomfortable with the presence of the Government, every time we are present they attack us or try to get us out of the area wanting us not to generate any action against the criminals who are settled in that area.”

“The same happens with the National Guard, with SEDENA and with the State Police. Every time we enter it is a permanent conflict and it is not the population, it is manipulation by people dedicated to criminal matters.”

In regards to the reports that a Bodega Aurrerá in Apatzingan was set on fire, he clarified that the video that was broadcast in social networks said to depict it was material from years ago. “SSP personnel arrived at the scene and confirmed that it was not real information,” he said.

Borderland Beat Analysis

Although none of this is necessarily new information, it is new to hear this information from a source that is reputable enough to merit covering. Having government public officials confirm that many of the events of Friday were perpetrated by Los Viagras is somewhat out of the norm for Michoacán SSP.

They, like many police agencies across Mexico, rarely comment on the specific cartel affiliation of perpetrators. They tend to characterize detainees under the blanket term “criminal group”, with no further specificity.

For Michoacán law enforcement and security forces this press conference may mark a turning point, or it may stand a one time outlier from their standard protocol. 

Los Viagras is a cartel group that is part of the larger Carteles Unidos alliance which fights Cartel Jalisco New Generation for control of the state of Michoacán. Los Viagras is thought to be led by Nicolás Sierra Santana alias “El Gordo” along with his brothers Carlos, Gabino and Rodolfo (deceased) commonly referred to as the “Sierra Santana brothers”.

Other well known cartels within Carteles Unidos include:

Cartel del Abuelo, or Cartel de Tepalcatepec, originating from Tepalcatepec municipality, is thought to be led by Juan José Farias Álvarez alias “El Abuelo”. 

Los Blancos de Troya, originating from Apatzingan municipality, is thought to be led by César Sepúlveda Arellano alias El Boto. 

Los Reyes, originating from Los Reyes municipality, is thought to be led by Luis Enrique Barragán Chávez alias El R-5 and Alfonso Fernández Magallan alias Poncho la Quiringua. 

Los Tenas, originating from Aquila municipality, is thought to be led by Fernando Cruz Mendoza alias El Tena. 

Sources: Official video of the press conference, El Sol de Zamora, La Voz de Michoacán, El Siglo, La Prensa de Monclova


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