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Nuevo Laredo's top law enforcement officer was executed Feb.
2, while the security situation in Monterrey continued to
deteriorate.
Mexico Security Memo: Feb. 8, 2011
Nuevo Laredo Public Safety Chief Executed
Manuel Farfan Carriola, the chief of the Public Safety Secretariat for Nuevo
Laredo, Tamaulipas state, was executed along with one of his top aides in an
ambush by a group of armed men in several vehicles minutes before midnight
Feb. 2. Farfan Carriola, a retired Mexican Army brigadier general, had been in
his role as the top law enforcement officer in Nuevo Laredo since just Jan. 1, the
day Nuevo Laredo's mayor appointed him when the mayor himself took office.
Farfan Carriola was in the process of selecting his staff for the Nuevo Laredo
Public Security Secretariat, and STRATFOR security sources have advised that
some of his personnel decisions led to his assassination. The killing comes as
the Gulf Cartel has been conducting an increasing number of operations against
Los Zetas in the Zeta stronghold of the Greater Nuevo Laredo region.
Farfan Carriola was reportedly traveling in a three-car convoy with several
bodyguards and a senior staff aid when five to six pick-up trucks carrying an
undisclosed number of armed members of Los Zetas intercepted him. The Zeta
pick-up trucks reportedly surrounded the vehicle containing Farfan Carriola and
his senior aid, forcing his vehicle to stop before several of the gunmen
dismounted and disarmed Farfan Carriola's bodyguards. The gunmen then
removed Farfan Carriola and his senior aid and promptly shot them executionstyle next to the vehicle they were traveling in.
STRATFOR security sources reported that in the weeks leading up to his
assassination, Zeta members had approached Farfan Carriola and told to name
a Los Zeta associate within the Nuevo Laredo municipal police department as his
second in command. When Farfan Carriola refused to comply and instead
appointed his own choice, he and his appointed aid were targeted for
assassination.
Los Zetas have penetrated much of the Nuevo Laredo municipal government,
especially the local police force, making it very likely members of Farfan
Carriola's own department aided in his assassination. One detail indicating such
complicity that stands out is that none of his bodyguards were killed, or even
injured for that matter; instead, they were simply disarmed -- something that
cannot easily be dismissed. It is also noteworthy that the gunmen did not feel the
need to ambush the motorcade with small-arms fire to force the security
personnel's surrender. Farfan Carriola's assassination is surprising given the
tumultuous security environment in Nuevo Laredo and the nature of his position.
Given the recent fighting with elements of the Gulf Cartel in Nuevo Laredo
contesting Los Zetas' power in the region, Farfan Carriola's assassination sends
a clear message to the Mexican government and the rest of the region that Los
Zetas are still the reigning power -- and that therefore their demands must be
respected
Monterrey Update
The Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, metropolitan area remains beset with violence
as members of Los Zetas and the New Federation continue battle each other for
supremacy in the region. The New Federation, an alliance between the Gulf
Cartel and the Sinaloa Federation against Los Zetas in northeastern Mexico, has
augmented its resources in the region in the last few weeks with an influx of foot
soldiers supplied by the Sinaloa Federation. The New Federation's strategy
largely has involved targeting the Zeta support structure of corrupt municipal
police elements from the various municipalities surrounding Monterrey proper.
Los Zetas have largely been on the defensive in the region for the past few
months, as the group has lost numerous regional commanders to <Mexican
military and Federal Police operations> 169878 in the region. In response, Los
Zetas have increased the number of other criminal activities, such as kidnapping
and various forms robberies, in the region to bolster their finances and help them
maintain their ability to defend their hold on the Monterrey region.
Meanwhile, various types of robberies have been on the increase in recent
weeks in the Monterrey region. There also have been indications that the number
of carjackings and vehicular theft also has increased. This has led the U.S. State
Department to issue a Warden Message alerting U.S. citizens to the increase,
especially the increased robberies in restaurants in the Monterrey area.
We have continued to see the Los Zetas organization delve further and further
into other more common criminal activities as the screws have been tightened on
the organization by the Mexican security forces and the New Federation. With
the new influx of Sinaloa Federation resources to the region, along the continued
elevated presence of Mexican security forces as part of Coordinated Operation
Northeast, we will likely see the security environment degrade even further in the
weeks to come.
The Zetas also have targeted non-complicit law enforcement and correction
entities, including the Topo Chico prison in the northern section of Monterrey.
Topo Chico generally houses the more dangerous criminals in the Monterrey
area, to include several known members and associates of Los Zetas. In recent
weeks, the prison facility has come under attack numerous times, and the prison
security director, Francisco Martinez Ramirez, was found dismembered in a box
Feb. 4 after being kidnapped and tortured.
The attacks thus far on the facility have been very crude (tossing grenades over
the prison walls, rifle fire on observation towers and the perimeter and attacks on
prison guards outside the facilities), but were most likely meant to send a
message rather than to achieve any sort of tactical objective. Los Zetas have
been known to stage massive prison breaks in the past in Zacatecas and Nuevo
Laredo, with their main objective to augment their human resources in times of
need. In any event, Mexican prisons are notorious for allowing criminals to
continue operating from behind bars, so perhaps this facilitated the string of
attacks or probes for a potential prison break.
Jan. 31
Police found the body of an unidentified man covered in a blanket in southern
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The victim bore signs of torture.
Soldiers in the municipality of Tiquicheo, Michoacan, state seized approximately
2.5 tons of marijuana from a truck. The drugs were hidden under a shipment of
vegetable sacks.
Soldiers in the Santa Maria neighborhood of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz state,
arrested nine suspected kidnappers and freed four kidnapping victims.
Federal police in Acapulco, Guerrero state, arrested Miguel Gomez Vasquez, the
suspected leader of a group of gunmen linked to the Independent Cartel of
Acapulco. Gomez Vasquez was allegedly linked to the deaths of 20 Michoacan
state tourists in September and 15 decapitations in Acapulco in January.
Feb. 1
Suspected cartel gunmen used stolen vehicles to block several roads in Santa
Catarina, Nuevo Leon, state after a firefight.
Unidentified gunmen in Allende, Nuevo Leon state, opened fire on a police patrol
vehicle, killing one officer and injuring another.
Unidentified gunmen shot and injured the mayor of San Felipe Xochiltepec,
Puebla state. The mayor's brother and an alderman were killed in the attack.
Unidentified gunmen used stolen vehicles to set up roadblocks in the municipality
of Guadalupe, Zacatecas state, after a firefight near the state governor's
residence. One police officer and two suspected gunmen were killed in the
incident.
Unidentified gunmen set up approximately seven roadblocks in the Guadalajara,
Jalisco state, metro area. The roadblocks were reportedly due to the arrests of
two leaders of cartel alliance La Resistencia by police.
Feb. 2
Authorities announced the arrest of a group of suspected kidnappers linked to La
Familia Michoacana in Mexico state. The suspects allegedly were responsible for
the death of the mayor of Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico state.
Authorities in the Reyes Ixtacala neighborhood of Tlalnepantla, Mexico state
discovered the severed arms and head of a woman in a plastic bag.
Feb. 3
Police arrested three suspected kidnappers linked to La Familia Michoacana in
Tarimoro, Guanajuato state. Two of the suspects were arrested while driving in a
car and the third was located based on intelligence obtained from the first two
suspects.
Municipal police officers in the Cantaros III neighborhood of Nicolas Romero,
Mexico state arrested a suspected kidnapper of immigrants. The suspect is
wanted for the kidnappings of migrants in Tecate, Baja California state.
Feb. 4
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police patrol vehicle in Vista Hermosa,
Michoacan state, killing two police officers and a civilian whom the officers had
arrested.
Soldiers in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, state killed two suspected criminals
during a firefight. Three other suspects were arrested after the incident.
Police in Tumbiscatio, Michoacan state, arrested a suspected plaza leader of La
Familia Michoacana for Acalpican and Playa Azul. The suspect reportedly was
involved in firearms smuggling from Apatzingan to Lazaro Cardenas and in
extortion activities.
Feb. 5
Police in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, discovered the dismembered body of the
Topo Chico prison security chief in a box inside an abandoned vehicle near the
prison.
Soldiers killed 13 suspected criminal gunmen in the municipalities of Valle
Hermoso, Nuevo Laredo, and San Fernando, Tamaulipas state. One person was
arrested in the attacks.
Federal police officers in Cadereyta, Nuevo Leon state arrested a suspected
member of the Gulf Cartel in a vehicle. Intelligence obtained from the suspect led
to the arrests of 14 other alleged Gulf Cartel members in the municipality of
Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state.
Feb. 6
Soldiers in Morelia, Michoacan state, arrested a man with several firearms,
approximately 1,500 rounds of ammunition and more than 1 million in counterfeit
pesos.
Five dismembered bodies were discovered in the municipality of Los Ramones,
Nuevo Leon state. One of the victims' severed heads had three letters written on
its forehead.
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the police chief of Cochoapa el Grande,
Guerrero state. The chief's bodyguards reportedly killed three of the attackers.
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