The holes in the armored van were the size of a knuckle. The vehicle, designed to withstand this type of attack, was turned into a strainer. Around, three dead. Two policemen and one vendor of quesadillas whose car was caught in the crossfire of Las Lomas, where the political and economic class that governs Mexico lives, on Reforma, the emblematic avenue of the capital. Barrett rifles, large caliber, over a hundred shots from shrapnel, lost casings even in the luxurious rooms of the neighbors. He attack on Friday at 6.38 (local time) was directed against the police chief of the capital, who had to go through the operating room with three gunshot wounds. But also against an entire country. A new show of force by the Mexican drug trafficker that has put the government in check.
The attack against the chief of police, Omar García Harfuch, It is a blow to the security forces and shows the fragility of the State before a criminal organization, in a country that lives with almost 100 homicides a day. Even in the worst years of the battle against drug trafficking, so criticized by the Andrés Manuel López Obrador government, Mexico had not endured similar figures. The strength of the Mexican drug trafficking has shown it on Friday morning with something that no other boss has dared to provoke since 2006. A Barrett rifle on the Paseo de la Reforma It is not only an attack against the maximum representative of the security of the capital, but also, a declaration to the Executive of Mexico that they are willing and capable of any criminal action.
García Harfuch, tweeted a few hours before being entered: “This morning we were cowardly attacked by the CJNG [el Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación]” This criminal group, led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, El Mencho –whereabouts unknown—, has been considered by the DEA as the heir to the criminal empire in Mexico, after that of Sinaloa lost strength after the arrest of El Chapo and the internal wars for taking control. Both the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the head of government of the capital, Claudia Sheinbaum (of the same party), attributed the attack suffered by Harfuch to the detention efforts of the last year against local drug trafficking gangs operating in the capital. . Harfuch’s message, however, has cleared doubts by mentioning the criminal group. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, although it may be linked, is well above the drug gangs in the capital.
Army agents search for casings in the area of the attack. On video, the images after the attack.
The Jalisco Cartel’s confrontation with the federal government has escalated in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the Treasury’s Financial Intelligence Unit froze nearly 2,000 accounts linked to the group. The agency had detected movements in these accounts worth more than 20,000 million pesos, just over 900 million dollars (802 million euros), and considered that, although they could have withdrawn money, the amount blocked should be very similar. That was the second blow that the Jalisco cartel received in a few months. In March, an operation led by the United States Department of State and the DEA, the US anti-drug agency, killed more than 600 detainees in that country alone, in addition to the seizure of 20,000 kilos of drugs and $ 22 million ( 19.6 million euros).
This criminal group made its first show of force five years ago. Members of Jalisco Nueva Generación shot down a military helicopter with a rocket launcher RPG. The Mexican Bajío area (in the center of the country) became, on May 1, 2015, a war scenario more typical of the Middle East than the traditional bloodletting between cartels in northern Mexico. The criminal organization, ready to wipe out drug control at the national levelHe had issued his first warning.
During the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, the strategy of decapitating the large cartels caused a continuation of the so-called war on drugs Undertaken by his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, in 2006. The country was planted with more than 250,000 dead until 2015 and tens of thousands of disappeared. The arrival of López Obrador to power in 2018, very critical of the management of public security of previous governments, promised a turn in the strategy: “Hugs, not bullets”, was his motto, which he still repeats at every public event. And many of those who worked in the intelligence teams of the federal police and the Army criticized the new Administration for throwing out a whole plan of years to dismantle the drug trafficker, according to sources close to the personnel who until recently worked in the Criminal Investigation Agency (from the Attorney General’s Office) to this newspaper.
García Harfuch was head of the Investigation Agency with the Government of Peña Nieto, and in charge of capturing the great criminals of this country, such as Dámaso López, Graduate, one of the closest men to El Chapo Guzmán. Harfuch and some of his then-team members left their federal post in 2019 to take charge of public safety in the capital, under the command of Claudia Sheinbaum. The order: reduce the crime rates at which Mexico City was climbing, historically on the fringes of the internal wars of the northern cartels. A change of position that, according to the declarations of sources close to this newspaper, posed the challenge of achieving successes in the fight against crime that within a few years would be awarded a higher-ranking position at the federal level.
And the local public security strategy became a continuation of what the federal government had been doing years before against drug trafficking. The images of the Navy breaking into the brave neighborhood of the capital, Tepito, for the first time in history, was a sign that with García Harfuch in command the rules had changed. The operation last November It was directed against the Unión Tepito gang, which, according to the authorities, had a monopoly on the sale of drugs in the capital. However, that maneuver by the local police and its alliance with the Navy —something that had only happened historically against the big drug lords— was riddled with errors, such as the arrest of some twenty residents who could not be credited with any link to organized crime.
A few months later, the local police claimed the success of the arrest of the leader of Tepito, Óscar Andrés Flores, The Polka Dots. But the head of this gang had to be detained up to three times during the past year and this one, because on the two previous occasions the investigation folders were so negligent that no judge could link him to the process. In February they managed to jail him on charges of femicide.
In addition to El Lunares, other arrests of suspected drug lords in the capital were announced with hype. El Tortas and El Jamón, alleged leaders of the anti-Tepito gang, of which much of the capital had not heard until then, were arrested in May 2019. And with them the race to the success of the operations began. promised by the new head of public security, which had not yet been publicly named, but were behind the arrests, according to government sources in the capital. For this reason, Sheinbaum insisted this Friday at a press conference that the attack against García Harfuch was related to the arrests of these local drug traffickers.
But the aspirations of García Harfuch and his team went beyond the capital from the beginning of his term, as this newspaper has learned from sources close to the police chief. And they handled, since their arrival, intelligence reports of the links of the drug trafficking gangs with other more powerful cartels, such as that of Jalisco Nueva Generación. Both the chief of police and others close to him had been repeatedly threatened with death since they arrived at the police command in the capital.
The images captured by security cameras during the failed attack.