October Homicides in Guerrero: FGE and GVP data compared

The number of registered homicidios dolosos in Guerrero in October was released by the  Fiscalía General del Estado, or FGE, late yesterday afternoon (see http://bit.ly/1moTYql).  They reported 118, three fewer than September.  This was a stunning number.  The GVP database has records of 189 homicides in October.  As I noted in a previous post (see FGE Statistics and the Number of Dead in Guerrero, posted October 31), the GVP has recorded equal or higher numbers than reported by the FGE since February.  Even so, the October numbers show the largest discrepancy between the two sources that has ever been recorded.  The scope of the problem can be seen in the following chart:

GVP vs FGE data

As I noted before, the FGE generally reports multi-casualty incidents, including the discovery of clandestine cemeteries and mass graves, under a single case number.  A multi-casualty event appears in their count of “homicidios” as one killing.  In October the GVP recorded the following multi-casualty killings:

10/3 – 2 dead at pozoleria in Atoyac

10/4 – 2 dead at KM 212.4 on Highway 95 in Eduardo Neri

10/4 (and beyond) – 28 bodies excavated in six graves at Las Parotas, Iguala

10/5 – 3 dead in ambush in La Garita, Acapulco

10/5 – 2 dead at KM 189.5, Highway 95 in Eduardo Neri

10/7 – 2 dead at Las Antenas, in Coyuca de Benítez

10/8 – 2 dead in huerta near Río Chiquito, Petatlán

10/9 – 4 dead at Zihuatanejo-La Union highway at La Union corner

10/10 – 2 dead in Colonia Héroes de 47, Teloloapan

10/11 – 2 dead in El Jabalí, Coyuca de Catalán

10/11 – 2 dead at San Antonio de los Libres, Ajuchitlán

10/13 – 2 dead in Real Hacienda, Acapulco

10/14 – 3 dead in La Laja, Ajuchitlán

10/14 – 8 bodies excavated from fosa in Pueblo Nuevo, Iguala

10/17 – 2 dead near panteon in Igualapa

10/20 – 2 dead at the Central de Abastos, Acapulco

10/20 – unconfirmed report of 3 dead at Las Pilitas, Cocula

10/22 – 2 bodies excavated from fosa at Las Parotas, Iguala

10/27 – 3 dead in center of Cuajinicuilapa

10/27 – 2 dead in El Arenal, Azoyú

10/29 – 2 dead in Las Graviotas, Acapulco

10/29 – 13 bodies excavated from fosa near Ocotitlán, Zitlala

10/31 – 5 shot in bar near Las Cruces, Acapulco

This totals 98 bodies and 23 separate incidents.  Were this to count as 23 rather than 98 the number of “homicides” appearing in the GVP database would equal 114, not 189.  This number is remarkably close to the 118 “homicides” reported by the FGE.

I say again, the FGE is not releasing data on individual homicide victims.  They release data only on criminal investigations of lethal incidents.  A much fuller accounting of homicides in Guerrero than provided by the FGE can be found in the tables associated with the GVP map.  See it here: http://bit.ly/1wczk0u.

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Los políticos and los periodistas: A tale of two stories

Early this week there was a disturbing contrast in the local press coverage in Guerrero of two stories that, on their face, were very similar.  Both were originally published in the national daily Milenio and both involved allegations of institutional complicity with drug trafficking organizations (DTOs).  The first was an article published on Monday that summarized accusations that have been published in the last year or so linking twelve municipal alcaldes to an assortment of DTOs (see http://bit.ly/11wcFjv).  The second, published Tuesday, was an article that accused journalists of planting stories in local publications on behalf of Los Caballeros Templarios (see http://bit.ly/11G3iOh).  The contrast in the coverage given to the two stories in local media outlets has been stark.

Story #1: The alcaldes Those who follow Guerrero will know that there was little or nothing new in the Milenio article that identified twelve alcaldes accused of links to DTOs.  This was perhaps the first time the various the accusations were methodically organized into a single piece but the specifics of each of the cases were generally known from coverage in Guerrero’s local media outlets.  The Milenio article ran on Monday and was summarized and/or excerpted widely by the Guerrero press on Tuesday.  By the end of the week, all but three of the alcaldes named in the article had issued denials and these too were given coverage.  (Two of the three are currently in federal custody facing criminal charges.) The alcaldes, alleged DTO affiliations, and their response to the charges were thus:

Ignacio de Jesús Valladares Salgado, the alcalde of Teloloapan accused of working on behalf of La Familia Michoacana.  His denial and call for an open investigation of the charges was reported here: http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/228659.

Feliciano Álvarez Mesino, the former alcalde of Cuetzala accused of working for La Familia Michoacana.  Ávarez Mesino is currently in detention in a federal prison in Tamaulipas.

Efraín Peña Damacio, the alcalde of Apaxtla accused of links to Guerreros Unidos. His denial and call for an open investigation of the charges was reported here: http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/228659 and here http://bit.ly/1r0wS7b.

Salomón Majul González, the alcalde of Taxco, accused of links to Guerreros Unidos. His denial of the charges and call for an open investigation was reported here: http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/229962.

José Luis Abarca Velázquez, the former alcalde of Iguala linked to Guerreros Unidos.  Sr. Abarca is currently in detention in a federal prison in Tamaulipas.

Eric Fernández Ballesteros, the alcalde of Zihuatanejo accused of having links to a group of local Sinaloa and Beltrán Leyva operatives thought to have allied in opposition to Los Caballeros Templarios.  Fernánez Ballesteros’ responded promptly on Facebook, denying all charges.  His denial was also published late Monday in Milenio (http://bit.ly/1xS4edc) and again on Friday (http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/229962).

Francisco Javier García González, the alcalde of Chilapa accused of links to Los Rojos.  His rejection of the accusation is here: http://bit.ly/1udyESe. His call for an open investigation was reported here: http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/229962.

Mario Moreno Arcos, the alcalde of Chilpancingo accused of providing support to Los Rojos. His denial and call for an open investigation was reported here: http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/228659 and http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/229962.

Crescencio Reyes Torres, the alcalde of La Unión accused of having links to Los Caballeros Templarios (specifically, to Servando Gómez Martínez, aka La Tuta). His denial and call for an open investigation of the charges was reported here: http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/228659.

Mario Alberto Chávez Carbajal, the alcalde of Heliodoro Castillo accused of having links to Los Rojos. His denial and call for an open investigation were reported here: http://bit.ly/1r0wS7b.

Leopoldo Ramiro Cabrera Chávez, the alcalde of Leonardo Bravo accused of having links to Los Rojos. To my knowledge Cabrera has not issued a public comment.

Rey Hilario Serrano, the alcalde of Coyuca de Catalán accused of providing support to Los Caballeros Templarios. His denial and call for an open investigation was reported here: http://bit.ly/1r0wS7b.

A somewhat surprising omission to the list was Elizabeth Gutiérrez Paz, alcaldesa of Tierra Colorada, of the PAN.  Local media outlets have repeatedly published accusations of her links to Los Rojos.  Had she been included all three major political parties would have had representation; as published only the PRI and PRD made the Milenio list.  Gutiérrez’ alleged links to Los Rojos have nevertheless been regularly featured in local media reporting (e.g., see http://bit.ly/1qzJF5K and http://bit.ly/1p2VgJu).

Another omission was Saúl Beltrán Orozco, the alcalde of San Miguel Totolapan.  He has lately been accused of supporting Guerreros Unidos (see http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/228623), an accusation he vigorously denied on Wednesday (see http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/229301).

The original Milenio article that cataloged the accusations of DTO complicity against twelve of state’s eighty-one municipal alcaldes received widespread press coverage and stimulated a statewide discussion of the issue.  Story #2 was treated very differently.

Story #2: The journalists

On Tuesday Milenio published an article describing efforts by Los Caballeros Templarios to shape local media coverage of military activities in Tierra Caliente.  Military deployments in Tierra Caliente have expanded in the wake of the Ayotzinapa incident and Los Caballeros Templarios is apparently feeling impinged upon as a result.  In an effort to relieve the pressure, they apparently contrived a human rights denunciation against the Mexican army in La Joya, Cutzamala.  They then planted articles in local media outlets about the fabricated incident.  The hope was that the articles would generate public pressure on the army that would induce them to limit patrols and other operations.  The planted articles named a specific military commander and drew vague allusions to the Tlatlaya massacre (see http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=383033).  Given the bad publicity the army has received in the wake of the Tlatlaya affair, Los Caballeros Templario’s plan stood (and stands) a reasonable chance of success.

Milenio published transcripts provided by intelligence sources of intercepted phone conversations between operatives of Los Caballeros Templarios and two local journalists, Israel Flores and Cecilio Pineda.  The transcripts relate to conversations that, according to Milenio, took place on or shortly before November 11th.  Articles by Pineda that report the La Joya, Cutzamala denunciation were published on November 12th by Agencia de Noticias Guerrero (http://bit.ly/1BQSWLw), the 13th in Despertar del Sur (http://bit.ly/11GLl2g) and the 14th by Notimundo (http://bit.ly/1HqMxXK).  A final specimen with the same content, published under the name Zacarías Cervantes, appeared on November 13 in Pueblo Guerrero (http://bit.ly/1BQTscj).

Articles appearing in Flores’ name that addressed the alleged human rights violations in La Joya were printed in El Debate de los Calentanos on November 14th (http://bit.ly/1ueYXHR) and 18th (http://bit.ly/1xSj5o8) and El Sur on the same days (http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/227370 and http://suracapulco.mx/archivos/228593).  Neither El Debate nor El Sur has issued a retraction nor offered other commentary on the Milenio article and the allegations it contains.  Israel Flores has likewise made no public statement about the allegation.

Let us hope that we are dealing here with an anomaly.  To recap, the local media treated the first Milenio article as significant news when it consisted merely of a compilation of months’ worth of rumor and innuendo that the local media had originally published.  The second story received exactly no local coverage yet this was a genuine news story that broke new ground and that had a much more solid evidentiary foundation.  It is a sad day when professional journalists would publish poorly sourced accusations of politicians colluding with DTOs, and to uncritically report on allegations of human rights abuses by the army, while ignoring much more powerful evidence of collusion with DTOs among their own ranks.  There is a distasteful hypocrisy in this that is, well, discouraging.

I have written this post with some reluctance because it does not cast Guerrero’s local press corps in good light.  It is hard to find heroes in Guerrero today and I like to imagine that local journalists rank among them.  The work they do is vitally important to the anyone who values truth, justice, and peace.

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Los desconocidos: Unidentified homicide victims in the GVP database

The Ayotzinapa affair has focused attention on the problem of disappeared persons and the identification of the remains of homicide victims.  The Guerrero Violence Project database includes records of a large number of unidentified homicide victims.  At the moment the database has information on 9,373 homicides, nearly all dating to the period between 2007 and the present.  Of these, 29 percent, or 2,713 persons, have not been identified in public records.  I have prepared an interactive map that includes only the unidentified bodies in the database.  At the moment the map includes records for 2011-2014.  I will add data from earlier years shortly.  The map can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1xNlznH.

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Worrisome signs in Acapulco

I have noted elsewhere (see http://bit.ly/1sPAhWP  and http://bit.ly/1sPAn0H) that the homicide rate in Acapulco fell, rather sharply, after November 2013.  In my last post I noted that October 2014 was a bad month for Acapulco, with the highest number of homicides since November 2013.  If there was a bright side, I suggested, it was that there have been few signs that killings were linked to the activities of recognizable criminal organizations.

This statement needs qualified with yesterday’s killing of Mario Antonio Cruz Gaspar in his taxi near Colonia Bonfil.  Accompanying the body was a message signed by “La Empresa.”  This was the first signed narcomensaje left at the site of a killing in Acapulco since February and only the third found this year (three unsigned narcomensajes have also appeared).  The others, including an odd one in January signed by La Familia (not known to have a presence in Acapulco) and another in February signed by “El Tío y El Cocho” and aimed at Arnoldo Villa Sánchez (a top operative of Héctor Beltrán Leyva), have provided scant signs of the existence of organized groups competing for control in the city.  But La Empresa has been seen before and their reappearance, if that is what this signals, is not encouraging.  On various occasions everyone from Arturo Beltrán Leyva to Guerreros Unidos has used the phrase “la empresa” as a generic reference to their organization.  But in 2011-12 there was a string of killings in eastern Acapulco (including several on the Cayaco-Puerto Marqués highway) and the adjacent municipio of San Marcos with narcomensajes signed by a group that used “La Empresa” as a proper name rather than a generic description.  By 2013 the same group, operating in the same area, was more likely to sign as “Beltrán Leyva” or simply “BL.”  Both the narcomensajes and the pattern of killings associated with them stopped abruptly in November 2013.  But everything about the killing of Cruz Gaspar yesterday, from the location to the manner of death, had an eerily familiar feel to it.

Were this an isolated incident it would be easy to dismiss as a fluke.  But the killing comes against a backdrop of gradually increasing violence in Acapulco.  From January through November 2013, Acapulco averaged 2.26 killings per day (monthly averages ranged from 1.48 to 2.8).  From December 2013 through September 2014, the daily average fell to 1.32 (with monthly averages from .97 and 1.48).  As noted in my last post, October was a bad month; the daily average rose to 1.81 killings per day.  Through the first 15 days of November this trend has continued; the daily average this month stands at 2.2.  Although these numbers are below the record levels set in 2012 (for the year, 3.35 killings per day), they are heading in the wrong direction.  What these observations suggest is that we may be witnessing the early stages of an escalating conflict between rival groups.

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Map of the Day – Acapulco, Cayaco – Puerto Marqués highway

In Acapulco the vacuum caused by the death of Arturo Beltrán Leyva in December 2009 was initially filled by a group centered around Édgar Valdez Villarreal (La Barbie).  The arrest of Valdez in the late summer of 2010 and infighting among the members of the group, which by mid 2010 was calling itself the Cártel Independiente de Acapulco (CIDA), set the stage for the emergence of La Barredora in January 2011.  La Barredora was formed by CIDA defectors who allied themselves with the Beltrán Leyva group’s historical rivals in Sinaloa.  The resulting conflagration witnessed levels of violence not seen in Guerrero since the height of the Mexican Revolution.  The violence was concentrated most particularly in Acapulco’s working class neighborhoods.

Installment 5 in this series includes homicide victims whose bodies were recovered along the 6.9 km stretch of highway between Cayaco and Puerto Marqués.  The highway cuts through an area that has seen rapid urban growth in the form of middle class residential development with large pockets of more densely settled working class housing projects.  In the accompanying map I have included only bodies recovered along or within a few meters of the highway itself.  The total number of victims appearing on the map is 101, or one body for every 68 meters of highway.  But the GVP data are incomplete through the key months of July through December of 2011.  The fighting was approaching its peak during this period and it is likely that a dozen or more victims are missing.

Mapa del Dia, 5 Noviembre

Of the 101 bodies recovered on the highway, 95 were males ranging in age from 15 to 60.  Only five were females, ages 25 to 36.  (There is insufficient information to assign a sex to one victim.)  The bodies of an astounding number of victims, 32 in all, were dismembered.  The GVP database includes information on the identify of only 56 victims.  Occupational information is available for 45.  The most common occupational category was taxi driver (8) followed by police officer (5, including 3 federal and 2 municipal police), misc salaried employee (5), bus driver (3), mechanic (3), bricklayer (2), electrician (2), medical doctor (1), public prosecutor (1), lifeguard (1), caddie (1), and so on.

The dates of the killings clearly illustrate, if in perhaps exaggerated form, the shifting strategies of criminal organizations operating in Acapulco since 2007.  In the early years of the drug war the focus of attention was the port itself, used by traffickers to import South American cocaine onshore.  When Arturo Beltrán Leyva first came to Acapulco, initially as a Sinaloa operative, his attention was focused on the bulk movement of cocaine and other narcotics.  Naval interdiction efforts made this progressively more difficult, however, and control over the retail sale of drugs and other contraband, extortion, and kidnapping became the organization’s economic underpinning.  Control over working class neighborhoods emerged as the focal point of competition, especially after the roster of well-connected and experienced traffickers was thinned by Beltrán Leyva’s death and La Barbie’s arrest.  By the time La Barredora emerged from within the CIDA wholesale cocaine trafficking was a thing of the past; now the competition centered on control over working class neighborhoods.  They became killing fields.  The numbers from the Cayaco-Puerto Marqués highway tell the story.  From 2007 through 2009 only four victims were recovered on the highway.  The GVP database is incomplete for 2010 but the single body in the database that was recovered on the road in this year is indicative of the low levels of violence at the time.

The turning point came in January of 2011.  On January 8th La Barredora gunmen blocked traffic on the highway to allow others to work at leisure in arraying the heads and bodies of 15 decapitated victims on a sidewalk at a newly built shopping mall.  The violence steadily intensified thereafter as CIDA sought to fend off La Barredora’s onslaught.  The GVP database lacks records for the key months of late 2011 but this clearly was the period of escalation.  The violence peaked in 2012, ebbed in 2013, and has nearly returned to its original levels in 2014.  By year, the numbers are thus: 2007 – 1; 2008 – 3; 2009 – 0; 2010 – 1; 2011 – 24 (16 dismemberments); 2012 – 54 (16 dismemberments); 2013 – 13; and 2014 – 5.

To conclude this post I’ll say a few words about what we know of the circumstances that led to the decline in violence along the Cayaco-Puerto Marqués highway.  The rise of La Barredora and CIDA’s counterattacks were so extraordinarily vicious and graphic that it prompted state and federal authorities to make what clearly was a concentrated effort to arrest members of both groups, especially the leadership.  The combination of pressure from police and military forces and attrition on the battlefield left both groups depleted; neither of them appear to have survived as coherent organizations beyond 2013.  Indeed, throughout 2014 the level of violence in Acapulco has remained steady at a level sharply below the heights of 2011 through 2013.  But there is cause for continued concern.  The muster of state and federal forces that contributed to the diminished levels of violence has ended and Acapulco has returned to much the condition it was in at the beginning.  I would also note that the numbers from October 2014 are not encouraging.  The GVP database has records of 57 homicides in Acapulco in October, well below the recorded high of 137 (in September 2012) but the highest number registered this year and a number well above the monthly average of 40 that had held steady for the previous 10 months.  What is equally worrying, the violence in October occurred disproportionately in the working class neighborhoods of colonias Coloso, Zapata, and Renacimiento that bore the brunt of the war between La Barredora and CIDA.  If there is a bright side, it is that there have been few dismemberments and no narcomensajes claiming territory on behalf of a named group.  These are hallmarks of organized violence and, mercifully, there has been scant sign of them in 2014.

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Map of the Day, Puente Solidaridad

On December 21, 2008, four men (two campesinos, an ironsmith, and a taxi driver) were bound, blindfolded, and dropped from a bridge on the Autopista del Sol at Quezalapa in the municipio of Huitzuco in northern Guerrero.  This was the first instance of this particular method of killing found in the GVP database.  In the years that followed, more bodies would be launched from bridges on the Autopista del Sol at Quetzalapa and Zopilote (in Eduardo Neri).  But the bridge that attracted the most attention was the state’s largest and highest, Puente Solidaridad, a 160 meter high, 900 meter long span crossing the Río Balsas at Tula del Río in the municipio of Martír de Cuilapan.

Mapa del Dia, 4 Noviembre

The first recorded killing at Puente Solidaridad came on May 2, 2009, when seven people, five men and two women, were found under the bridge.  All five had been abducted in Cuernavaca, bound with duct tape, and thrown from the bridge.  The GVP database currently has records of 31 victims who died in a similar manner.  In at least three cases the victims were shot in the head before they were thrown but in most cases the evidence suggests that the victims were alive at the time of impact.  Seven of the 31 victims were thrown into the river and their bodies recovered downstream.  Twenty-four were thrown onto the rocks on the south bank of the river.

The map of the day for November 4th shows a total of 37 bodies, including 31 thrown from the bridge and 6 recovered at various points in the general vicinity.  Thirty-four were males, ages 15 to 48 (age estimates are available for only 19 of the 34), and 2 were females, ages 19 and 22.  One body was skeletonized and no age or gender information is available.  The GVP database has information on the identity of only 13 of the victims.

The dates when the murders occurred reflect some of the main dynamics of the violence in Guerrero since 2007.  By year, the homicides occurred in the following years:

2009 – 7

2010 – 4

2011 – 11 (January through July only)

2012 – 12

2014 – 3

Two distinct phases are apparent.  The first, represented by the single event in May of 2009 when seven live victims were thrown from the bridge, illustrates Arturo Beltrán Leyva’s penchant for staging relatively small numbers of incidents characterized by jaw-dropping barbarity.  The four men dropped from the Quetzalapa bridge mentioned at the top of this post was one of two parts of another specimen of his handiwork: on the same day (December 21, 2008) nine dismembered bodies, including eight soldiers abducted as they went on leave from the state’s largest military base, were scattered around Chilpancingo.  Beltrán Leyva was a pioneer in the use of terror to intimidate rivals and to persuade those who wavered between his upstart group and his previous Sinaloa confederates.  Although the homicide rate in Guerrero rose as the Beltrán Leyva group consolidated its control over the state, the increase in homicides was less notable than the horrible staging of homicides.  Tossing live human creatures from Puente Solidaridad was an example.

Arturo Beltrán Leyva’s death in December 2010 brought a close to this chapter of the violence in Guerrero and there followed a brief period of relative quiet (represented by the low body-count at Puente Solidaridad in 2010) as new groups were born and worked to consolidate their control over home territories.  By 2011 these new groups had appeared.  La Familia was working on behalf of the Sinaloa group to reclaim territory lost to Beltrán Leyva, expanding out of their base in Tierra Caliente into El Norte and El Centro.  One of the few narcomensajes left with a body in the vicinity of Puente Solidaridad (at the overlook south of the bridge) was signed by La Familia and expressed the intent of the group to exert control over central Guerrero.  They were not successful.  In El Norte and El Centro the groups that would come to be called Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos, respectively, both remnants of the Beltrán Leyva group, vied for control..  The numerous bodies found below the bridge in 2011 and 2012 reflects this struggle.  Since the end of 2012 the Río Balsas has formed a stable frontier between the two groups.  Conflicts between the groups persist but the fight has moved west to the Highway 95 corridor that links Iguala to Chilpancingo and to the opium production zones in the municipios of Eduardo Neri, Leonardo Bravo, and Heliodoro Castillo.  This area, and the bridge at Mezcala, will be the subject of a future post.

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Map of the Day, parts 1 through 3

This is the first in what I hope to be a thirty-part exercise that features a daily map and accompanying analysis drawn from the records of the Guerrero Violence Project.  The most significant gap in coverage in the GVP database includes portions of 2010-11 but the records are sufficiently complete to give the general outlines of the recent history of violent crime in Guerrero.

Map of the Day, November 1, 2014 – El Centro, Chilpancingo

Mapa del Dia, 1 Noviembre

The series begins with a map of the blocks in the immediate neighborhood of the zócalo in Chilpancingo.  The GVP database has records of the bodies of 25 homicide victims recovered in this area since 2007, all but six of whom have been identified.  The map shows an area of 105 hectares, with .24 killings per hectare.  Twenty-four victims were males ranging in age from 18 to 60.  The lone female was 24.  One of the victims was dismembered.  The victims were drawn from all sectors of urban society.  The group includes business owners (2), a ministerial police commander, a bus driver, a taxi driver, a gay activist, a transvestite, and an auto mechanic.  All years except 2012 are represented, though not at all equally.  By year, the numbers are:  2007 – 1; 2008 – 2; 2009 – 2; 2010 – 2; 2011 – 2; 2013 – 9; and 2014 – 7.  The sharp increase that appears in 2013 reflects the consolidation of Los Rojos’ control over the city and the intensification of their kidnapping and extortion operations.

Map of the Day, November 2, 2014 – Colonia Marroquín, Acapulco

Mapa del Dia, 2 Noviembre

This map shows an area bordering the popular tourist zone in Acapulco.  The GVP database has records of the bodies of 89 homicide victims recovered in the area since 2007.  The map shows an area of 140 hectares, .64 killings per hectare.  Fifty-two of the victims have been identified.  Seventy-nine were males ranging in age from 17 to 70.  Ten were females ranging from 17 to 55 years of age.  Fourteen of the bodies were dismembered.  The group includes: 8 taxi drivers and 1 bus driver; 5 police or former police officers; 3 petty drug retailers; 2 business owners; a municipal employee; an accountant; a ministerio public attorney; a teacher; a pizza deliverer; a student; a waiter; and two fitness trainers. By year, the numbers are: 2007 – 4; 2008 – 3; 2009 – 2; 2010 – 5; 2011 – 16; 2012 – 42; 2013 – 7; 2014 – 10.  The GVP database has very few entries in the second half of 2011 and it is likely that there were significant numbers of killings in this area during these months.  This corresponds to the period when La Barredora formed and mounted a ferocious attempt to wrest control of Acapulco from the Independent Cartel of Acapulco.

Map of the Day, November 3, 2014 – Centro, Teloloapan

Mapa del Dia, 3 Noviembre

While much attention has been focused on Iguala in recent weeks, through 2014 the much smaller city of Teloloapan has been the center of the most vicious fighting in El Norte.  This map shows the center of the city, and area of 55 ha within which 17 bodies have been recovered, or .31 killings per hectare.  Fourteen have been males, ages 15 to 37, and 3 females, ages 17 to 32.  All but one of the victims has been identified.  Four were dismembered.  The victims’ occupations include: municipal police (5), teachers (3), a bus driver, a taxi driver, a municipal employee, a motorcycle mechanic, a student, and an itinerant vendor.  By year, the numbers are: 2012 – 3; 2013 – 2; 2014 – 12.  The timing reflects the acute and worsening competition over Teloloapan pitting La Familia, for whom this is a last remaining outpost in El Norte, against Guerreros Unidos.

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