Cartels show off guns, vehicles in Chihuahua; state responds with raids on drug fields

Border Crime

Cybercrimes unit investigates where recordings were made; governor warns criminals they can't outgun Mexican army, state forces

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Videos in which drug cartel members show off guns and vehicles on Chihuahua roads are beginning to circulate on the worldwide web, state authorities say.

The videos are meant to sow fear among the population and give them a false sense of the power these criminal organizations have, Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said.

“It seems to be the norm that they upload videos to make people believe they are very powerful,” Corral said on Thursday. “Despite the bragging they do on the videos, […] they don’t have that power, they are always running around (to avoid authorities). They will never be able to be overcome the strength of the state.”

Although criminal organizations like the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) have been posting such videos for years, this is the first time groups in Chihuahua — which borders Texas and New Mexico — have produced them. State officials declined to show some of the videos to reporters so as to not give the groups undue publicity.

An earlier video of members of the Jalisco cartel showing off automatic guns and armored vehicles.

State Police Commissioner Emilio Garcia Ruiz said his cybercrimes unit is trying to verify the authenticity of the videos — they could’ve been shot somewhere else in Mexico — and that both the state police and the army continue to disrupt drug cartel operations in the mountains of Western Chihuahua.

On Thursday, he showed a video on Facebook Live of raids on six camps used by drug traffickers near the town of Madera. The raids netted the arrest of an alleged member of La Linea cartel with an automatic rifle and the destruction of three marijuana plantations, he said.

An alleged member of La Linea drug cartel is taken into custody by the Mexican army during a recent raid on a marijuana plantation in the mountains of Chihuahua. (courtesy State of Chihuahua)

La Linea and Sinaloa cartel proxy Gente Nueva are engaged in a protracted battle for control of the mountains in the Sonora-Chihuahua border. Both cartels not only grow great amounts of marijuana on those mountains, but they also hijack fuel and construction supplies from ranches and mines in the region and are engaged in illegal logging, Garcia said.

The police commissioner said his officers and the Mexican army would continue stepped-up patrols out of a new walled-off compound just built in Madera.

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