EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The President of Mexico is blaming the arrest of high-level cartel leaders for overnight violence that included shootouts with police, the burning of cars and storefronts in two states.
The violence prompted the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara to issue an alert late Tuesday.
“Local authorities and media are reporting multiple road blockades, burning vehicles and shootouts between Mexican security forces and unspecified criminal elements in various parts of the Guadalajara metropolitan area,” the alert said. “The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara has instructed employees to follow the advice of local authorities and shelter in place until further notice.”
At least three vehicles were set on fire in Celaya and 14 businesses – from convenience stores to pharmacies – were torched in Irapuato, both in the state of Guanajuato. Police have made arrests in connection with the attacks, Guanajuato Secretary of Government Libia Garcia said.
Mexican news outlets on Wednesday published a video allegedly documenting one of the attacks. The video shows men dressed in military-style clothing with the logo of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel inside a convenience store that was set on fire, telling patrons to leave and firing shots into the air as they exit to a waiting vehicle. Other videos show cars and buildings on fire.
“Apparently, there was a meeting of groups, the (Army) arrived, there was a conflict and there were arrests. This is what led to protests, to burning of vehicles not only in Jalisco, but also in Guanajuato,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at a Wednesday press briefing broadcast online. “Apparently, they were group leaders because it was a very strong response.”
The president did not name the groups involved.
However, the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel for the past three years has been fighting local gangs in Guanajuato, a state in Central Mexico on the way to highways leading to drug corridors in South Texas.
Lopez Obrador said the army and local police were still looking for suspected cartel members on Wednesday. He said authorities would provide a full briefing later in the day.