The drug cartel violence that citizen self-defence leader Hipolito Mora gave his life fighting flared anew on Sunday, just one day after he was buried, as shootings and road blockades hit the city of Apatzingan, a regional hub in Mexico’s hot lands.
Drug cartel violence
Roads in and out of Apatzingan were blocked Sunday morning by trucks and buses pulled across the road by cartel gunmen, as the vehicles’ owners stood by helplessly.
“They told me to park my truck across the road. They said if I moved it, they would burn it,” said one truck driver, who asked his name not be used for fear of reprisals.
And in the city of Apatzingan, the regional hub where the area’s agricultural products are traded, gunmen carjacked a family, took their auto at gun point and used it to shoot another driver to death just a few blocks away.
The victim’s car was left dangling from a bridge as he lay dead inside, slumped onto the passenger’s side seat.
The execution was so quick that his car continued on for a few yards, the front end climbed onto the guard rail of the bridge, and came to rest almost turned on its side.
A friend of the man said he worked at a car dealership and had gone on a pizza run for a family get-together a few moments before he died. The friend blamed the Jalisco cartel for the killing, despite the fact that Apatzingan has long been dominated by the rival Viagras cartel.
The theory is not so wild. The Jalisco cartel, from the neighbouring state of the same name, has been fighting a yearslong offensive to enter Michoacan. The roadblocks Sunday might have been because the Viagras gang feared such an attack.
The front lines in the battles now lie along the ill-named Rio Grande, a small river that runs about 15 miles (23 kilometres) south of Apatzingan.