“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Four people were killed in a drive-by attack; two more died in another incident|
Authorities confirmed last week that 6 people were killed in Tlalpan, one of the sixteen boroughs (alcaldías) in Mexico City. The first two victims were found dead inside a vehicle on Tuesday morning. Investigators say they were tortured and executed inside the vehicle. Later that evening, four more people were killed a few blocks away in a drive-by shooting.
Witnesses told the police that they heard loud bursts of gunfire in the evening. Once the shooting ended, many of them left their homes and found the bullet-ridden vehicle at an intersection. The bullet traces showed that the victims were attacked from the rear, front and sides. All four victims are presumed to be family members and authorities say that the attack was driven by a land dispute between rival gangs in the Ajusco forest.
Mexico City’s Attorney General’s Office have identified at least 5 gangs in Tlalpan and the Ajusco area. The main suspect in these attacks is a former Beltran Leyva Cartel member known as El Valiente. He worked alongside former federal policeman Eznel Cortes Jimenez, who was murdered in Tlalpan in March.
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One of the main groups in the area is known as Los Rojos (The Red Ones). They are originally from the state of Morelos and were headed by Santiago Mazari Hernandez (“El Carrete” and/or “El Señor de los Caballos”), one of the main suspects in the 43 missing students case from September 2014. Los Rojos are a splinter cell of the Beltran Leyva Cartel.
Los Rojos have suffered from schism and infighting in recent years. Its splinter cells operate in Milpa Alta, Tlahuac and Tlalpan. They smuggle armament and narcotics into Mexico City. The police said that homicides in these areas have increased due to gang-related activity as these groups compete for drug distribution zones, extortion and land appropriation in the Ajusco forest area.
There are other leading gang members in the area, including Martin Armando Barcenas Jara (“El Rorro”). He heads a gang that sells drugs and extorts businesses in Tlalpan. One of his main extortionists, Fernando Ari Alvarez Rubin (“El Guerrero”), was murdered earlier this year in Xochimilco. El Rorro was arrested in December 2019 for beating a witness inside a government office with the help of two government employees. However, he was released and resumed his organized crime activities.
Another gang leader in Tlalpan is Alberto Omar Gallo Vazquez (“El Galleta”). He once worked for the now-extinct La Manos con Ojos gang before forming his own. La Mano con Ojos was also a splinter group of the Beltran Leyva Cartel. El Galleta has been a fugitive since 2010 after investigators linked him to the mass murder of the Sanchez Perez family in San Miguel Ajusco.
A gang known as Los Mayas, headed by Abel Maya Dominguez and Teofilo Maya Gallegos (“El Mirris”), also operates in Tlalpan. Los Mayas are also from Morelos but have established their presence in the Mexico City area over the years. Investigators say that Los Mayas are responsible for the October 2019 murder of environmentalist Paul Vizcarra Ruiz.