Two police chiefs killed in Michoacán; one was an ex-Army special forces member

“MX” for Borderland Beat

Cesar Ivan Marin Jaimes
Two police chiefs from Zamora Municipality, Michoacán, were killed in a drive-by shooting last week. Their names were Cesar Ivan Marin Jaimes, Director of Public Security in Zamora, and Antonio del Moral Padilla, Commander of the Zamora Municipal Police. The former was a member of the Mexican Army’s elite Special-Forces Airmobile Group (GAFE) in the late 1990s.
Both men were driving through the Mexico City – Guadalajara highway in a Volkswagen Jetta when gunmen cut them off the road and shot them from a moving vehicle. The attack occurred in Churintzio Municipality near the payment booth in Copándaro. Investigators said that the evidences found at the scene showed that both police chiefs responded with fire but were eventually overwhelmed by their killers.

In 2019, the former Director of Public Security in Zamora, Daniel Torres Hernandez, was murdered on his day off while he was with his family in Jalisco. He had less than six months on the job. No one has been arrested for the crime.


Cesar Ivan Marin Jaimes joined the Mexican Army in 1998 and was part of the 12th Infantry Battalion in Morelia, Michoacan. During his time in the military, he served as a member of the Special-Forces Airmobile Group (GAFE), a former elite unit of the Mexican Army. Members of the GAFE were trained in aerial assaults, intelligence gathering, counter-insurgency tactics, marksmanship, prisoner rescue, rapid deployment, sophisticated communication and anti-drug operations.
It is worth noting that Marin Jaimes was in the GAFE during a pivotal point in the unit’s history. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, several members of the GAFE left the military and joined the Gulf Cartel under kingpin Osiel Cardenas Guillen. These ex-military members formed Los Zetas, which originally provided security services to Cárdenas Guillén and carried out executions on the cartel’s behalf.
A lot of the information about the GAFE remain confidential, but given the fact that it was a special forces unit, it is likely that the group was not as large as others in the Army. This means that Marin Jaimes may have met and trained with several individuals who would eventually be part of Los Zetas’s original core group.
Marin Jaimes reached corporal rank while in the GAFE and left the military in 2001 to join the Michoacan State Police. He held several leadership roles in the police force, including anti-theft director and investigation chief of the Michoacan Transit Police agency. He was also sub-director of three police forces in Michoacan, and served as the director of Public Security in the municipalities of Tangamandapio, Lazaro Cardenas, Puruandiro and Zamora.

Antonio del Moral Padilla, the other police chief killed with Marin Jaimes, was once arrested in February 2011 for his alleged involvement with organized crime groups. However, he was released after investigators were unable to prove his ties to them.

Background and investigation
The Michoacán government has identified Zamora as one of the most violent municipalities in western Mexico since on average there are between two and five gunshot murders per day.

On April 29, 2019, Daniel Torres Hernandez, then Director of Public Security of Zamora, was shot to death when he was with his family in the municipality of Ocotlán, Jalisco.

The Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the main line of investigation they were pursuing was a possible revenge attack from a local drug cartel. According to the Michoacán Public Security Secretariat (SSP), the victims were heading back to Zamora after a meeting with their superiors in Morelia, the state capital.

There are several active drug cartels in this part of Michoacán. One of them is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), one of Mexico’s most powerful crime groups. There is also the Nueva Familia Michoacana and Los Viagras. Los Viagras is a spin-off group of the Knights Templar Cartel and is currently competing against the CJNG for control of Michoacán.

Sources: La Jornada; El Universal; NTR Zacatecas; Infobae; Silla Rota