Mexico launches raids after attempted murder of police chief

A soldier is on duty after Mexico City's Secretary of Public Security, Omar García Harfuch, was wounded in an attack in Mexico City, on June 26, 2020.Image copyright
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Soldiers have been deployed to protect the crime scene.

Mexican authorities have carried out a series of raids while investigating the attempted murder of the Mexico City police chief, according to local media.

Omar García Harfuch was shot multiple times during an ambush on Friday, though his injuries are not said to be life-threatening.

Two of his bodyguards and a passerby woman were killed.

The attack is believed to be related to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Police said cocaine was found during raids in three locations, according to the El Universal newspaper on Saturday.

García Harfuch, who was shot in the shoulder, clavicle, and knee, tweeted after the attack and blamed the cartel. “Our nation must continue to confront cowardly organized crime,” he wrote.

What happened in the attack?

Twenty-eight people attacked García Harfuch’s armored vehicle at dawn Friday on Paseo de la Reforma, a boulevard that leads to the exclusive Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, home to several embassies and mansions.

The hit men brandished grenades and sniper rifles.

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Dozens of boxes of bullets littered the asphalt after the attack.

Although Mexico has long suffered extreme violence, the blatant nature of this attack, in a high-profile figure in a high-security area of ​​the capital, has raised concerns.

It also comes shortly after the murder of a federal judge, Uriel Villegas Ortiz, and his wife, Verónica Barajas, earlier this month.

Security Minister Alfonso Durazo Montaño said on Friday that preliminary investigations into the previous incident also suggest the participation of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

What has happened since then?

More than a dozen arrests have been made since the attack on García Harfuch’s car, investigators say.

The alleged mastermind of the plot, José Armando Briseño, known as Vaca, was arrested on Friday night.

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Ulises Lara López, spokesman for the Mexico City prosecutor’s office, said that the group of murderers was hired three weeks before the attack and divided into four different cells to carry out the act. They were given balaclavas and weapons the night before the assault, he said.

Then three separate ambush points were established, including an unused one that was one block from the city’s central “Angel of Independence” monument.

What is the bottom line?

Omar García Harfuch, 37, was appointed secretary of security and citizen protection for Mexico City in 2019, as he previously worked as intelligence coordinator for the mayor’s office.

It was unclear whether the attempt on his life was related to his recent work or previous investigations.

The Jalisco cartel, which was formed in approximately 2010, has expanded rapidly throughout Mexico and is now one of the country’s most dominant organized crime groups.

Its increase in recent years has been driven by the use of extreme violence.

He previously shot down an army helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade and killed dozens of state officials.

In recent weeks, there have been unconfirmed reports of the death or arrest of the Jalisco leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as “El Mencho”.

Authorities have denied it, but he remains at the top of the most wanted list by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, with a $ 10 million (£ 8 million) reward on his head.