viernes, 28 de febrero de 2014

Fourteen murdered in central Mexican state, Army shoots gangster

Fourteen people were shot or found dead on the night of 27-28 February in several districts of Estado de México in central Mexico, Milenio newspaper reported, though few details were given. The daily later reported the arrests of three extortionists in Nezahualcóyotl in that state who had intimidated businesses passing themselves off as members of the Caballeros Templarios, one of the main Mexican cartels. On 27 February, the Army and police shot dead a man identified as "one of the seven leaders" of the Caballeros Templarios in the western state of Michoacán. The victim, Francisco Galeana or El Pantera, was killed in the district of Arteaga in one of the Army's "most important operations" in the area, which led to an unspecified number of arrests, Excelsior newspaper reported. Authorities arrested on 20 February a man identified as Mr Galeana's "presumed lawyer," as he "walked on one of the main streets" of Apatzingán in Michoacán. The lawyer was found with five pistols and a bag thought to contain synthetic drugs, the review Proceso reported. The office of the Attorney-General of Mexico revealed separately that it had so far confiscated 43 cars belonging to the recently detained head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, all valued at the equivalent of a little over USD 1.64 million. The cars were found in various parts of the district of Culiacán in Sinaloa; 19 were armour-plated and one was painted as a local police vehicle, Excelsior reported on 27 February.

El Salvador arrests over 120 gangsters ahead of polls

Authorities arrested on 26 and 27 February over 120 suspected members of El Salvador's two main gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 and the Mara 18, days before the second round of the country's presidential elections on 9 March. Sixty five were captured on 26 February in the capital and its environs, and in the departments of Usulutan, Sonsonate and La Libertad, El Salvador's El Mundo reported, observing that they would mostly face extortion charges, while some were sought for murder. The same daily reported arrests on 27 February of 64 other gang suspects in the capital and its suburbs, these also being sought for murders and extortions. It did not comment on whether or not the arrests were intended to curb rising gang violence ahead of the second round of presidential elections; the detained were said to have been subject to complaints and investigation for some time before. It appeared the 129 arrests did not include those of 25 or 27 gang members and other suspected criminals detained in two different operations early on 28 February in a southern district of San Salvador and in Soyapango; 16 or 18 of the detained were caught during police raids on gang safe houses, La Prensa Gráfica reported. On 25 February, a presumed member of the MS-13 was shot dead after suspected gangsters sought apparently to stop a campaign meeting of the right-wing ARENA party in Ilobasco north of the capital. Local prosecutors were not immediately certain of details of the incident, but the arrival of gang members was said to have sparked arguments and a scuffle, then shooting that killed one gang member and injured an ARENA activist, the website reported. The party has taken a firm anti-crime stance and was fielding a presidential candidate, Norman Quijano González, on 9 March. The incident followed intermittent reports and claims in recent months that gangsters were "pressuring" people around the country to vote for the Government candidate. Conservatives have accused the socialist Government of Mauricio Funes of having eased the fight against gangs and favoured a gang ceasefire that began in 2012. The Government has denied any type of complicity with criminals.