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Drug cartel battles destroying homes, closes schools in Mexican border state of Chihuahua

October 23, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Drug cartel battles destroying homes, closes schools in Mexican border state of Chihuahua

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Mexican authorities say homes have been burned, and schools have been forced to close as fighting surges between drug cartels in mountain towns in western Chihuahua.

The violence occurred as a result of an “incursion” by a criminal group in support of one of two rival trafficking groups in the area, Chihuahua Attorney General César Peniche Espejel announced in a press release last week.

As JammedUp News reported, violence erupted last Friday after an eight-hour shootout between rival drug gangs killed six in the town of Uruachi, which is located 200 miles west of Chihuahua City.

On Monday, schools in Madera and Temosachi were forced to close because of the ensuing violence. On Tuesday, two residences were lit on fire and officers were taken captive in the town of Gomez Farias, according to The USA Today.

After the assault, officials dispatched 150 state officers and a helicopter to Gómez Farias. The Mexican army has also been deployed to the region.

Authorities were dispatched after an eight-hour gun battle between rival drug gangs killed six in the town of Uruachi, which is about 200 miles west of Chihuahua City. (Photo: Courtesy Chihuahua attorney general’s office)

Gómez Farias has roughly 8,000 residents and is located 200 miles southwest of Juárez.

When local authorities approached the attackers, police were abducted and were beaten before being released.

“We recognize we have a problem, but it is not exclusive to Chihuahua because it involves other states,” Peniche stated on Wednesday.

“What happened yesterday was the incursion of an armed group in search of a rival leader. So, they burned two houses belonging to him,” Peniche continued.

Peniche added that the group was looking for “El 32,” a well-known narcotrafficker Roberto Gonzalez Montes.

Gonzalez, who is also known as “El Mudo” or the mute, reportedly heads a cell of the La Linea cartel in Madera.

“Remember that he was arrested and because of faults in the judicial system, he was released and provoked the clashes, as in the case of Madera,” Peniche said.

Roberto Gonzalez Montes, alias “El Mudo” (Photo: Courtesy Chihuahua attorney general’s office)

Last year, Gonzalez was taken into custody by state police, who discovered firearms, cocaine, and crystal meth in a truck pulled over on the Juárez-Chihuahua City highway.

Gonzalez was accused of offering police 2 million pesos (USD 100,000) if they would release them. He purportedly threatened to murder them when they declined.

Later that month, a court ordered the man to be released due to a lack of evidence.

During Friday’s battle in Uruachi, state authorities said that six men were fatally shot and the town police chief was shot and injured.

The men killed were recovered in various locations. State officials said that the men were wearing military-style clothing, tactical gear, and carried AK-47 rifles.

Authorities have said that drug cartels in western Chihuahua have been fighting for control of drug distribution routes to the U.S. border.

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