Gunmen Wound Mexico City Police Chief; 3 Dead

MEXICO CITY—A high-sided construction truck and a white SUV pulled into the path of Mexico Citys police chief just as dawn was breaking Friday on the capitals most iconic boulevard and assailants opened fire with .50-caliber sniper rifles and grenades on his armored vehicle.

The cinematic ambush involving two-dozen gunmen left chief Omar García Harfuch wounded with three bullet impacts and shrapnel. Two members of his security detail were killed, as was a woman who happened to be driving by.

The high-powered armament and brazenness of the attack suggested the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and hours after the attack, García blamed them via Twitter from the hospital.

“This morning we were attacked in a cowardly way by the CJNG,” García tweeted, using the Spanish-language acronym for Mexicos most violent criminal group.

“Two colleagues and friends of mine lost their lives,” García wrote. “I have three bullet wounds and various pieces of shrapnel. Our nation has to continue standing up to cowardly organized crime. We will continue working.”

His office later said he was undergoing surgery.

Federal Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo, referring to Garcías tweet blaming the Jalisco cartel, said in a news conference that “this is one of the hypotheses that the Mexico City prosecutors office is investigating.”

Mexico City Omar García Harfuch was attacked
Mexico City Omar García Harfuch was attacked
Forensic investigators and police work the scene where security secretary, Omar García Harfuch, was attacked by gunmen in the early morning hours in Mexico City, on June 26, 2020. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo)

Durazo said Mexicos intelligence agency apparently had information that the cartel was planning an attack, but did not offer additional details. He said García was shot in the shoulder, collar bone and the knee.

Mexico City Attorney General Ernestina Godoy Ramos said on Twitter that 12 suspects were arrested and that her office was investigating the attack.

The attack was meticulously planned and involved a total of 28 gunmen hired three weeks before, according to Ulises Lara, the spokesman for the Mexico City prosecutors office. It was so closely studied that three separate possible ambush points were set up on major thoroughfares, including one—which wasnt used—in the heart of Mexico City, one block from the Independence Monument.

Lara said the gunmen had been divided into four different cells and were given ski masks and guns the night before. They were taken to the ambush points at 4 a.m. to lie in wait for their target.

Lara said the 12 suspects detained after the shooting included one Colombian, and men from five different states—Jalisco, Guerrero, Nayarit, Chihuahua and Michoacan—as well as Mexico City.

However, Lara did not say who the suspects said had hired them, or how much they were paid.

Later, capital police arrested an alleged head of the Jalisco New Generation Cartels hitmen Friday, suggesting he could have been the mastermind of Fridays attack, said a Mexico City police official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The official said police arrested José Armando Briseño on the east side of the city. Nicknamed “Cow,” he is allegedly the gangs chief of hitmen in the city of Tonalá in Jalisco.

Jalisco is the same gang that U.S. prosecutors said tried to buy belt-fed M-60 machine guns in the United States and that once brought down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. In October, cartel gunmen ambushed and killed 14 state police officers in Michoacán.

But such a high-profile attack in Mexicos capital is a blow to a federal government struggling to respond to record levels of violence across the country.

The gang has established a nearly national presence, from the white-sand beaches of Cancun to Mexico City and the countrys most important ports, as well as key border cities traditionally controlled by other cartels.

Fridays attack came two weeks after rumors swirled for a day that Jaliscos leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, better known as “El Mencho,” had been captured or killed—though officials later denied that. Oseguera is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrations most-wanted fugitive, with a $10 million price on his head.

In March, U.S. authorities arrested hundreds of Jalisco operatives in raids across the country. They said the gang controls between one-third and two-thirds of the U.S. drug market.

“This kind of attack is not normal, they crossed a line. You have to read it like an exceptional act,” said security analyst Alejandro Hope. “You have two very serious attacks in two weeks. First, the murder of the federal judge and now the attack on the citys police chief.”

Earlier this month, a federal judge and his wife were killed at their home by gunmen in the western state of Colima. The judge had handled several cases related to organized crime.

If it is the Jalisco gang, the government would have to target them like it did with the hyper-violent Zetas gang between 2010 and 2013, Hope said. They have become a systematic threat to government authority. There should be “an exceptional response, dismantle the criminal group … like they did at the time with the Zetas.”

Hope said the Jalisco gang has long had a presence in the capital. In this case, they likely recruited local gunmen through their alliances, he said.

The attack, which lasted barely a minute, occurred along a stretch of Mexico Citys grand Paseo de la Reforma that is home to foreign embassies and large houses surrounded by walls. Grainy security camera footage showed at least seven men standing up in the bed of the truck and firing in a blaze of light while more gunmen fired from the ground.

Later, forensic technicians began marking hundreds of shell casings that littered the strRead More – Source