by Guido Olimpio
Daylight attack on the Cereso-3 prison visited by Pope Francis in 2016: perhaps an attempt to free the inmates of the Juarez cartel, including the leader of the Los Mexicles gang
A broad daylight attack on the prison in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on the border with the United States. Tactics similar to those used by guerrilla formations at other latitudes. With a heavy toll: 14 dead, including 10 agents.
It was around 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day when a group of hitmen aboard gun-equipped armored vehicles attacked Cereso 3, the local prison that had already been the scene of massacres and was visited by Pope Francis in 2016. An intense shootout accompanied by a revolt within the complex which led to the escape of about twenty prisoners. Apparently a coordinated action to embarrass the probably surprised guards and help the accomplices to escape. The criminals’ challenge lasted for a long time, causing panic among the population and the security forces managed to restore calm after five hours. The numbers can help to understand: the complex has a capacity of 700, but more than 3,700 people are locked in its cells. And that in a city where 1,045 murders were registered last year.
Like every high-profile episode of the narco-war, this story is full of versions. One claims that members of the Los Mexicles gang may have acted. Even after the reconstruction, the bandits launched the raid to free their leader Ernesto Alfredo Pinon de la Cruz, aka El Neto, who had been sentenced to 200 years in prison for murder, kidnapping and violence. A criminal who started his “career” when he was only 18 years old. His “lieutenant” Cesar Munoz, known as El Chilin, is said to have fled with him.
Back in August, Ciudad Juárez was the scene of a Los Mexicles raid, a wild move to prevent the boss from being transferred to a federal prison from which it would have been more difficult to escape. A perfectly executed plan that confirms how the “gangs” operate with long-term strategies together with the power of weapons. The group’s affiliation is more confused, another constant of the black Mexican “panorama” made up of divisions, alliances, reconciliations, feuds. El Neto had started alongside the Sinaloa Cartel but would form a pact with rivals in the Juarez Cartel in the summer. It’s a world where nothing lasts forever, it’s sometimes difficult to place pages, the protagonists change their minds based on interests or perhaps in response to a passing affront. And every turn costs lives.
January 2, 2023 (change January 2, 2023 | 13:05)
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