CONTENT PREVIEW
Country Risk

Military police deployments to Mexico’s Guanajuato state unlikely to significantly reduce hydrocarbons theft or homicides in 2018

01 March 2018

Key Points

  • Increasing competition between criminal organisations in the state has contributed to rising homicide rates.
  • Other crime indicators such as hydrocarbons theft and general theft (against persons, property, and vehicles) are also on an upward trajectory.
  • Increased military deployments will probably lead to armed confrontations between security forces and organised criminal groups, increasing collateral death and injury risks for bystanders.

Event

On 23 February, Guanajuato State Secretary Gustavo Rodríguez Junquera stated that 3,735 additional security forces had been deployed to the state to counter a spike in homicides since January 2018.Soldiers take positions in front of villagers mounting roadblocks with burning tires to protest an army crackdown the day after an armed confrontation between soldiers and alleged fuel thieves (‘huachicoleros’) that tap the pipelines of state-owned oil giant PEMEX, in Palmarito Tochapan, Puebla, Mexico in May 2017. (Jose Castanares/AFP/Getty Images)Soldiers take positions in front of villagers mounting roadblocks with burning tires to protest an army crackdown the day after an armed confrontation between soldiers and alleged fuel thieves (‘huachicoleros’) that tap the pipelines of state-owned oil giant PEMEX, in Palmarito Tochapan, Puebla, Mexico in May 2017. (Jose Castanares/AFP/Getty Images)

Security forces present in Guanajuato now include 3,200 military police, 4,000 federal police, and 185 National Gendarmerie, totalling 13,000 personnel that have been deployed to counter what authorities have identified as “turf wars” between criminal groups for exclusive rights to hydrocarbon thefts in specific areas. Guanajuato Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional: PAN) stated on 16 February that the new security forces would be deployed along the industrial corridor municipalities of Apaseos, Celaya, Irapuato, León, and Salamanca, through which the main pipelines, highways, and train lines run throughout the state. The additional security personnel will also reinforce municipal police structures and security patrols in hotspots, and will oversee the training of existing and new personnel.

The deployments were authorised in response to several high-profile homicides that have occurred since the beginning of 2018. These include the murder of a Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) security director on 25 February in Salamanca, the murder of an Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional: PRI) councillor on 24 January in Celaya municipality, and the killing of an Irapuato police director on 20 January; several business leaders have also been targeted. Guanajuato is an important manufacturing hub located in the central region of Mexico, and the state hosts companies operating in the automotive, energy, agribusiness, and mining sectors.

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