Crime & Justice

Mexican authorities investigate reports of funeral massacre

Morelia, Mexico, Feb 28 (EFE).- Authorities of the western Mexican state of Michoacán were on Monday investigating a suspected massacre at a funeral wake in the town of San José de Gracia.

An eyewitness video shared widely across social media showed people lined up against a wall on a residential street in broad daylight, most with their hands behind their heads, while music is heard inside. Around them men hold firearms before gunfire erupts and smoke covers the scene.

No bodies have been found, but around 17 people may have been killed in the massacre, according to local media reports.

Michoacán Attorney General Adrián López Solís said there is evidence to confirm that among the possible victims is alleged drug trafficker Alejandro G, alias “El Pelón,” whose mother’s wake had been taking place inside the building when the attack happened in downtown San José de Gracia, in the municipality of Marcos Castellanos, on Sunday.

The prosecutor said that “El Pelón” had a long criminal history in Michoacán and that for a short time he was part of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Testimonies and videos posted to social media allowed the Prosecutor’s Office to establish that “El Pelón” is presumed dead, alongside several civilians, at the hands of a rival cartel.

Experts from the Prosecutor’s Office also discovered that the assailants used an electric pressure washer to remove blood and evidence at the crime scene.

“Upon arrival at the scene of the events, the victims were not located. However, it was detected that the floor had just been washed. In addition, a bag was located that contained remains of brain mass, which was packed for analysis, and another that contained containers of cleaning products,” said López Solís.

He added that cartridges from firearms of various calibers were collected at the scene.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday that he hoped “with all my soul” that what happened is not true and that the incident is being investigated.

He confirmed that two vehicles had been found, as well as shell casings and human remains.

So far, there have been no arrests.

The CJNG, The New Michoacán Family and The Knights Templar cartels all operate in San José de Gracia, fighting to control turf and carrying out illicit activities in the region.

In 2021, Michoacán ranked third nationally for intentional homicides, with 2,732 murders, according to official government figures.

Mexico registered 33,308 homicides in 2021 after the two most violent years in its history, under the mandate of López Obrador, with 34,690 murder victims in 2019 and 34,554 in 2020. EFE


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