Crime & Justice

Mexican gang sets taxis on fire, kills drivers

Chilpancingo, Mexico, Jul 9 (EFE).- Five taxi drivers have been murdered and four vehicles set ablaze during the last 24 hours in and around this southern Mexico city, authorities said Sunday.

The carnage is blamed on the Los Ardillos gang, which is said to be extorting transit operators in Chilpancingo, capital of Guerrero state.

The city’s mayor, Norma Otilia Hernandez Martinez, met recently with the leaders of the gang in an apparent attempt to persuade them to curb the violence after seven dismembered bodies were left in front of a church on June 24.

Police received a report at around 2:00 pm Saturday that two taxis were set on fire in Tixtla, a town about 20 km (12 mi) east of Chilpancingo.

One of the drivers was killed.

The next attack was on a taxi van operating on the Chilpancingo-Mochitlan route, before another cab was riddled with bullets and then set alight near a gas station on the Mexico City-Acapulco highway.

The driver burned to death inside the vehicle and three passengers were injured. Minutes later on the same highway, another driver died when his vehicle was torched.

The driver of a taxi van running between Chilpancingo and Chilapa was slain and as night fell, another cab was set on fire, but residents of nearby homes managed to put out the flames and the driver survived.

All transit companies in the area suspended service late Saturday.

The streets of Chilpancingo were practically deserted on Sunday and most businesses remained shuttered as Guerrero state police, soldiers, and marines patrolled the city and set up checkpoints.

The mayhem followed the arrest last Thursday of two Los Ardillos members in possession of crystal meth and ammunition cartridges for assault rifles.

Days earlier, video of Hernandez Martinez meeting with the gang’s leader circulated on social media and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that federal authorities will investigate the mayor’s contacts with Los Ardillos.

EFE fm/dr

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