Mexico City, Aug 15 (EFE).- Mexican authorities reported Monday that 3,630 people were arrested on the weekend in violent public activities by organized crime in various parts of the country, although they denied that terrorism was involved.
“This (past) weekend, due to unlawful (activities) there were 3,630 people arrested, a figure that stands for the entire country,” said Ricardo Mejia, the deputy security of the federal Public Safety department.
Nevertheless, he said that due to acts of violence in Baja California, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Guanajuato states there were only 36 people arrested, of which 12 “are (being handled by) the Prosecutor General’s Office,” although high-profile leaders of criminal organizations were not among those taken into custody.
In addition, he said, in Ciudad Juarez there were 11 deaths resulting from a dispute between criminal factions within a prison.
He also said that in Jalisco, authorities arrested five presumed members of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel, while in Guanajuato 11 people were arrested and in Baja California and Ciudad Juarez 12 were arrested, respectively.
The incidents in the aforementioned states are causing concern because the criminals have burned businesses and vehicles to block the streets, and as a result some experts are talking about “narcoterrorism.”
However, Mejia said that despite the dramatic nature of the violent acts and the social and media impact they have generated, last weekend was the third least-deadly weekend – in terms of homicides – in 2022.
“There were 196 (deaths), and we haven’t had a weekend with less than 200 homicides for four months,” he said.
Mejia said that the Andes Manuel Lopez Obrador administration has managed to reduce the logistical and financial capabilities of criminal groups around the country.
According to Luis Cresencio Sandoval, the head of the Defense Secretariat (Sedena), in the specific case of the deeds perpetrated in Baja California, he blamed criminal groups “seeking to call attention” to their actions.
“These acts of vandalism are occurring, to some extent, to attract attention. They didn’t attack society, but yes it was a way to get the authorities to deal with the situation, to create conditions where one can point out that there is a lack of security,” he declared.
He also said that the violent acts are being staged because of the “weakness within the criminal groups.”
When questioned directly about whether the violence in recent days was due to terrorism, Government Secretary Adan Augusto Lopez emphatically reiterated that the incidents were only “propaganda” being perpetrated by the criminal groups.
“They’re not terrorist attacks, there’s no reason to magnify the events. They shouldn’t be seen as anything more than propaganda,” he said.
He also asserted that Mexico’s security strategy “is providing results,” adding that on Aug. 20 figures will be released showing that criminal activity “is on the decline.”
He emphasized that these kinds of criminal acts are the result “when one fights against violence. We’re not exempt from having these reactions.”
The report by the authorities comes after on Monday morning, President Lopez Obrador said that his political opponents are “exaggerating” the acts of violence.
“Our adversaries are exaggerating … It’s like a set-up, it’s propaganda. There’s no huge problem, but they do want to grab that flag of violence,” the president said during his morning press conference at the National Palace.