Organized crime disputes Acapulco: 16 drug cells fight for the tourist jewel of the Pacific


For more than 10 years, when the so-called "war against drug trafficking" began in Acapulco, Guerrero was one of the cities hardest hit by violence: the famous port lived its darkest days that plunged it into a serious tourist, economic, but above all, security crisis.

According to an internal report of the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), the dominant organization in the port is the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA). Photo: Pixabay
According to an internal report of the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), the dominant organization in the port is the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA). Photo: Pixabay

Although the levels of criminality, mainly that derived from organized crime, are not the same, the strategy to stop the wave of insecurity has not yielded results.

According to the newspaper Reforma, in the last 21 months, at least 16 criminal cells have submerged Acapulco in a wave of violence, which has left more than 1,300 deaths in the city (figures from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System).

According to an internal report of the municipal Public Security Secretariat (SSP), the city is disputed by cells of hitmen that are splits of the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA), armed arm of what was once the organization of the Beltran Leyva led by Edgar Valdez Villarreal, "La Barbie".

The report details that CIDA is currently the strongest cartel in the tourist port, since it controls the distribution of drugs and the collection of business fees for all commercial transfers.

It operates in the Costera Miguel Alemán, the center of the city, and more than 80 colonias in the western area, in addition to the Las Cruces prison.

"Los Virus," the second largest group, controls part of the Diamond Zone and Puerto Marques and part of the Miguel Aleman Coast, according to the report.

The other 14 criminal cells, referred to in the report as "atomized gangs," act on their own in suburban neighborhoods and rural communities.

Reforma details that these organizations also charge weekly fees to public transportation and when a criminal group suffers the detention of one of its members by the authorities, they force the drivers to carry out blockades.

Businessmen and transporters assure that the battle to the death between these criminal groups has accentuated the collection of floors, kidnappings and homicides.

Alejandro Martínez Sidney, leader in Acapulco of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, said that those who have their businesses in the Coast, Center, Diamond Zone, Puerto Marqués, continue to pay fees to criminal groups to work.

Faced with the situation of unstoppable violence and lack of security, in several neighborhoods residents have imposed a kind of "curfew" at night to avoid being victims of crime.

On Friday, November 15, five bodies were found in the Simón Bolívar neighborhood in Acapulco, Guerrero, and according to the first forensic reports belong to family members who were forcibly taken from their homes, including an older woman and two minors.

The Attorney General's Office reported the capture of four men, members of the criminal group "Los Virus", who were linked to the disappearance and murder of the family.

At the time of their arrest, one of the individuals was carrying a 9-millimeter caliber weapon, which according to forensic ballistics reports corresponds to the weapon used to deprive the victims of their lives, whose bodies were found in an area known as "La Milpa.

Pedro Ramírez Gutiérrez, 16; René Calderón Gutiérrez, 11; Adriana Gutiérrez Rendón, 34; a graduate student in Physical Culture and Sport, identified as Hiram Josué, 19; and Honorina Rendón Ríos, 70; were last seen in the Simón Bolivar neighborhood in Acapulco, Guerrero, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, when their families warned that they had been forcibly removed from their homes.

The Attorney General's report indicates that both Adriana and Honorina were wearing pajamas and were barefoot at the time of their disappearance. Regarding the minors, it was only said that Pedro has acne on his face, wears braces and has a perforation in his left ear. While the youngest, René Orfanel, has a scar on his chin.

The Simón Bolivar colony is located in the conurbated zone of Acapulco, where violence is unstoppable. Currently, a security filter was installed on the coastal avenue where transport units were checked.

The Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System recorded that from January to August 339 crimes against personal freedom were committed, of which 39 were classified as kidnapping. Until August, no kidnapping was classified as hostage-taking.

In the tourist jewel there have been several confrontations between inhabitants and organized crime groups. In the last few weeks, the drivers of urban trucks, Urvan vans and collective taxis have become the target of criminals, after suffering extortions, fires and murders.

The attacks were provoked because the drivers refused to pay the 100 pesos weekly fee.

When operators do not contribute their quota, they are beaten by criminals and attacked units. On October 9, subjects set fire to an urban passenger truck in the middle of Costera Miguel Alemán Avenue, the main road of Acapulco and one of the most watched.

The events occurred around 17:30 hours. That same day at least three more units were burned.

A map carried out by the State Attorney General's Office and different narcotics found in the tourist zone of Guerrero show that the criminal structure of the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA) currently covers several sectors of the port and is in confrontation with hitmen from the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.

Although the authorities have well identified the leaders of each sector at the service of the cartel and its modus operandi, they have not been able to reverse the effects of narco-violence.

On October 10, a military checkpoint was deployed, but the crimes against the inhabitants continue.