President Enrique Peña Nieto's swearing in ceremony

Over a dozen homicides were reported on December 1, the day that Enrique Peña Nieto was sworn in as Mexico's president, in an indication of the challenges that await him on the security front.

As illustrated by the map below, the bulk of the homicides took place in Zacatecas, capital of Zacatecas state, and in the city of Torreon, Coahuila.

Five bodies were found in different locations across Zacatecas city, bearing messages signed in the name of the Gulf Cartel, reported Proceso. "We gave you a chance to leave and you didn't, from now on executions will be 10 for 1," the message reportedly read.

In Torreon, two police officers and two Public Security Ministry agents were reported killed. The attacks form part of a wave of violence against police in Torreon in recent months. In another sign of the violence in the city, seven dismembered bodies were reportedly found there the day after Peña Nieto's inauguration.


View Zacatecas in a larger map

InSight Crime Analysis

In his inauguration speech, Peña Nieto stated that his first goal would be to reduce Mexico's violence. The count of 13 dead within the first 24 hours of his six-year term illustrates the challenges that lie ahead for the 46-year-old politician, who brings the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back to the presidency. The party has been accused of turning a blind eye to Mexico's drug cartels during its 71 years in power, before it lost the presidency in 2000.

Peña Nieto has already made several concrete proposals for his security strategy, including the creation of a gendarmerie and the dissolution of the Ministry of Public Security. As InSight Crime has pointed out, some pillars of his predecesor's strategy are worth continuing, including the ongoing implementation of widespread judicial reforms, which have radically changed the way Mexico conducts trials. But there are other pitfalls worth avoiding, including the previous government's failure to keep a public and transparent record of the missing and the dead.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...