7 Dead in Sinaloa Alongside Banner Claiming State Collusion With Chapo Guzman

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Seven dismembered bodies were found in the Mexican state of Sinaloa along with a banner condemning the alleged collusion between state authorities and the Sinaloa Cartel.

The remains of seven men were found in 13 black bags opposite a baseball stadium on June 5 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, reported Noroeste.

Accompanying the bodies was a “narcomanta,” (read full text here in Spanish) a banner usually hung by drug gangs, that asked President Calderon, “How do you want to end crime if those charged with combating it are the biggest offenders?” The message claimed that Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez, along with high-ranking members of the state police, were corrupt and actively colluding with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Sinaloa Cartel’s leader. There are no Sinaloa Cartel members in the state prison, a sign that Lopez is helping protect the gang, the banner claimed.

None of the victims have been identified. It was initially believed they could have been police officers due to their clothing. However, the state’s attorney general, Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez, dismissed the theory, stating that there have been no reports of missing police officers in the area.

InSight Crime Analysis

Banners accusing the local authorities of working with Chapo Guzman are nothing new to the town of Culiacan. In both 2010 and 2011, banners were left decrying corruption in the police force and the governor’s alleged protection of the Sinaloa Cartel. Neither case involved bodies abandoned alongside the banner, suggesting that the unknown authors are looking to attract greater attention with this latest message. The allusions to cartel-government collusion arguably has the overall aim of making the public doubt whether they can trust the authorities.

One possible group responsible for the killings are the Beltran Leyva Organization. One-time allies of the Sinaloa Cartel, the group has been warring with Chapo Guzman in Sinaloa since 2008 on the belief that Guzman betrayed them and gave authorities details that ultimately led to the arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, the organization’s top leader. The conflict between the two gangs has led to some 25,000 people being displaced in Sinaloa in recent months, according to the Sinaloa Human Rights Commission.

This is not the first time that the government and police forces have been accused of favoring the Sinaloa Cartel. An NPR report in 2010 found evidence of the Mexican army working with the Sinaloa Cartel in Ciudad Juarez and Calderon’s administration has frequently had to deny claims it is not doing enough to find Guzman.

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