Army Deployed to Outskirts of Mexico City

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The government has sent a force of 1,000 soldiers and federal police to patrol a suburb of Mexico City in response to a rise in crime, the first time the military has been deployed on this scale so close to the capital in the war on drugs.

Operation Neza, which was launched on September 19, involves around-the-clock patrols and checkpoints throughout Nezahualcoyotl, a suburb in the greater Mexico City metropolitan area with around 1.1 million residents.

In the past two months, the area has experienced a 14 percent increase in crime, including 119 firearm homicides, El Universal reported. During a press conference, Mexico State’s secretary of citizen security, Salvador Neme Sastre, stated that the Familia Michoacana drug gang is believed to operate in the area, reported Informador.

The secretary said that the deployment was also due to the murder of newly-elected Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) congressman Jaime Serrano Cedillo in Nezahualcoyotl on September 16.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico City has largely been spared the drug-related violence that has hit other parts of the country. The capital city’s homicide rate of eight per 100,000 is below the national average of 24 per 100,000, and well below the murder rates in states like Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.

There has been much speculation over the past several years over whether this could change. Drug trafficking organizations and their smaller offshoots do operate in Mexico City, attending to the capital’s large consumer market for drugs.

But there are several reasons to believe that the capital will not become the next violent battleground for the cartels. First, there appears to be a de facto truce among the larger cartels in the capital, with all the gangs relying on the international airport for their smuggling activities and many drug lords allegedly residing in the city. Second, Mexico City is the home base for the country’s federal security forces, making open cartel activity more risky.

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