Tierra Caliente region in Michoacán witnesses a surge in unrest as rival gangs clash in Apatzingán and Buenavista

Rival gangs disrupt Michoacán, leading to roadblocks, store fires, and state intervention; tensions rise in Apatzingán and Buenavista.
  1. Michoacán faces escalating turmoil as rival factions ignite confrontations, affecting local businesses and everyday life.
  2. Key areas like Apatzingán and Buenavista become flashpoints, with public services halting amidst the chaos.
  3. State and federal forces collaborate to reinstate order, focusing on the hardest-hit regions and assessing the extensive property damage.

Mexico — Michoacán municipalities have been rife with upheaval this morning. Armed confrontations have been reported alongside road blockades and the burning of vehicles and convenience stores. In response, the state government, backed by the armed forces, has launched a security reinforcement operation.

Roadblocks and Civilian Uprisings

A cargo vehicle was torched on the Apatzingán-Tepalcatepec highway near the Santa Ana community in Buenavista. Witnesses suggest that civilians intercepted the driver and then set the vehicle on fire, using it as a barrier on the road to block motorists.

Roadblocks have also sprung up in Pinzándaro, División del Norte, around the Catalinas junction, and in Eréndira. These actions are reportedly an attempt by the “Los Viagras” gang to fend off the incursion of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Clashes between these rival criminal groups, who are vying for control of the territory, were reported by local residents the previous night.

In Apatzingán, armed confrontations have erupted in various parts of the municipality, with at least two convenience stores being torched.

Public Services Halted Amidst Chaos

Following these violent incidents, public transportation in Apatzingán has been suspended, and several convenience stores have been closed. In a phone interview with MILENIO, the municipal president, José Luis Cruz Lucatero, mentioned being unofficially informed about the transportation service providers’ decision to halt operations for safety reasons.

He also confirmed that after the burning of two Oxxo stores, the retail chain decided to shut down all of its outlets in the Tierra Caliente region. Regarding local businesses, he anticipates normal operations. However, he acknowledged a noticeable decrease in street activity and vehicle traffic. As a damage recap, the mayor stated that two roadblocks were recorded on the Apatzingán-Tepalcatepec and Apatzingán-Aguililla highways. Additionally, pharmacies in Uruapan have been set on fire.

To this point, Cruz Lucatero noted that there are no reports of injuries or fatalities. In response to the unrest, various security and emergency services, including the Army, the National and Civil Guard of Michoacán, and Firefighters, have been mobilized.

Security Boosted Following Violent Incidents

The violence from Apatzingán and Buenavista has also spread to the eastern part of the state, resulting in more property damage. In Uruapan, another Oxxo store was set ablaze, and a delivery truck was torched, as confirmed by the mayor, Ignacio Campos, to MILENIO. Police sources have estimated the material damage to be in the thousands.

The municipal president has stated that a joint operation between federal and state forces is underway, and the situation is “under control” with no reported casualties. Units from the Civil Guard, the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena), and the National Guard have bolstered security measures in Tierra Caliente and Uruapan to ensure Michoacán’s safety.

Violent activities have also been reported in Uruapan and Tepalcatepec municipalities. Suspected organized crime members burned vehicles and Oxxo stores and set up road blockades.

Michoacán’s Violent Outbreaks Under Investigation

The State Attorney General’s Office of Michoacán (FGE) has initiated an official investigation into the criminal activities reported this morning in the municipalities of Apatzingán, Buenavista, and Uruapan.

After three convenience store fires were reported (two in Apatzingán and one in Uruapan), a multidisciplinary forensic team was dispatched to the sites. They are being supported by the Civil Guard, Army, and National Guard, all of whom have been deployed to the area to ensure safety and free movement. Similarly, officials were sent to various parts of the Tierra Caliente region, where five vehicles were reported burned, and to the Uruapan Industrial Boulevard, where a snack company truck was damaged.