Forget cliff diving, Acapulco now known as hot spot in Mexico's drug war
The days of jet set vacationing in Acapulco are long gone, but the Mexican resort city is once again in the news, this time for drug violence. It is one of the few tourist spots in Mexico suffering from public shootouts.
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Other smaller gangs such as the Barredora, which saw 10 members arrested for a litany of crimes earlier this month, are also carving out a toehold. The increase in petty crimes like armed robbery and car theft also suggests a rise in smaller groups capitalizing on the climate of insecurity, though they are less active in the international cocaine trade.Skip to next paragraph
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At the same time, larger groups like the Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Familia Michoacana continue to compete for space in this city of some 700,000 residents.
Authorities say that the recent rash of murders in Acapulco stems from the arrest of CIDA boss Moises Montero Alvarez, alias "El Coreano" earlier this month, as others in the region fight over the scraps of his network.
While violence in Mexico has by and large sidestepped the nation’s vital tourism industry, the killings in Acapulco have been enough to drive down the number of foreign visitors, according to some local proprietors.
Mexican tourists still flock to Acapulco, though not without at least some danger: almost two dozen residents of nearby Michoacan were abducted and killed late last year, after being mistaken for members of the Familia.
Local officials have struggled to find an answer to the insecurity. Manuel Añorve Baños, the mayor of Acapulco, has been requesting federal security reinforcements for months, as local police have proven unable to tamp down on the violence hitting the city.
Of course, there already is a substantial federal presence in and around Acapulco, and it has done little to rein in the violence.
Other officials have suggested different tactics: the attorney general in Acapulco’s home state of Guerrero, Alberto Lopez Rosas, provoked controversy earlier this week when he called for a pact among the competing groups to reduce the violence.
Lopez Rosas was subsequently obliged to clarify that he was not proposing that the government strike a truce with criminal groups, but only that the gangs follow certain rules of behavior among themselves.
--- Patrick Corcoran is a writer for Insight – Organized Crime in the Americas, which provides research, analysis, and investigation of the criminal world throughout the region. Find all of his research here.
[Editor's note: The original version misstated the amount of murders in Acapulco.]
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