At least 12 dead after police are lured into an ambush in Mexico: “There can be no truce”

Four police officers were shot dead after being lured into an ambush in western Mexico, and as many as eight suspected attackers were killed in a shootout with other officers who rushed to the scene, officials said Thursday.

Luis Joaquín Méndez, chief prosecutor for the western state of Jalisco, said four municipal police officers in the city of El Salto responded to a call on Wednesday about gunmen in a house.

As soon as they arrived, a woman answered the door and said there was nothing wrong. But gunmen opened fire on the police, some of whom were dragged into the house and killed, the prosecutor said.

Authorities said police reinforcements showed up and engaged in a shootout with the suspects, killing eight and wounding three.

Later, the prosecution said nine bodies were found in the house – the four police officers and five suspects in the shooting. Three more bodies – two men and a woman – were found on a nearby property, they said.

Members of the Jalisco Forensic Medicine Service work after four police officers and eight suspected members of organized crime were killed and six others were injured, during a clash in El Salto, Jalisco state, Mexico, on June 23, 2022.

ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images

Prosecutors said the dead were likely members of a gang that was apparently holding kidnap victims at one of the properties. Investigators also found the remains of another man in plastic bags.

“At this moment in which Mexico is living, in Jalisco we are clear that there can be no truce against those who have taken away our peace and tranquility,” wrote Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro on Facebook.

Two people held captive inside the building were rescued after a report that gunmen were seen leading gagged people into the house, officials said.

Several people were arrested and weapons and ammunition were seized.

Ricardo Santillán, El Salto’s chief of police, called the shooting a “cowardly act”.

Agents from the Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office stand guard at the site where four police officers and eight suspected members of organized crime were killed and another six injured, in a clash in El Salto, Jalisco state, Mexico, on June 23, 2022.

ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico’s Council of Roman Catholic Bishops issued an open letter on Thursday urging the government to change course on security, commenting three days later. two Jesuit priests would have been killed by a drug gang leader inside his church in a remote town in northern Mexico.

“It is time to review the security policies that are failing,” the bishops wrote, calling for a “national dialogue” to find solutions.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has declared his government is no longer focused on detaining drug cartel leaders, and in 2019 he ordered the release of a captured leader of the Sinaloa cartel to prevent bloodshed.

López Obrador has implemented a strategy he calls “hugs, not bullets” and at times seems to tolerate gangs, even praising at one point for not interfering in elections.

Asked at his daily morning briefing if he intended to change strategy, López Obrador said: “No, on the contrary, this is the right path.”

He faced questions about the fact that there were more murders in his 3½ years in office than in all six years under President Felipe Calderón in 2006-2012, whom López Obrador frequently accuses of being responsible for unnecessary bloodshed. .

“It’s just that we got a homicide rate that was at its peak, very high, and Calderón didn’t welcome the country like that. It increased,” said López Obrador.

Ten police officers were murdered this year in Jalisco, one of Mexico’s most violent states due to the presence of criminal gangs, according to official figures.

The western region, one of the most prosperous in the country, is the birthplace of the powerful Jalisco Nova Geração Cartel, which authorities blame for countless deaths and disappearances. The Justice Department considers the Jalisco cartel “one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world”.

Its leader, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera, is one of the most wanted traffickers in the world, with the US Drug Enforcement Administration offering $10 million for his arrest.

“He’s the number one priority for the DEA and, frankly, for federal law enforcement in the United States,” said DEA agent Matthew Donahue. told CBS News in 2019.

Last month, Mexican authorities captured an alleged leader of the Jalisco cartel – Francisco Javier Rodriguez Hernandez, known as “El Señorón” or “XL”.

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