By MARK LORENZANA
Elements of the Citizen Security Secretariat (SSC) of the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office, in coordination with Mexico’s National Defense Secretariat (Sedena), have seized drug shipments, searched homes and even detained leaders of Los Chapitos (Little Chapos), a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel, which has been attempting to expand its operations in Mexico City for almost a year now.
On Thursday, July 14, sources from the Mexico City Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Los Chapitos members have been detected in various locations in the capital, including the boroughs of Tlalpan, Coyoacán and Xochimilco. A town hall in the borough of Gustavo A. Madero has also been allegedly used by the criminal group to store its drugs, according to authorities.
Los Chapitos is a group under the Sinaloa Cartel collectively led by convicted drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera’s sons: brothers Ovidio Guzmán López, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Joaquín Guzmán López.
As a result of intensified operations by both capital and federal authorities against the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico City, a police operation on Wednesday, July 13, resulted in the arrest of 14 people after a shootout along the Mexico-Cuernavaca highway, near San Miguel Topilejo, a community in Tlalpan. Aside from the arrests, the operation also yielded high-powered weapons that included rifles and machine guns. Bulletproof vests, pistols and grenades, as well as several cartridges, were also seized.
Mexico City Police Chief Omar García Harfuch said that the detainees are from Sinaloa, and that the operation was conducted after complaints were lodged by concerned citizens about armed individuals in the area.
Meanwhile, the government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has claimed to have doubled its efforts against the Sinaloa Cartel. According to Sedena, in June of this year alone, Mexican armed forces have discovered and dismantled 63 drug laboratories allegedly operated by the Sinaloa Cartel. On June 2, the military confiscated 542 kilos of fentanyl, 555 kilos of methamphetamine, 31 kilos of cocaine and 6.7 kilos of heroin in a clandestine drug lab in Sinaloa. In that operation, 10 individuals were arrested at the scene.
López Obrador, in his daily morning press conference on Thursday, acknowledged the police operation in San Miguel Topilejo that led to the arrest of 14 gunmen, but denied any information about the presence of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico City.
“We have to wait for it to be investigated, we still haven’t dealt with it,” López Obrador said, addressing a question by a journalist about the presence of the Los Chapitos group in Mexico City. “We do not have all the information. It came up because of the operation in Topilejo, and now the government of Mexico City is investigating it, but we still do not have any information.”