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immediate reports of damage or injuries.

On May 10, members of self-defense militias began joining the newly established police force for rural parts of the western state of Michoacan. Former vigilantes in the towns of Tepalcatepec and Buenavista who signed up for the force were given police uniforms and rifles. The government had given vigilantes by May 10 to either put away their weapons or join the new rural police unit. So far, at least 3,300 vigilantes have reportedly joined the new force; there are around 20,000 vigilantes in total.

On May 15, Federal Police forces arrested Fernando Martinez Magaña, alias “Z-16”, one of the 12 most sought after fugitives in Mexico in Monterrey. Police charged Martinez Magaña with trafficking in drugs, arms and people. Martinez Magaña was previously arrested in 2011 for the same crimes.

A 6.4 earthquake struck southwestern Guerrero on May 8. The quake caused limited damage and disruptions in southwestern and central Mexico; there were no reports of casualties. Emergency response officials did not report significant damage or disruptions in Acapulco, Mexico City, and Zihuatanejo, or to PEMEX infrastruture A magnitude 6.0 aftershock struck southwestern Guerrero, roughly 103 km (64 miles) northwest of Acapulco on May 10. The epicenter was at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles) and the event produced weak to light shaking in the greater Mexico City area. There were no

Unknown gunmen kidnapped a Ugandan priest who had been working with indigenous people in Mexico since 2011 in the southern state of Guerrero on May 8. The victim was driving a pickup truck after celebrating mass in an indigenous village. There has so far been no word from him or any ransom demand. Members of the Union of Towns and Organizations of Guerrero State (UPOEG) self-defense groups opened fire on the vehicle convoy of the mayor of Juan R. Escudero, as they were driving along Highway 95D connecting Acapulco to Mexico City on May 18. Members of the self-defense group, also referred to as vigilantes, citizen police, and rural defense groups, reportedly set up a checkpoint along the highway, and the mayor's convoy did not stop, prompting the confrontation. Two of the mayor's guards were injured in the incident. At least nine people were killed and 15 taxi drivers were kidnapped in the Guerrero state capital, Chilpancingo, on early May 28. According to reports, police believe that the kidnapped taxi drivers may have been linked to an informant network working for Los Rojos, a criminal organization with a heavy presence in Guerrero.

Reynosa government officials have confirmed that gunfights and roadblocks occurred in multiple parts of the city the morning of May 9, including in the Las Fuentes and Aztlan districts. Roadblocks were also erected on portions of Federal Highway 2 and Federal Highway 97, along with Luis Donaldo Colosio Boulevard. A build-up of gas inside a restaurant in the Valle del Pedregal area of Reynosa, Tamaulipas caused an explosion the afternoon of May 15; initial reports indicate that the explosion was accidental. The blast injured at least 10 people, leveled the restaurant, and damaged numerous nearby vehicles. Personnel from the military, Federal Police, and Reynosa Civil Protection

Department responded to the incident scene. On May 26, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong announced that the Tamaulipas investigative police will be removed from duty and be ordered to undergo federal training. While the state officers are off duty, Federal Police agents will carry out state investigations.

On May 22, the Federal Telecommunications Institute announced that it will visit the offices of Dish and América Móvil after allegations that the companies misled investigators in statements made to the Federal Competition Commission. Following an initial investigation, five contracts which were not shown to investigators were later published online, detailing potential options for Dish to be purchased by a Telmex subsidiary. The current investigation could result in sanctions against the telecommunications companies. Through May 26, health officials in Mexico reported approximately 4,400 confirmed dengue fever infections and another 24,100 suspected dengue cases countrywide in 2014. Disease activity has been highest in the states of Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, and Yucatan, followed by Nayarit, Colima, Guerrero, Campeche, and Quintana Roo.

In Q1-14 three of Mexico’s hardest hit states experienced a decreased share of national cargo thefts. Puebla state dropped from 10% in Q1-13 to 9% in Q1-14. Mexico’s capital, the Federal District, went from 7% to 6% this quarter. Jalisco state’s share dropped from 7% in Q1-13 to 4% last quarter. At the same time, the percentage share at least doubled in four of the top 10 states. Hidalgo state increased from 3% to 6% of all thefts, State of Mexico increased from 6% to 13%, Queretaro state increased from 3% to 8%, and Tlaxcala state thefts rose from 2% to 5% of the total.

While all of Mexico’s highways present risk to cargo, some are extremely dangerous at key points. Among those at highest risk are the MEX-57 between Mexico City and Saltillo, Coahuila state; and the MEX-150D from Mexico City to Veracruz. Most of the thefts on these two highways occur at entrances into the cities where traffic slows and criminals can more easily stop and subdue drivers. Also threatening cargo security on these routes are so-called Guachicoleras and Cachimbas, small businesses generally controlled by organized crime that often cater to drivers who want to purchase illegal substances and/or falsified trip documents such as fuel or toll receipts. Drivers who stop at these locations risk having their cargo stolen. Another high-risk highway is the MEX-45D between the cities of Irapuato and Celaya in Guanajuato state. Although the highway runs from Mexico City to Ciudad Juárez on the U.S.-Mexico border, the relatively short stretch between Irapuato and Celaya experiences many thefts. This is largely due to its proximity to the state of Michoacán, a hotbed of all types of criminal activity.

Security Mexico Monthly Newsletter - May 2014  
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