MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Armed men blocked roads, burned cars and there were reports of shootouts in the city of Uruapan in western Mexico after a senior leader of the Los Viagras cartel was detained, local media and a source from the prosecutor’s office said.
Luis Felipe, also known as “El Vocho”, was captured earlier in the day in the western state of Michoacan, which has long been convulsed by turf wars between drug gangs and where unrest is not uncommon after the detention of senior cartel figures.
Michoacan’s state security services, without giving names, said on Twitter that three people have been detained.
Mexican officials will be on high alert following the chaos in Culiacan last October, when cartel gunmen laid siege to the city and forced encircled security forces to free the detained son of jailed kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The bungled arrest of Ovidio Guzman was a huge embarrassment for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is coming under increasing pressure to deal with spiraling violence that saw murder rates reach another all-time high in 2019.
Three policemen and one of the detainees were wounded during the arrest of Felipe, according to a source in the prosecutor’s office.
Los Viagras have been clashing with the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) over territory in the Tierra Caliente region in Michoacan.
Reporting by Alan Ortega in Michoacan and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Daniel Wallis