Mexico City’s Secretary of Public Security Attacked by Armed Assailants

06/26/20 (written by RKuckertz)- In the early hours of Friday, June 26, a group of at least twelve individuals attacked Mexico City’s secretary of public security, Omar García Harfuch, and his convoy in the Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood of Mexico City. The attack was carried out just past 6:30 am local time at the intersection of Paseo de la Reforma and Monte Blanco, where the group of armed assailants was waiting for García Harfuch’s convoy. The attackers used assault rifles and hand grenades, resulting in multiple injuries to members of the convoy and three casualties: two police officers and one passerby. García Harfuch himself sustained multiple bullet wounds, but Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum reported via Twitter this morning that he was “doing well and out of danger.”

Mexico City’s Attorney General Ernestina Godoy announced that an investigation had been opened, with twelve suspects already in custody. While no group has yet claimed responsibility for this morning’s attack, García Harfuch tweeted that members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, CJNG) were to blame. Mayor Sheinbaum as well as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador attributed the attacks to García Harfuch’s steadfast commitment to ensuring peace in Mexico City and throughout the country. 

As one of the youngest public officials to rise to the top of Mexico City’s security apparatus, García Harfuch has been referred to “the best police officer in Mexico” by the current administration. His career has consisted of numerous high-profile investigations and arrests of members of organized crime groups (OCGs), including Dámaso López Núñez (“El Licenciado”), of the Sinaloa Cartel in 2017. During his tenure as secretary of public security beginning in June 2019, García Harfuch has continued to put pressure on organized crime, coordinating the arrests of well-known OCG leaders such as Jorge Flores (“El Tortas“) of the Anti Union (Anti Unión) and Pedro Ramírez (“El Jamón”) of the Tepito Union (Unión Tepito). Notably, García Harfuch was also largely responsible for the 2017 arrest of former governor of Veracruz Javier Duarte, who had attempted to flee serious corruption charges.

As a result of García Harfuch’s strong stance against organized crime, he has reportedly been subject to numerous threats throughout his career, including direct threats from members of the CJNG. Nonetheless, officials have noted that there is no known connection between any specific threats and the attack this morning.

The attack comes in the midst of rising levels of violence in Mexico, despite stay-at-home orders as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to El Universal, Mexico saw record numbers of homicides in April of this year, with experts calling the rising violence a “second epidemic” parallel to the rising number of COVID-19-related deaths. For more on crime and violence in Mexico during the pandemic, see Justice in Mexico’s recent blog post on public security during COVID-19.

Sources

“Intentan matar al jefe de Seguridad de Ciudad de México.” Chicago Tribune, 26 June 2020.

Monroy, Jorge. “Durazo descarta atribuir al CJNG ataque contra García Harfuch; reconoce que hubo amenazas.” El Economista, 26 June 2020.

Velasco, Selene. “Los golpes al narco de García Harfuch.” Reforma, 26 June 2020.

“¿Quién es Omar Garía Harfuch, el jefe de la policía capitalina?” El Universal, 26 June 2020.

Sieff, Kevin. “Mexico City’s top security official injured in apparent assassination attempt.” The Washington Post, 26 June 2020.

“‘En México hay más gente llorando por la violencia que por el coronavirus’: experto.” El Universal, 23 April 2020.

Loret de Mola, Carlos. “Cómo cayó Javier Duarte.” El Universal, 17 April 2017.

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