Crime and Violence

Governor of Sinaloa Requests Heavy Arms to Combat Cartels

07/24/2012 – Last week, Governor Mario López Valdez of Sinaloa presented the head of the Secretary of National Defense (Secretaría de Defensa Nacional, Sedena), Guillermo Galván Galván, with a surprising proposal on behalf of the state’s police forces: the return of heavy arms confiscated from drug cartels to the state for use by the police in their law enforcement duties. Currently, weapons confiscated by the armed forces are housed in a bunker at military installations and eventually destroyed. Given the uphill battle his state’s police forces often face when fighting cartels–who are able to draw on international arms traffickers and deep profits to purchase high quality weapons, which gives them a disproportionate advantage over public security officials–Governor López is hoping to more evenly match the firepower of cartels. He argued, “The arms they (criminals) carry and their armored cars makes it so they always win, and if we have indeed found the drive to confront the criminals today, then the possibility of equipping our forces and putting them on an even level should be valued.”

According to El Universal, Governor López’s request to Sedena for weapons, including AK-47s and Barrett anti-aircraft guns, was specifically prompted by a cartel attack on a police convoy in early July in which seven policemen were killed. It also came on the heels of his previous request and approval of a high number of weapons for state police forces, some of which were delivered on July 11. This was the second delivery of weapons for Sinaloa forces purchased by the Subsidy for Public Security in the Municipalities fund (Subsidio para la Seguridad Pública de los Municipios, Subsemun) that, between the two shipments, cost six million pesos (almost $440,000 USD) and included 677 rifles, 426 Glock pistols, 1,837 magazines, and over a million different caliber cartridges. The governor is additionally pushing for the acquisition of a helicopter for Sinaloa’s police, citing the significant advantage that would be gained from air support. He emphasized that his police officers would be required to comply with and fulfill all trainings required to use high powered weapons and machines, if the measure is approved. Sedena has not yet answered the governor’s request.

This is not the first time Governor López has made headlines for his efforts to assert the rule of law in Sinaloa and develop his public security strategy. Earlier in his term, he restructured police forces into small, elite ‘special forces’ units to better strike against mobile cartels, which El Universal reports have been highly effective. In just over a six month span in 2011, aggravated murders numbered 1,256; yet during the same time frame in 2012, the incident rate fell to 802.


Cabrera, Javier. “Malova pide mejor armamento a la Sedena.” El Universal. July 12, 2012.

“SSP de Sinaloa comprará armas más poderosas.” Azteca Noticias. July 12, 2012.

Tolusa, Arturo. “Entrega Malova nuevo armamento en Sinaloa.” El Universal. July 12, 2012.

Agencias. “Quiere Gobernador armas de delincuentes para sus policías.” Conexión Total. July 14, 2012.

“Sinaloa pide usar armas de los narcos; quiere fusiles antiaéreos.” Vanguardia. July 15, 2012.

1 thought on “Governor of Sinaloa Requests Heavy Arms to Combat Cartels”

  1. ¿En qué mundo cree que vive el gobernador Mario López Valdez? ¿En qué país? Aspirar a que sus policías tengan mejores armas para combatir a las bandas del crimen organizado que las asedian puede ser muy legítimo, pero solicitar que les den permiso para portar AK-47, fusiles Barret (también podrían estar en el mismo stock pistolas “matapolicías” y bazucas) es una locura. Y una desmesura adicional solicitar esto a la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, como si a esta le bastara escuchar las plegarias de un gobernador para dar el “sí”.
    The quote above is from Ismael Bojorquez July 23 column (Altares y Sotanos) in the weekly magazine Rio Doce (
    The column is critical of the plan, but many of the comments to this article are critical of Ismael Bojorquez.

    The call for better arms and weapons by Governor Mario Lopez Valdez (Malova) came after a well-planned and coordinated ambush of State Police in the northern part of the state. Among its casualties were several wounded and the bloody massacre of 6 State Police who were sitting ducks in face of the heavy arsenal in the hands of the killers. This was most likely an attack by the sicarios of the Beltrán Leyvas and/or Los Zetas attempting to regain control of the north.

    Obviously, the police in Sinaloa (and in other states) have been corrupted by narco money and threats, but the fact is that there are also good men and women who are on the front-line who are actually committed to reducing crime and making Sinaloa safe for ordinary people. They ARE poorly armed and are just as much cannon fodder when they run into the narco armies using military level weapons.
    There is an obvious moral dilemma in making a call to better arm the police — but the fact is that the cartels have the power and the police don’t. We on the outside tend to think of all police as evil and corrupt, but this is simply not the case. There are good men and women who join the police because they truly believe that they can do some good. Many of them remain committed to this idea until they are killed or until they retire in frustration or fear.

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