GUADAJARA, MEXICO, AFP — Suspected drug cartel members went on the rampage in Mexico, setting fire to vehicles after a military operation targeted an apparent meeting of gang bosses, authorities said Wednesday.
One alleged criminal was killed and several arrested after the chaos on Tuesday night in Jalisco and Guanajuato, two of Mexico’s most violent states, according to officials.
“Apparently there was a meeting, a meeting of two gangs,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters.
Troops arrived, resulting in clashes and the arrest of cartel figures at the meeting, he said, without naming them.
Burnt out vehicles were left blocking highways in Jalisco — a tactic used by criminal groups to try to prevent the capture of their members and arrival of security reinforcements.
Surveillance camera footage showed gunmen forcing a driver out of his car before setting it on fire near the city of Guadalajara, a stronghold of the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
The incidents prompted the US consulate in Guadalajara to issue a security alert warning US citizens in the area to seek shelter.
It is not the first time drug cartel members have sown chaos in retaliation for military operations against them.
In 2019, cartel members angered by the arrest of notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s son launched a massive assault in the northwestern city of Culiacan, prompting security forces to release him.
In March, gunmen clashed with security forces in the northeastern city of Nuevo Laredo after the capture of an alleged drug lord, who was quickly handed over to the United States.