“HEARST” and “Huaso” for Borderland Beat 

At least two cartel road blockades have appeared in the municipalities of Autlán de Navarro and El Grullo, in the state of Jalisco.

The Roadblocks

It is currently unclear why the two roadblocks have been erected although the news publication El Occidental is currently reporting that there are Army and Navy personnel currently in the area.  

One of these roadblocks was created by commandeering a school bus. The bus was then set on fire at El Corcovado bridge, on Highway 80 in Autlan de Navarro.

A truck was also commandeered and burned on the bridge at a later point.

The other was created by burning a large cargo truck at the intersection of Puerta de Barro and Las Pilas in El Grullo municipality. The El Grullo police department released a statement confirming the location of the two roadblocks.

The Context of the Region 

The municipality of El Grullo has a long history with CJNG. In 2012, the El Grullo police chief, Sergio Hernandez Gonzalez was alleged to be a leader of CJNG, according to El Universal. He was later implicated in the death of a nearby mayor in 2014 and disappeared. 

In 2015, CJNG members used an RPG to shoot down a military helicopter, killing five soldiers who were conducting an operation against the CJNG in the nearby town of Villa Purificación, reported InSight Crime.

During this incident, the CJNG also erected at least 40 narco blockades in the region as they attempted to thwart the government operation, according to BBC Mundo.

In 2020, Mexican press reported that El Mencho, who suffers from kidney issues, was building a hospital for himself in the municipality of Villa Purificación, Jalisco, as reported by Borderland Beat. 

All accounts show that this region in Southern Jalisco is deeply controlled by the CJNG, and suggest that it is considered crucial to CJNG leadership.

Information Trickling In

Newspaper Mural reports that the road blockades were created at the break of dawn this morning, on Saturday, January 28, 2022. 

Zeta Tijuana writes that the blockades were first reported to the emergency phone line at around 6:00 am. 

The state’s head of Public Security, Letra Fría, also confirmed the location of the road blockades and announced that state police (in conjunction with other agencies) were working to clear the roadways.

Weekly magazine Zeta Tijuana wrote that “Although the reason for the blockades is still unknown, unofficial versions of the story allege there was an arrest of an important member of organized crime, without any authority confirming this action.”

The twitter account Notiface alleges there was “a shootout between criminals and the National Guard that ended in blockades with trucks and buses burning.”

Milenio newspaper writes that “state authorities reported that National Guard personnel who patrol the municipality of Atengo were attacked by a group of cartel hitmen who were driving a white pick-up truck, who then fled the area and could not be found.”

Context Sources: InSight Crime, Borderland Beat Archives, El Universal 2014, BBC Mundo

Other Sources: El Occidental, Héctor Escamilla, La Nota de Guadalajara Part 1, Part 2, Jesus Soltero, Mural, Zeta Tijuana, Head of Security Statement