Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval is lauding an operation in Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit coordinated between the Mexican Navy and the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) that netted 18 arrests, as well as a large haul of weapons, ammunition and illegal narcotics.
One of the main aims of the operation was to locate the perpetrators of the murders of two federal investigative police officers, Octavio Martínez Quiroz y Alfonso Hernández Villavicencia. The men disappeared on February 5 and their bodies were found 13 days later in Nayarit. A video posted after their abduction on YouTube showed the two officers kneeling in an unknown location, with masked, armed members of a criminal gang standing behind them.
Among those arrested in Sunday’s operation were two Puerto Vallarta police officials, identified only as Ubaldo “N” and Carlos Rogelio “N”. Both are believed to have provided protection to criminals operating in the region. One occupies a senior position in the Vallarta police force.
Talking to Jalisco mayors later in the week, Sandoval said the operation was a demonstration of his and the federal government’s determination to tackle the crime problem. He said there was “no other option” than taking firm action in municipalities where criminal activity had overtaken local resources and corrupted police ranks.
The governor had been criticized for disbanding the municipal police force in Tlaquepaque after it was determined that criminal elements had infiltrated its ranks. Some opposition politicians saw the move as a pre-election maneuver to curry favor with an electorate weary of the escalating levels of crime and violence in the state.
A frequent critic of the governor’s public security policy, Salvador Caro Cabrera, a former Guadalajara police chief who is now the coordinator of the Citizens’ Movement (CM) party, praised the successful operation in Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit, noting that – unlike Tlaquepaque – it had been carried out with full regard for the law, after a proper investigation of the corrupt police officers involved. The personnel involved in Sunday’s operation at the coast had obtained warrants to search ten homes in the area.
Caro said disbanding the Puerto Vallarta municipal police force might now be a good idea.