Armed men take nine people captive as crime wave in Guerrero continues 

By January 17, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico — Armed men busted into a family party in Buenavista de Cuéllar, Guerrero in eastern Mexico on January 13 and abducted nine men. The violent kidnapping occurred amidst a spate of crime and forced disappearances in the state. 

According to local authorities, the kidnappers broke into the party and violently abducted nine people, forcing them into a van. This is the third mass forced disappearance reported in a month in the region. 

Preliminary reports from the State Attorney General’s Office revealed that the 15 gunmen were wearing military-style attire and are allegedly tied to La Familia Michoacana, a drug cartel that’s vying with other criminal groups for control of the region.

“The federal and state authorities have mounted a search operation that will continue until they are located. The Ministerial Investigation Police continues with the investigations of cabinet and field to be able to establish the hypothesis of what happened and to give with the whereabouts of the now victims.” 

However, the Attorney General’s Office revealed that so far, no formal complaint has been filed for the kidnapping of the nine men. 

This is the third disappearance in the last month happening in Guerrero. 

From December 23 to 28, 14 sanitation and city hall workers in the colonial town of Taxco were violently abducted by armed men. The kidnappings followed a wave of violence in the city, where some businesses shuttered in late December over extortion demands by criminal gangs. The bodies of two teachers, Lucero Torres Iturralde and Jorge Mejia Reyes, were also found after initially being reported missing.   

At the beginning of the year, the Priest and activist Jose Filiberto Velazquez Florencio denounced that Buenavista de los Hurtado, a small community in Guerrero, was under a drone attack, with all 30 people living in the community at risk of being murdered. 

Despite little coverage, Father Filiberto reported on January 6 the outcome of the alleged attack, with nine burned bodies found inside a van, six people injured, and an unknown number of missing persons. 

According to Father Filiberto, the violent massacre and mass disappearance were carried out by La Familia Michoacana. 

Guerrero has been a focal point for international drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico. Its importance has attracted the attention of different criminal groups in dispute for control of the region, with some reports pointing to an internal conflict involving up to 20 criminal groups. 

In 2023, according to federal government figures, there is a 24.4% increase in the number of intentional murders in the state.