CHIAPAS, MX.- At least five groups popularly known as motor scooters or motorcycle gang members, allegedly linked to drug dealing, have sowed terror and anxiety among the inhabitants of San Cristóbal de las Casas, published La Jornada.
These criminal gangs are hired as shock groups by municipal authorities, organizations, and individuals to generate conflicts, pressure the government to release a detainee, or provide impunity to those who are involved in traffic accidents, according to testimonies from the victims.
Members of one of these groups, not identified by name by the competent authorities, are attributed the material responsibility for the murder of the Indigenous Justice prosecutor, Gregorio Pérez Gómez, perpetrated on August 10.
They spread terror
“Scooters are the ‘evolution’ of unemployed young people who opt for organized crime and not only engage in robbery but have been used, everything seems to indicate, by the political class in general as shock groups,” said a researcher, who requested anonymity.
“They are ‘sold to the highest bidder and are not detached from pornography or ethnopornography as it is now called; of the narcoculture. They were called scooters because at first they were transported on scooters and motorcycles; they are young people who drink or take drugs at night and go out to do excesses ”, he explained.
“They operate with radios; they use pistols, rifles, and submachine guns. Not every day do they go out to exert violence but at certain times or junctures. They have not caused an uncontrolled situation, but they have sowed psychological terror. Who is behind it is unknown, but there are very strong networks of complicity ”, he explained.
No authority has official information about its origin or structure, but, according to local police sources, there are at least five groups identified as Los Torres, Los Vans, ZN, Elite, and Los Patos; the latter travel in taxis, but act like gangs.
They are settled mainly in colonies in the north of the city, where many indigenous people live, including former mayors of neighboring municipalities, expelled from Chamula between 1970 and 1990, for allegedly religious reasons. The children of several of them are the ones that now make up those groups.
They began to become more visible during the administration of the municipal president Marco Antonio Cancino González (2015-2018), of the PVEM.
A resident who asked for his name to be protected commented on his experience: “a year ago they hit my car and the culprit did not want to pay the damages, claiming that he was not responsible; During a break in the discussion, he made a phone call and minutes later about 15 young people on motorcycles arrived to threaten me that if I didn’t pay, they would hit the unit. The only thing left for me was to pay 3,000 pesos for the blow from which I was affected ”.
Police sources revealed that “with the growth of the organizations, several years ago some leaders began to take the motorcycle as a means of transport to transport shock groups, in order to block roads, protest in dependencies or exert pressure on any authority.
“One of those who started leading scooters is known as El Chicano. The first group that was violent stoned a taxi driver some years ago in the Primero de Enero neighborhood, “in the northern zone,” and little by little they grew in the type of violence used; They went from being stoned and beaten to carrying firearms and drug dealing; now they are gangs that are rented out as hitmen ”.
The informants pointed out that “all these groups live off crime, may be related to assault, the sale of narcotics and charge other criminals to defend, for example, the clandestine sale of fuel, or if a public transport vehicle irregular crashes, a shock group arrives to defend him ”.
One of the displays of his power occurred on the afternoon of September 28, when they fired firearms into the air, during the funeral procession of one of his companions killed by members of a rival gang. For more than half an hour, on the way from the La Hormiga neighborhood, where the deceased lived, to the municipal cemetery, they made detonations, without caring that passersby saw them.
The gang members stopped firing their pistols before the cemetery, due to the presence of the municipal police, but there were no arrests.
Two days earlier, on the night of September 26, when his partner was killed in a fight over the Periférico Norte, the gang members fired into the air while placing a cross on the site of the death, in front of the bar where he was shot.
According to official information, on October 10, elements of the municipal and state police “repelled an armed attack in the vicinity of the northern market,” in which members of the gangs participated. The lawsuit was originated by the dispute between tenants for the sale of products.
In the attack, a municipal agent was injured by a bullet, who was transferred to a hospital aboard one of the patrols.
The uniformed officers detained a man named Raúl N, 24, whom his companions tried to get out of a police vehicle by force, without success, for which he was placed at the disposal of an agent of the Public Ministry of the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office, for the crime of damages.
They also confiscated four cars and a motorcycle, which were vandalized and claimed to be burned by one of the groups participating in the fight, for which they had to be towed to the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigator stated that gang members move with some freedom in the northern zone, and when agents of the National, State and Municipal Guard carry out preventive tours, they lower their profile because “the criminals are warned of the patrols and go only on specific objectives.” .
Black markets proliferate
He stressed that in many of the neighborhoods where they mainly operate, flea markets for the sale of used vehicles and tires have proliferated. “In the northern market they distribute drugs,” he said.
Public security personnel –who declared unofficially– considered that “intelligence work is required to dismantle these gangs, and impunity ends, because it is what causes the most uncertainty to the population: knowing that whoever denounces is going to leave for the ‘revolving door’ of corruption and seek revenge ”.
Just on October 15, a man identified as Juan N, alias El Fallo, an alleged leader of one of these groups, was arrested in the Bosques del Pedregal subdivision, also in the northern region. In the operation, when the criminal tried to flee together with a companion in a vehicle, he fired a firearm at the agents, without causing any injuries.