Mexico Mourns Police Commander Killed in Cancun

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
September 23, 2019World News
Mexico Mourns Police Commander Killed in Cancun
Jose Antonio Archi Yama in a police photo. (Quintana Roo Police)

A local police commander was killed in the Mexican resort of Cancun over the weekend, and local officials on Monday disputed accusations by a drug cartel that authorities favored a rival gang.

The decapitated body of José Antonio Archi Yama was found on a dirt road in Cancun. The officer, who had been kidnapped days earlier, had served in the nearby resort Playa del Carmen.

An unverified video of Archi Yama posted on social media purportedly shows him confessing that he detained members of the Jalisco cartel to allow another gang to take over.

The governor of Quintana Roo state, Carlos Joaquin, wrote late Sunday that “we will continue combatting crime with full force.” But he acknowledged that prior state administrations had “formed alliances” with criminals.

Joaquin said on Twitter, there were “political favors” and a “collusion of politicians and criminals to form alliances in a perverse game” that allowed cartel members to “destabilize the government to generate animosity and facilitate access to the power of the associated political group.”

Also Monday, local press in the central state of Guanajuato reported that a police commander in the city of Celaya was killed Monday while stopped at a traffic light. Photographs of the scene show a uniformed man slumped over in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck.

The state prosecutor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Murder Rate on the Rise

Murders in Mexico jumped in the first half of the year to the highest on record, according to official data, underscoring the vast challenges socialist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador faces in reducing violence in the cartel-ravaged country.

There were 14,603 murders from January to June, versus the 13,985 homicides registered in the first six months of 2018, according to data posted over the weekend on the website of Mexico’s national public security office.

Mexico is on course to surpass the 29,111 murders of last year—an all-time high.

For years, Mexico has struggled with violence as consecutive governments battled brutal drug cartels, often by taking out their leaders. That has resulted in the fragmentation of gangs and increasingly vicious fighting.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, has blamed the economic policies of previous administrations for exacerbating the violence and said his government was targeting the issue by rooting out corruption and inequality in Mexico.

“Social policies are very important—we agree they’ll have positive effects. But these positive effects will be seen in the long term,” said Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory, a civil group that monitors justice and security in Mexico.

The Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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