Intense Gunbattle Between Mexican Police and Cartel Gunmen
Rincón de Guayabitos, Nayarit
Jalisco cartel lieutenant in custody after Nayarit gunfight
A man believed to be a high-ranking member of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) was arrested Saturday after a gunfight in Nayarit.
Soldiers detained Erick Joel del Toro López, a presumed cartel lieutenant known as “El M3,” after a shootout between gunmen and the army in Rincón de Guayabitos.
According to Nayarit Governor Antonio Echevarría, a criminal group – presumed to be the CJNG – attacked the army and soldiers responded immediately with their own gunfire. No deaths were reported despite the confrontation lasting some 20 minutes but one soldier was reportedly wounded.
A video posted to social media after Saturday’s gunfight shows a handcuffed del Toro in the custody of soldiers. He tells the soldiers his full name and his alias and confesses to being a member of the CJNG. Del Toro also admits that he is a sicario, or hitman, but denies being a jefe de sicarios (chief hitman) or a plaza chief for the CJNG.
A soldier then notifies him of his legal rights and informs him that he will be turned over to the relevant authorities.
Del Toro’s arrest came after military helicopters, members of the National Guard and state and municipal police were deployed to assist the army after it came under attack in Rincón de Guayabitos, a beach town about 60 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The shootout forced the authorities to close Highway 200 for about two hours in the area.
According to media reports, two other presumed CJNG members were also detained after Saturday’s battle. Neither federal nor Nayarit authorities confirmed or denied the reports.
Photos posted to social media also indicate that the army seized numerous weapons, including military-grade guns and grenade launchers as well as ammunition.
The CJNG is involved in the methamphetamine trade in Nayarit and has committed homicides and kidnappings there, according to a report by the news website Infobae.
The Sinaloa Cartel also operates in the Pacific coast state, which borders Sinaloa to the north and Jalisco to the south.
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