The “New” Terror Strategy of Organized Crime: Car Bombs

Latin America World

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Vanguardia

                         Organized Crime Groups in Mexico have a new modality: car bombs
                                  “In any case, car bombs are considered weapons of war.”

After the “Culiacanazo”, the criminal organizations decided to follow the example for the submission of the authorities by way of fear. According to the column of Raymundo Riva Palacio published by Vanguardia, there is a new type of criminal attack that wants to be nested as a terror strategy: car bombs. He mentions that after the Culiacanazo, the criminal organizations decided to follow the example for the submission of the authorities through fear.
The first to modify and expand its modus operandi has been the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel , which operates in El Bajío and controls fuel theft. He adds that the federal government information services intercepted a call from José Luis Yépez, “El Marro,” the elusive head of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel , where he spoke of planning a new form of defense for the authorities, through offensive actions, where car bombs were an important part of the new strategy. Soon after, a car bomb exploded in Irapuato, the area of ​​influence of that criminal organization.

Last Wednesday, in a residential neighborhood in that city of Guanajuato, a group of armed men left a Honda truck parked with several explosive charges that exploded in the early morning, causing no casualties but damaging at least thirty houses.
The State Attorney General reported that the explosion in the car was because they threw two grenades, and not because it was a car bomb. From the beginning, the Guanajuato authorities have said they were grenades, although the first reports of the National Guard mentioned “car bomb.”
The photographs of the Honda truck where the explosion occurred leave no doubt: they were not grenades. The destruction of just over half of the truck was not a product of that type of projectile. Grenade explosions, if incidents with this type of weapon are checked, do not cause the total destruction of large parts of the vehicle, and only damage it inside. The photographs of the Honda show how the rear of the vehicle, as well as the roof, lost their shape, and the bodywork was reduced to clustered open irons, capriciously bent.
If the photographs of the van in Irapuato are compared with car bombs of the Islamic State, the similarities are seen. Even if the explosive power is different, it can be seen that car bombs completely destroy an important part of the vehicle, leaving the rest with many minor effects. 
Car bombs are used in many parts of the world as suicide vehicles, becoming a very versatile and powerful weapon against specific targets. In Colombia and now in Mexico, they have not served those purposes except to terrorize and send messages to governments and enemies. The activation of pumps inside a vehicle requires expert hands, not only for its assembly but for the type of damage it wants to do. If one checks the images of suicide bomb cars, explosive charges are placed on the sides, to maximize damage to the target. If one sees the Honda in Irapuato, the explosive charge was placed in a way so that the energy was fired from the ceiling, where the force would fade into the air, minimizing the indiscriminate damage that could have caused victims. In any case, car bombs are considered weapons of war.
It has not been reported on the explosive expert reports on the vehicle in Irapuato, which allows more information. However, given the way the Guanajuato Prosecutor’s Office has handled it and the silence of the federal authorities, everything indicates that they want to give it a pass, such as the grenades in Irapuato. They do not want to excite an already nervous society by the powerful resurgence of drug cartels this year, but at the same time, the lack of information will not sensitize society about the severity of the escalation in the quality of the violence of criminal organizations. “Ostrich politics” do not work in these cases, as happened during the first eight months of the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. (I am assuming this means a head in the sand approach)
The use of car bombs in Mexico is not unprecedented, but it has never been a regular method. On January 8, 1994, in support of the EZLN uprising days before, the Procup, (Revolutionary Workers Union Clandestine Union) which two years later was born as an EPR ( Revolutionary Popular Army), exploded a car bomb in the parking lot of Plaza Universidad, whose impact reached stores on the second floor of the mall . In June of that year a Grand Marquis exploded on the outskirts of the Camino Real Hotel in Guadalajara, where a wedding of families related to Rafael Caro Quintero, former head of the Guadalajara Cartel, was held.
In July 2008 in Culiacán, there was an explosion of a car and several vehicles with butane gas cylinders and detonators were found. The then attorney general, Eduardo Medina Mora, denied that they were car bombs. During 2010 and 2011 the years in which the power of the cartels was thought to begin to be reversed and crime rates began to be reduced in May 2011, there were vehicles that exploded in several cities in the north of the country, but were not classified as car bombs.
Never in Mexico has this type of method been used as part of the drug cartels strategy, but the intercepted call to “El Marro” Yépez points out that this effective resource – the cost is low, the chances of detention for those who leave the vehicle in the objective is almost nil, and the impact of terror is great – it has come through the back door of the null strategy against organized crime.


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