Criminals set fire to 9 vehicles, convenience store in Juarez

Border Report

Chihuahua AG says organized crime behind attacks, warns there will be "no deals" with cartels; two suspects in custody

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Juarez police have arrested two suspects in connection to a string of arson cases involving passenger buses, private vehicles and a convenience store on Thursday.

Chihuahua Attorney General Roberto Fierro Duarte attributed the attacks committed in broad daylight to organized criminal groups.

“These acts seek to destabilize the work we are doing,” Fierro said in a news conference. “You can be confident and reassured that the authorities are taking actions to recover the grounds that society has entrusted upon us and that criminals are trying to take away from us.”

Juarez Municipal Police Chief Cesar Omar Muñoz said the suspects torched five public transportation buses, four private vehicles, set fire to an abandoned police storefront and to a convenience store. None of the drivers, passengers, clerks or customers were injured, he said.

A Juarez firefighter examines the wreckage inside a convenience store torched as part of Thursday afternoon’s cartel attacks. (Border Report photo)

The attacks follow a string of multiple murders in various parts of the city as Mexican drug cartels fight for control of drug sales and other illicit activities on street corners, in working-class neighborhoods and businesses such as bars, auto shops and junkyards.

Fierro said criminals might be trying to intimidate local authorities who are arresting an average of eight to nine people on a daily basis tied to criminal activity.

Police officials said they don’t believe the attacks were prompted by a recent announcement that Mexican National Guard troops who left last month would be returning to the city later in January to help local authorities fight organized crime.

Fierro said police would continue to face down the drug cartels despite the attacks. “There are no deals, no agreements, there will be no deals,” he said when asked if police are considering a truce with organized crime.

Muñoz initially declined to identify the two suspects in custody or the criminal organization for whom they allegedly work. Later, police released partial names and photos of Jose Daniel C.O., 21, and Ricardo Santiago, 34.

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