At least 16 people were killed in two attacks between alleged rival factions of the Sinaloa Cartel which occurred in Sinaloa state on Wednesday, June 24. According to media sources, local security forces discovered the bodies of seven men believed to be Los Chapitos cartel gunmen following a shootout between them and another faction of the cartel in Tepuche, near the state's capital Culiacán. A separate incident occurred in the nearby town of Bagrecitos on Wednesday. Armed men reportedly opened fire on homes and vehicles in the small town; seven local residents and two unidentified people were killed in the shooting. Security forces discovered weapons at the scenes of both incidents.
Heightened security measures are expected in Sinaloa state over the near term.
Mexico continues to suffer from high violent crime rates. Much of the violence is driven by narco-trafficking. Fierce turf wars between competing and increasingly fragmented cartels are on the rise in much of the country and violence in parts of Mexico is spiraling out of control as cartels adopt increasingly militarized tactics. Business owners and government figures are also targeted, and bystanders can be caught up in the crossfire.
Clashes between narco-gangs and government forces are at the highest levels since former President Felipe Calderon's war against narco-trafficking (2008 to 2011). The capture and extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, has led rival groups to attempt to take advantage of the power vacuum and establish stronger criminal networks, leading to murder rates not seen in Sinaloa since 2011.
Individuals present in Mexico are advised to remain vigilant, refrain from sharing personal information with unknown persons, not post information regarding your location and activities on social media platforms, and vary daily routines to limit the risk of being targeted by potential kidnappers. Keep in mind that criminals are often armed; in the event of a mugging or kidnapping, remain calm, do not offer any resistance, and obey all demands issued by your assailant(s).
Due to extreme levels of violence linked to the presence of various armed groups, some Western governments advise against travel to various parts of the country, notably the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, as well as the northeastern border with the US.
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