Monday, February 23, 2009

"Attack wounds 5 in Zihuatanejo"

From The News:

Assailants in an SUV hurled two grenades at a police station in the Pacific resort town of Zihuatanejo on Saturday, wounding one officer and four civilians.



Police and soldiers stepped up patrols and set up extra checkpoints after the attack in the popular beach town, according to the Guerrero Public Security Secretariat.



Three taxi drivers, a woman and a policeman were hurt.



The attack came a day after soldiers in Zihuatanejo arrested nine people in an organized crime sting - including the son of the former mayor of nearby Petatlán.



Officials in Zihuatanejo told the Spanish news agency Efe that they were investigating the possibility that Saturday's attack was an act of retribution for the arrests.


Grenade attacks have become a fixture in the nation's brutal cartel-related violence. Last week, five civilians and an officer were wounded in a grenade assault on a police patrol in western Michoacán.



On Wednesday, police reported finding the bound and bullet-ridden bodies of two men in a car in Zihuatanejo.



Zihuatanejo has suffered mounting violence in recent years as the area has become a key smuggling corridor for South American cocaine.



Now for a few details this story doesn't tell:

- You know the track I mentioned last week? The one where we've been going running? It's across the street from the police station and Ibis was there when the grenades exploded. He figures he was about 150 meters away and said he's never heard anything so loud.

We didn't find out until Saturday afternoon that it was a grenade attack; until that point a lot of people in town assumed it was a gas tank that exploded (something that's frighteningly common here).

- Among the nine people arrested on Friday was the son of the former mayor of Petatlan. I've mentioned Petatlan here before - it's the town that has had the ongoing violence between two drug families and the place we've stopped visiting because it's so dangerous.

Well some media outlets were reporting that the former mayor was among those arrested, so Saturday afternoon he held a press conference in Zihua to tell everyone that he's not involved with drugs. He went on to say that the business next door to his house is the one who's dealing drugs, and he questioned why the police didn't search that building.

Four hours later he was gunned down in the street. "Riddled with bullets" is how the newspaper described it.

Last night I found out that the former mayor was also Ibis' boss's godfather.

- Finally, the "western Michoacan" town that's mentioned in the article is Lazaro Cardenas, where my in-laws live and where we lived our first several months in Mexico.



This is all a little too close for comfort.

32 comments:

Pink Ink said...

How scary, Melanie. I'm glad your family is safe.

Turkey Lurkey said...

Yuck! Gotta love the drug trade.

Glad no one was killed by the grenades and you, Ibis, and your dad are safe.

Sara Spock said...

Ugh! We gotta get you home! What's your dad's take?

Stay safe.

Janna Qualman said...

So did the former mayor survive?

My hubby and I discussed this ordeal yesterday, and he rattled off all the statistics about the drug-related violence down there. It's horrifying!

I agree with Sara. We gotta get you home.

Penguin said...

Mel, keep yourself safe.

You know I will make sure there is nobody left alive down there if someone hurts my Leprechaun.

That would make an interesting headline.
"Michigan group invades resort town of Zihuatanejo."

auria cortes said...

This is ridiculous! What is taking immigration so long to welcome Ibis back into the US???

Melanie Avila said...

Pink, it's got me pretty freaked out.

Turkey, me too.

Melanie Avila said...

Sara, my dad doesn't seem to have much of an opinion. He heard the blast from his apartment, but his friend's don't seem too concerned so he's following their lead.

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, no. He died in the street. And yes, the statistics are unreal. I'm not sure how many people were killed in Zihua last year, but there's a dead body on the front page pretty much every day.

The back side of our local paper had a color photo of someone who'd been shot in the face point blank. They were trying to identify him (they since have) and so posted his picture.

Melanie Avila said...

Penguin, THAT'S a headline I'd like to see. :)

And I still have that leprechaun costume someplace...

Melanie Avila said...

Auria, your guess is as good as mine...

Travis Erwin said...

Stay safe. This post makes me worry for you.

Nadine said...

Melanie, this is so frightening!! I hope you get out of there soon!

*hugs*

Melanie Avila said...

Travis, me too, a little.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, it gets tiring after awhile. Your body can only handle so much stress, you know?

Kim Perisho said...

Do you know the address for the police station? We just left Zihua on Friday and I was wondering where it was in relation to where we were. We spent most of our time on 5 De Mayo, the Paseo and around Coconuts. Do you know the street address or nearest cross streets to the police station where the grenade exploded? I hope none of our taxi drivers were involved.

Melanie Avila said...

Kim - do you know where the soccer fields are when you're leaving Zihua and headed towards Ixtapa? The police station is on the street that curves around the fields. I don't know the actual street name.

Compared to Coconuts, etc, it's about a mile from there. I actually live one street in from 5 de Mayo, just across Morelos in a residential neighborhood.

Robin said...

I hate all of this! I agree with the "Get Melanie Home" idea. What about an internet campaign? Quadruple drat it all!

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, several people have mentioned an online petition, but I wouldn't even know where to begin with that. Or if it'd do any good...

debra said...

Scary stuff. So glad you're safe.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I guess there are scarier places than Detroit.

Clare2e said...

Yikes! Take Care. We're pulling for you and everyone there to be safe.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks ladies (and welcome!). I might have more to update tomorrow, depends on what I can find online.

Melanie Avila said...

Oh, and Detroit is still scary!

Barrie said...

Scary. Scary. Scary. Stay safe.

Sepiru Chris said...

Interesting stories behind the AP story. Thanks.

spyscribbler said...

Yes! Get Melanie and Ibis home! Amen to that!

Wow.

Gary said...

Hi there, thanks for the insight into what's going on there...We're booked to come there on the 15th of March for a wedding along with about 20-30 other Canadians...Is it safe to come???

Melanie Avila said...

Hi Gary,

Things have been quiet in Zihua this week. I'd say it's still safe for tourists to come, you just need to use common sense.

There's an active message board at zihuatanejo.net that has a lot more information about the violence, as well as the opinions of a lot of expats and people who spend a lot of time down here.

I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Super Churchlady said...

Hi. Just read your blog and now I'm rethinking bringing our family vacation for Spring Break in 2 weeks. The owner of the condo has downplayed the violence, but...who wants to be looking over their shoulder when you're paying good money to vacation? Will you update your blog if you hear of anything else? I think they are keeping a tight lid on all this info. for obvious reasons.

Melanie Avila said...

Hi Superchurchlady! I'll keep posting things here. Feel free to email me too, if you want to ask me more questions. My email is in my profile.

Gary said...

I just got back from a week in Zihua where we had an amazing time with out incident...everyone we met there was great and we felt safe the entire trip from the time we got off the plane till the we got back on...we stayed a few nights at Casa Celeste right in Zihua and then 5 nights at Kasa KauKaun. We went golfing, surfing, deep sea fishing saw dozens of dolphins and two whales that all swam with our boat and we also went parasailing. 9 of us parasailed without incident (i'd heard stories about the boats there stalling often and dropping people into the water) We had 3 rental vehicles for our group of 20 from Canada and never had an issue except when my brother almost rear ended a truck full of federali's (that was a little scary but he didn't hit them and they just kept on their way). I would not have any problem going back there again.