Among these, sections from San Cristóbal de la Barranca to Zacatecas, La Barca, Tizapán, Tuxcueca, Teocaltiche and Yahualica stand out.
“Josué” had his truck stolen at an illegal checkpoint when he was driving from La Barca to Michoacán. Armed men with cartel insignia blocked his path with two vehicles.
“Eight got out with AK-47 known as cuerno de chivos and handguns… they asked me for a circulation card, license and INE. They put me in the back. We saw two police vans and I thought the shooting would break out, but no, they just let us through. They stopped a truck on the highway and took me off at the La Barca power plant. I did not file a complaint because they had my data.”
On June 13, the Government of the United States (EU) issued a Travel Alert for its inhabitants who intend to visit Mexico, positioning Jalisco as an Entity to which they should “reconsider traveling” due to “violent crimes between groups of the organized crime, shootings that have claimed the lives of innocents and where US citizens have been victims of kidnapping.
The call mentions the border between Jalisco and Michoacán, Federal Highway 80 (in the Cocula area ) and highway 544 (between Mascota and San Sebastián) as risk points.
However, through social networks, users denounced another 14 “unsafe” road sections.
“Tomás” said that he was going with his family on Highway 604 (El Refugio-Ahualulco) when before reaching Nayarit a convoy surrounded him. “Armed and pointing guns at us, they approached us to ask us to identify ourselves. One recognized us and shouted that we were acquaintances. They got in their cars and left.
“Julián” is a motorcyclist. He shared that he was traveling to Yahualica on Highway 201 (which continues to Zacatecas) and on a bridge two trucks blocked his way. “Armed men asked me where he was going. Then they told me: ‘We suggest you go back, for his safety”.
Last Tuesday, the governor of Jalisco assured that in the state “there are no illegal checkpoints” and rejected the statements of Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega, who denounced this practice in the Totatiche and Villa Guerrero area.
For organized crime, they ask to avoid highways
Two years ago, Luis, who lives in Guadalajara, visited Maruata, one of the beaches located in the State of Michoacán. He says that he went accompanied by his family when a checkpoint stopped him.
“I had never seen them and yes we were scared, we thought they were policemen, but they were not dressed in uniforms. We did get very scared but thank God nothing happened to us, they just asked us where we were going. We would not return because we no longer know if the insecurity has worsened.” Sometime later he discovered that they were unofficial checkpoints.
According to the United States Department of the Treasury, it is not recommended that American citizens visit the roads that adjoin that Entity.
In addition, this month, he issued a security alert for his fellow citizens to avoid some roads. In the case of Jalisco, he requested not to travel through two other routes due to “crime and kidnapping.”
Foreign authorities stressed that there was danger caused by organized groups. “Incidents of shootings between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders.
American citizens have been victims of kidnapping.”
According to the State Department, the other highways to avoid are Highway 80 and Highway 544 (Free road to Puerto Vallarta).
It was last Tuesday when the Governor of Jalisco assured, after a public denunciation made by the Cardinal of Guadalajara, Francisco Robles Ortega, after being detained in the area of Totatiche and Villa Guerrero, that in our State “there are no illegal checkpoints”, and that here the authorities guarantee the free movement of people. “There is no presence of any checkpoint on any highway in Jalisco, that is clear and forceful,” said the governor.
For the security researcher at the University of Guadalajara, Arturo Villarreal Palos, the Governor’s statement was “unfortunate” and lacked empathy not only with the Cardinal’s complaint, but also with the testimonial victims who report that the checkpoints they do exist, and those who do not report for fear of revenge by organized crime that takes their data.
For the specialist, although it is not the sole subject of action by the State, but especially by the Federation, it is necessary for the Governor to recognize it and promote policies together with the Federation to eradicate these practices of organized crime.
Finally, he explained that the illegal checkpoints are undertaken by criminal groups, firstly, to show their territorial control, and secondly to avoid “infiltrators” in the sites they govern, for which they maintain control of information about who enters or leaves them.