MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s top security official said Saturday that authorities are investigating a video showing dozens of combat-uniformed gunmen posing with military-grade weapons and armored pickup trucks, some painted with the initials of the Jalisco drug cartel, in what appears to be a show of power.
Many of the trucks in a column of about 20 vehicles parked on a dirt road have improvised gun turrets or plate-steel armor welded onto them. The video was posted on social media sites Thursday.
Several dozen masked men are heard shouting they are “people of Mencho,” a nickname used by Jalisco New Generation Cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera. Almost all of the unformed men wearing bulletproof vests wield assault rifles, and some appear to have belt-fed machine guns or .50 caliber sniper rifles.
Mexico’s top security official wrote Saturday that the video is being analyzed to confirm whether it is authentic and when it was made.
But Alfonso Durazo wrote in his Twitter account that “there is no criminal group that has the capacity to successfully defy federal security forces, and much less with this staged event.”
The cartel based in the central state of Jalisco has spread across Mexico and increasingly has posed direct challenges to the government. Mexico City’s police chief blamed it for an elaborately planned attempt on his life last month — an ambush on the capital’s most famous boulevard.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met Thursday with Jalisco Gov. Enrique Alfaro to discuss the security issues.
“In the face of threats, intimidations, we say to Governor Alfaro that he is not alone, that we are with him in facing the challenge of crime,” López Obrador said.
But the president defended his policy of avoiding confrontation with the cartels. He prefers to address social problems like poverty and unemployment that he says contribute to crime.