Army troops are being deployed in Michoacan to restore order in the western Mexican state, which has been rocked by a wave of drug-related violence, federal officials said.
The operation, which is being mounted by federal security forces under a unified command, will continue until order is restored in the region and state authorities can take over law enforcement duties from federal forces, Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio said.
The government will not make “a pact or a truce with crime,” Osorio said in a press conference Tuesday in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan.
The federal government plans to provide the state government with resources and training for state law enforcement personnel, the government secretary said.
The operation is being coordinated by Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos, Osorio said without revealing the number of army troops and Federal Police officers taking part.
The Caballeros Templarios, La Familia Michoacana and Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartels have been fighting for control of Michoacan.
The gangs have been battling each other, as well as new armed vigilante groups, known as “community police” forces, in different cities.
The Caballeros Templarios gang was founded in March 2011 by former members of La Familia Michoacana and deals in both synthetic drugs and natural drugs.
The cartel has been fighting rival gangs for control of turf and smuggling routes in Guerrero and Michoacan states, both of which are on the Pacific.
Michoacan’s forests and mountains are used by drug traffickers to grow marijuana and produce synthetic drugs.
Los Caballeros Templarios is suspected of carrying out murders, staging kidnappings and running extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies in Michoacan’s 113 municipalities, officials said.
French food giant Danone and Mexican pharmaceutical company Grupo Saba have decided to close their plants in Michoacan due to the high level of crime and move their operations to the less violent states of Queretaro and Jalisco, officials said.
Snack food company Sabritas, a unit of U.S. soft drinks and snack foods giant PepsiCo, was the target of several attacks in Michoacan last year.
The state has also been affected by a wave of protests staged by the CNTE teachers union and normal school students opposed to the educational reforms implemented in February by President Enrique Peña Nieto.