Taxco, Guerrero once the “Silver Capital”, now shuttered by gang killings and threats


The bullet-ridden bodies of two detectives were found on the outskirts of Taxco, a colonial town in central Mexico that draws throngs of tourists to its silver workshops, authorities said on Wednesday, January 24.

Prosecutors in the violence-plagued state of Guerrero said the two detectives worked for the state prosecutor’s office and had been reported missing the day before. Local media said their bodies showed signs of torture.

The grisly discovery came as Taxco endured a days-long strike by private taxi and van drivers who suffered threats from one of several drug gangs fighting for control of the area.

The lack of transportation got so bad that on Tuesday the city government had to offer people rides in the back of police pickup trucks, about the only vehicles that dared to travel.

Taxi and van drivers refused to work since the weekend when one driver was shot to death in Taxco.

A hand-lettered sign appeared recently signed by the “Guerrero Federation” — a name used by the Tlacos drug gang — accused some taxi drivers of working as look-outs for the hyper-violent Familia Michoacana cartel. The sign threatened to “eliminate” those drivers “one by one.”

Transportation workers are frequently shaken down for protection payments by drug gangs throughout Guerrero state, including in the resort of Acapulco. Some drivers are also sometimes forced to work for the gangs under threat.

Taxco has been known for its silver jewelry workshops since the 1930s when American adventurer William Spratling took up residence there. But in recent years, the “Silver City” has lost much of its luster amid gang violence that seems to spare no one.

In November, three journalists were abducted and held for days in Taxco. They were later released and did not comment publicly on the possible motive for their abduction.

In 2018, a Red Cross paramedic and three policemen were killed when a band of 20 gunmen opened fire on an aid distribution meeting in Taxco. In February of that year, two priests were shot to death in a road ambush near Taxco.

The entire state of Guerrero has been gripped by violence for years.

In October, gunmen ambushed a police convoy in the Guerrero township of Coyuca de Benítez, on the Pacific coast, killing 13 officers.

Guerrero is not the only state where drivers have been targeted by gangs.

The Mexican-American Federation of Truck Drivers, along with several other industry groups, has scheduled a demonstration by truckers on a busy highway outside Mexico City on Feb. 5 to protest a wave of killings of truck drivers during highway robberies.

Thieves have long hijacked trucks on highways in central Mexico but generally abandoned the drivers and their trucks after stealing the merchandise they were carrying. But now, industry groups say, the gangs often kill drivers and take the trucks to lots where they are stripped and sold for parts.

Source: AP

The Guerrero Post