11 Gang Members Arrested for Failed Motorcycle Hit on Famous Mexican TV Anchor

1673544276458 mexico ciro gomez leyva attack arrests

MEXICO CITY — Less than a month after a brazen attempt to assassinate one of Mexico’s most prominent journalists, authorities are claiming they’ve solved the crime.

Mexico City police arrested 11 people on Wednesday allegedly connected to the Dec. 15 attack on Ciro Gómez Leyva, who narrowly escaped death after two hitmen on a motorcycle sprayed bullets on the Imagen Televisión news anchor while he hid inside his armored SUV.

The suspects are members of a local gang involved in “murder, the extortion of businesses, and street-level drug dealing,” said Mexico City police chief Omar García Harfuch during a press conference announcing the arrests. “They are known for their high level of violence.”

The group allegedly operates primarily in rough areas on the east side of Mexico City and in neighboring Mexico State, and were led by a man only identified by his first name, Pedro, and his alias “Pool,” due to Mexican privacy laws. Authorities simultaneously raided 12 different locations during the arrests and discovered 11 weapons, a vehicle used in the attack, two grenades, and over a thousand small doses of drugs.  

Authorities also discovered hats with the initials CJNG—the Spanish acronym for the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel—but García Harfuch said that he was unsure if the members of Pool’s gang actually had any connection to the cartel.

“It is very frequent that criminal gangs in Mexico City use names—the Sinaloa Cartel, Jalisco Cartel—just to suggest a link with them, without meaning they are part [of the cartel],” he said. “We don’t want to speculate and give incorrect information about whether they are or are not. We will wait for the results of the investigation.” 

He said that they were still investigating who was the intellectual author of the crime, and the motive of the attack.

Members of the group allegedly staked out the offices of Imagen Televisión preceding the attack on Dec. 6, 10, 11, 12, and 13, according to authorities. García Harfuch then detailed step-by-step with surveillance footage how on the night of Dec. 15, two cars and a motorcycle stalked Gómez Leyva’s SUV as he left the office. 

As he got near to his house, one of the cars pulled in front of the SUV to force it to slow down. The motorcycle then passed and shot at the car. Gómez Leyva survived the attack unharmed, and announced shortly afterward on Twitter that assassins had tried to murder him, posting photos of bullet holes puncturing his SUV.

On his radio show the next day, Gómez Leyva said that he didn’t have a theory about why the attack took place: “I hadn’t received any threats, I don’t have personal issues with anyone, I don’t have debts. But someone wanted to kill me last night.”

Even though Mexico ranks as one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists, the attack on the high profile news anchor in the nation’s capital shocked the country. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador immediately condemned the attack, but quickly received intense backlash because of the way in which he regularly stoked anger among his base against Gómez Leyva and other prominent journalists who were critical of his administration. Nearly 200 journalists, experts, and writers signed an open letter after the attack asking López Obrador to stop his verbal tirades against the media.

Gómez Leyva took to Twitter after the arrests to thank Mexico City authorities “for following up on my case” but noted that “about the intellectual author, there is nothing yet.”

Vice

Nathaniel Janowitz

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