Hitmen from hyper-violent cartel ‘track down rival leader and burn him alive’

Hitmen from Mexico’s most powerful cartel tracked down a rival gang leader and burned him alive in a savage killing, it is claimed.

Johnny Hurtado Olascoaga, who went by the pseudonym El Pez, allegedly led La Familia Michoacana in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

Footage was recently shared on social media, purporting to show his death at the hands the of Jalisco New Generation Cartel [CJNG], foreign media reports.

It is believed El Pez was killed in a mountainous region of the state.

He and cartel members fought for control of the tourist municipality of Acapulco in Guerrero, La Opinion reports.

They would leave threatening messages to their rivals often accompanied with human remains.

Last month, armed residents repelled the Familia Michoacana in Guerrero’s Coyuca de Catalan municipality – killing five of its members.

A local told newspaper Reforma the cartel kidnapped two women and killed three other men during clashes in the mountains.

One woman said on a video on social media: “We’re children and women here…[the gang] took control of Hacienda de Dolores, kidnapped women and they’re threatening us that there will be gunshots today, tomorrow, every day.”

La Familia Michoacana’s power pales in comparison to that of the CJNG.

The cartel, led by the elusive Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera Cervantes, a former ally of El Chapo, operates in at least 35 states across Mexico and Puerto Rico.

It too has faced resistance from locals who have armed themselves and formed self-defence groups.

Around September 2019, the CJNG invaded the central state of Michoacan to take on the Cartel del Abuelo in Tepalcatepec.

Surrounding towns and villages became embroiled in the conflict.

Last December, one of the militia groups – known locally as an autodefensa – managed to repel a CJNG attack while travelling in an improvised armoured fighting vehicle (IAFV).

CJNG soldiers opened fire in La Bocanda, one of their strongholds, but the locals managed to stop the cartel from advancing.

Dr Robert J Bunker, Director of Research & Analysis, C/O Futures, LLC, told the Daily Star they use “localised strong point defenses and the cutting of road networks with trenches” to defend their territory from cartels.

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Describing their strategy, he added: “Additionally, the use of some forward bases and offensive mobile forces to take back cartel seized villages.

“Attempts made to bring the press in to broadcast the CJNG deprivations taking place.

“The region has devolved into a Dark Ages-like situation with villagers taking up arms since the Mexican Federal government has failed in its duties to protect its citizens.”

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