Wednesday, October 20

Joel Ernesto Soto: Sinaloa State Police Director Killed in Highway Shooting | Mexican elections 2021

The director of the Sinaloa state police, Joel Ernesto Soto, in December 2019 in Culiacán.
The director of the Sinaloa state police, Joel Ernesto Soto, in December 2019 in Culiacán.SINALOA PUBLIC SAFETY

The director of the Sinaloa state police, Joel Ernesto Soto, was killed this Monday on the highway that connects Los Mochis with Culiacán, near Guamúchil. The Secretary of Public Security of the State, Cristóbal Castañeda, reported the events through his Twitter account this morning. “In a cowardly aggression, this morning, unfortunately, the director of the State Police, Joel Ernesto Soto, lost his life,” he reported. Soto had managed to escape unscathed from a shooting led by civilians on a highway 300 kilometers from Guamúchil three weeks ago. Fifteen days after the most important elections in the history of Mexico, the death of the police director intensifies the violence that the country is experiencing in a heated electoral environment.

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The Sinaloa Public Security Secretariat has sent its condolences to Soto’s relatives through social networks. “Our condolences to the family and society of Sinaloa who have lost a great man,” Castañeda wrote. The director of the police led operations to control organized crime in one of the states hardest hit by drug violence. In his last outing, the bullets hit the truck in which he was traveling on the road and that was stranded in a ditch, according to local television images.

On May 6, Castañeda himself had to report that Soto had escaped unharmed from an attack with firearms by civilians on members of the police in Mazatlán. As part of the strategy to reinforce security, the Ministry of Public Security had redoubled surveillance with flights and land tours in the main cities of the State. As a result, marijuana growing fields had been seized and burned, cremated vehicles with skeletal remains inside and bodies shot. The trail of violence left by drug trafficking in Joaquín’s homeland El Chapo Guzmán and whose name resounds in the echo of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Soto, who had been secretary of Municipal Public Security in Mazatlán, had only been director for three years and was a target of organized crime. His death adds to the tragedy of the massacre of 13 policemen in the State of Mexico just over two months ago. Also on duty, on a rural highway they were ambushed and massacred in one of the greatest challenges of the Mexican drug trafficker to the country’s civilian security forces.

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