Under fire Jalisco Attorney General Luis Carlos Najera hit back at his critics and called for unity during a congressional hearing last week, denying that he had any prior knowledge of the federal police operation that sparked statewide “narco-blockades” and disturbances on May 1.
“The enemy is not us, the enemies are the criminals,” Najera told members of the Public Security Committee of the Jalisco Congress Friday, May 15.
“You can organize a polygraph test if you want proof that we didn’t know about this operation,” Najera said.
National Action Party (PAN) legislator Gildardo Guerrero voiced his concerns to Najera about the perceived lack of coordination between the federal and state governments.
The attorney general defended state authorities, pointing out that the federal government is solely responsible for operations against drug traffickers. “They decide if they want to share intelligence,” he said.
Najera rejected the allegation that an email sent by federal authorities telling state officials not to leave the city on May 1 constituted a warning about the helicopter flyby that sparked the violent outbreaks in 25 Jalisco municipalities.
According to the Attorney General, one of the Army helicopters detected a convoy of vehicles “suspected to be carrying the leader” of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. After realizing they were being followed, the criminals fired on the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher. The cartel then immediately launched a region-wide call-to-arms that saw 39 road blockades and almost a dozen incidents of arson.
Guerrero also criticized Governor Aristoteles Sandoval for characterizing the blockades as the work of drugged-up vandals. He produced a photograph of a grenade launcher similar to the one used to bring down the helicopter and asked whether it looked like a tool typically used by a petty thug.
Najera stood his ground, telling lawmakers that division only helps the criminals. “It is time to unite,” he stressed.