Translated by Jesús Ronquillo / Circuito Frontera
Minutes before 7 a.m. on January 1, 2023, Ciudad Juarez was rocked by a devastating riot inside the Social READAPTATION Center (CERESO) 3, which marked the beginning of a series of violent events that transformed the life of the community, at least for a few days.
That morning an armed group broke into the prison, unleashing a confrontation that resulted in the death of 10 guards and 7 inmates, as well as 15 other people injured.
This incident triggered a series of security operations inside and outside the prison. In the prison, VIP rooms and a safe were discovered, as well as an arsenal that included grenade launchers, long and short weapons, bulletproof vests, and vehicles.
During the first hours, authorities reported that at least 14 people died inside the prison after the attacks, among them 10 security officers and prison guards, as well as four persons deprived of their liberty (ppl).
Also injured were 13 people and at least 24 escaped from the prison, who took advantage of what happened to carry out actions against antagonistic groups, informed the State Attorney General’s Office in a press release.
On January 2, violence spread to the streets of the city, resulting in the death of two officers of the State Investigation Agency and five armed men.
The director of the prison was dismissed and 191 inmates were transferred to other prisons in different parts of the Mexican Republic, and elements of the Mexican Army arrived at this border to reinforce security.
The following days were marked by recapture operations, confrontations and attacks by criminal groups in different parts of the city, as several of the inmates managed to escape and were on the run.
The “public enemy number one” that month was Ernesto Alfredo Piñon de la Cruz, alias “El Neto,” who was the leader of the criminal group “Los Mexicles” and who apparently gave the order to carry out the “hit” inside the penitentiary.
Authorities also reported that “El Neto” was linked to the events of August 11, 2022, a date remembered as “Black Thursday”, when 10 people lost their lives during the various attacks that took place on this border.
A year later, the city experienced a different fate. Security was reinforced days before the end of 2023, in order to avoid a similar situation.
Currently, the CERESO is in charge of the State and no relevant event occurred, however, the loss of that tragic January 1, 2023, Ciudad Juarez still remembers it.
This incident was not only an event of violence, but a catalyst that exposed the vulnerabilities of the prison system and security in the city.
Here is the chronology of events:
- On Sunday, January 1 of this 2023, minutes before 7 a.m., an armed group entered the facilities of Cereso 3, located on Barranco Azul Street, in two vans.
- During a confrontation inside the prison, 10 guards and 7 inmates lost their lives, and 15 other people were injured: 14 inmates and one officer.
- An operation was launched inside the prison where 10 VIP rooms and a safe were found, 1,702,174 pesos, a 40 caliber grenade launcher, 10 long weapons inside the prison, 17 weapons outside, 5 short weapons inside the prison, 4 weapons outside, 82 cartridges, 8 vests, 4 vehicles and 84 cell phones were seized.
- Monday, January 2nd in the city, two officers from the State Investigation Agency died during an attack on Jupiter and Valle del Sol streets, in the Canto Murano subdivision, where officers from other police forces were joined by 5 armed men wearing tactical equipment.
- In this place, elements of the State Police located several subjects inside a Ford Fusion, in a cherry-colored Ford Fusion.
- A joint operation was deployed in different parts of the city to prevent the escaped prisoners from leaving the border, so the bus station, the airport and the international bridges were guarded.
- On Tuesday, January 3, Alejandro Alvarado Tellez was removed from his position as director of the Social Reinsertion Center (CERESO) 3 in Ciudad Juarez, according to the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Chihuahua.
- During the early hours of Tuesday morning, a group of 191 people who were being held at the Social Reinsertion Center (CERESO) number 3, were transferred by plane to five CEFERESOS in different parts of the Mexican Republic.
- At least 300 elements of the Mexican Army arrived in Ciudad Juarez during the afternoon, to join the “Operation Juarez 2023”, announced the Command of the Fifth Military Zone, explained that it is a project within the framework of the “National Peace and Security Plan 2018-2024”.
- It is reported that one of the fugitive inmates tried to cross to El Paso, Texas.
- Wednesday, January 4 The Security Cabinet meets to coordinate joint actions between the police forces of the Municipal and State Public Security Secretariats, the State Investigation Agency, the National Guard, the Citizen Public Security Secretariat and the Mexican Army.
- Honors are paid to the 12 agents who died during the events at the Cereso and the confrontation on Jupiter and Valle del Sol streets.
- Thursday, January 5th The State Attorney General, Roberto Fierro Duarte, announces that, during the early morning hours, between 12:30 and 12:40 agents go to a house where Ernesto Alfredo Piñón de la Cruz, alias “El Neto”, was supposedly staying.
- At the intersection of Toltecas and Tzetzales streets in the Aztecas neighborhood, two pickup trucks were located, one of which “El Neto” was traveling in, but it crashed into a gas station and began a confrontation with agents in which he was wounded.
- Several armed men fled in another pickup truck.
- “El Neto” died later when he was being transferred to the facilities of the Northern District Attorney’s Office.
- An operation continues in different parts of the city, where another prisoner who escaped from Cereso 3 last Sunday, identified as Isaac Jesús Rojas Ruíz, was recaptured at 12:00 noon on Cosmopolita and Tungsteno streets, in the Luis Olague neighborhood, in possession of a portion of crystal meth and a .40 caliber pistol.
- A woman identified as Laila Guadalupe D. H., 19 years old, was also arrested at this location. Both were taken to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
- The events concluded at 1:38 in the morning.
- Attacks by criminal groups are registered in different parts of the city, between 5 and 7 a.m., one of them against a convenience store, where they even crashed a car and set fire to the establishment.
- Helicopters can be heard flying over the city, as the operation continues, with the participation of agents from all police forces.