MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican officials said on Wednesday they were investigating a banner in Mexico City announcing a powerful drug cartel’s arrival in the capital, long regarded as a safe haven from drug violence.
The large banner bearing the name Jalisco New Generation Cartel was spotted by local media on Tuesday hanging from an overpass in one of the city’s principal thoroughfares. The United States regards the cartel as one of Mexico’s most powerful drug gangs.
Several senators urged Mexico City officials to take action after the appearance of the banner, underscoring concern about rising crime in the capital.
National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said at a press conference on Wednesday that there have been no indications that the cartel was operating in Mexico City and he did not believe the banner was from the cartel. He acknowledged the presence of one organized crime group in the city.
For years, authorities in Mexico City have denied the presence of drug cartels in the capital.
Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory (ONC), a civil group that monitors justice and security in Mexico, said in an interview on Wednesday, “We have insisted that it is hard to believe that groups of organized crime are not operating in Mexico City when the airport is one of the principal points of entry for drugs into the country.”
(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Additional reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Julia Love)