Mexico City’s Police Chief, Omar Garcia Harfuch, was injured on Friday in an attack attributed to one of the country’s most powerful drug cartels, while four other people were killed.
The 38-year-old, who was appointed in October to handle security in the city of nine million people, was attacked at 6.30 a.m. (1130 GMT) in Lomas de Chapultepec, a high-income residential area, authorities said.
People inside a van fired with high-calibre weapons at a vehicle carrying Garcia Harfuch, according to Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.
Police then pursued and exchanged fire with the attackers.
Two of the Police Chief’s bodyguards, one of the attackers and a female passer-by were killed, Security Minister, Alfonso Durazo said at a press conference.
Garcia Harfuch attributed the attack to the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.
“Our nation needs to continue confronting the cowardly organised crime,’’ he tweeted.
Durazo said the police chief had been wounded in the shoulder, the collarbone and the knee.
He was taken to an operating theatre for surgery, according to security officials.
The minister said that 13 people were arrested.
There had already been an “eventual threat” against some security officials a week ago and their security had been stepped up, according to Durazo.
The minister said the authorities were investigating the possibility that the attack was carried out by Jalisco New Generation.
The intelligence service knew that the cartel, which has come under growing pressure from President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government, was planning to target senior government officials, daily El Universal reported.
“We assume this as a challenge to the state of law,’’ Durazo said.
Garcia Harfuch’s main tasks included dismantling drug distributing gangs.
The United States has offered a reward of $10 million for Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho”, the leader of Jalisco New Generation.
The cartel has carried out several attacks against security forces.
In 2015, it downed a military helicopter, killing nine people.
The same year, several ambushes against police patrols left 25 people dead.
Garcia Harfuch is known for his participation in the capture of Damaso Lopez Nunez, successor of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, in 2017 in Mexico City.
Both drug kingpins are serving life sentences in the U.S.
The country of 130 million residents recorded an average of nearly 100 intentional homicides per day in 2019.
Mexico suffers from high levels of organised crime.