A group of Central American migrants being held in a Mexican immigration detention center in Mexicali began rioting Wednesday afternoon, requiring the deployment of police and troops.
A group of 23 migrants pending deportation, primarily back to Honduras, began a riot on Wednesday by burning a mattress and causing damage to bathrooms, according to local reporting. Responding municipal fire personnel were unable to enter the facility because they were met with resistance by the migrants who began throwing objects and liquids while shouting they were members of “Los Maras.” The label is commonly used to identify the violent transnational criminal gang, the MS-13.
Due to the violent behavior, state cops and elements of the Mexican Army were deployed. The center was eventually brought under control when riot police forcefully entered with stun grenades, according to confidential law enforcement sources.
Many of the Central Americans were dealing with drug addiction problems according to Ranulfo Figueroa, head of the regional office of the Mexican immigration agency. Breitbart sources said the migrants were protesting their forthcoming deportations. It is unknown if they were part of the original migrant caravan that began to arrive in the region in mid-November. Migrants in this center were taken into custody in Mexicali after not qualifying to stay in a shelter due to drug use or other criminal factors.
Breitbart News reports extensively on the estimated 7,000 to 9,000-plus migrant caravan, which began in Honduras on October 12, 2018, and traveled through Guatemala to the United States border with Mexico. On November 14, nearly 400 migrants in eight buses were filmed traveling through the northern border state of Sonora, escorted by Mexican federal and state police. Approximately a day later, another 900 Central Americans in 22 buses passed through Sonora. Many in the migrant caravan stayed in Mexicali after the shelters of Tijuana were filled to capacity. Secondary camps were set up for those waiting to make an asylum request with U.S. Department of State. Mexicali is approximately 110 miles east of Tijuana.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at