Mexico in Brief: COVID-19 vaccination rate in Juarez surpasses 30%

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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Health authorities in Juarez, Mexico, say they have now vaccinated 31 percent of the population against COVID-19.

More than 378,000 civilians and thousands of health and government workers have received a vaccine as of this week, said Dr. Leticia Ruiz, preventive health services coordinator for the Chihuahua state Health Department.

Juarez has long lagged El Paso – its U.S. neighbor across the Rio Grande – when it comes to COVID-19 protections. El Paso County as of Thursday had a 12-years-and-older full vaccination rate of 65.9% and a partial vaccination rate of 76.7%.

But officials on both sides of the border are trying to close the gap to strengthen their case for the U.S. and Mexico to reopen its common border, which has been closed to non-essential land travel since March 2020.

El Paso County and the Juarez Maquiladora Association this week began a massive vaccination campaign of Juarez factory workers, with 1,500 getting a free Johnson & Johnson shot at the Tornillo, Texas port of entry on Monday. The goal is to vaccinate up to 50,000 workers in the next few weeks.

‘The Jaguar’ eludes capture in mountains of Chihuahua

Mexican police are blaming informants for the failure of an operation to capture a Sinaloa cartel leader in Western Chihuahua this week.

This is the armored truck Chihuahua police say was used to block the pursuit of Sinaloa cartel leader Francisco Arvizu Marques, a.k.a. “The Jaguar.” (photo State of Chihuahua)
Francisco ‘The Jaguar’ Arvizu Marquez.

In a news release, the Chihuahua state police said 80 of its officers and National Guard troops on July 2 set out to arrest Francisco Javier Arvizu Marquez, a.k.a. “The Jaguar,” in the mountain forests near the city of Madera.

Arvizu, leader of the Gente Nueva cell of the Sinaloa cartel, is wanted on a slew of charges stemming from a war with the rival La Linea cartel for control of drug, extortion, robbery and illegal logging activities in Western Chihuahua. That war left 60 people dead in Madera last year.

The state police said informants and lookouts commonly referred to as “halcones,” or hawks, notified Arvizu the authorities were coming. The news release said police and the National Guard managed to close in on the Sinaloa cartel leader during a six-hour pursuit on July 4, but that his henchmen blocked the road with an armored truck.

“The Jaguar” is believed to have fled to neighboring Sonora state.

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