In March 2011, the commander of the 35th Military Zone, Roberto Diaz de la Vega revealed that Guerrero is first highest in the nation in regards to drugs production. He stressed that Guerrero is the leading producer of opium in Mexico (60% of national production according to the Ministry of National Defense, SEDENA), which is grown mainly in Tlacotepec, in the high sierra. He explained that each hectare of poppy crops produces 8 kilos of opium gum, with which it can produce a kilo of heroin, with market value of about 4 million 500 thousand pesos.
During 2010, in the 56 municipalities where the 35th Military Zone operates 23.906 poppy plantations were destroyed, totaling more than 3.843 hectares, equivalent to nearly four football fields together (SEDENA).
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According to journalistic sources, from being a place used by drug traffickers for growing marijuana, Guerrero has become a national security “hot spot,” together with Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, and Sinaloa. Between 2007 and 2010, disputes among drug dealers left 1,698 homicides between executions and clashes in the state, 520 of them in 2010, according to federal government statistics. There were 370 homicides in Acapulco in 2010, but the problem also extended to several municipalities. In fact, only 19 municipalities were exempt from executions by organized crime. There were also 953 murders during the first half of 2011.
According to reports from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and state authorities, the so-called Costa Grande de Guerrero has become a region dominated by drug violence since 2005. Petatlan, one of the eight municipalities that make up that region, is considered one of the areas with “hot spots” for federal and state authorities: in the same mountainous area, bands of loggers as well as drug traffickers engaged in planting, harvesting and selling opium gum (collected from the poppy crops) operate.
Official reports state that at present the Sinaloa cartel, whose leader is Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has achieved supremacy in the region, after gunmen of this criminal group managed to prevail over their opponents, “Los Zetas.”