Air travelers have a new worry. Shooting broke out this morning at 8:50 a.m. at Mexico City’s airport Terminal Two, which is the terminal that serves all Aeromexico flights and many of its SkyTeam partners, such as Delta.
The shooting erupted in a spacious food court away from the airline counters. Two federal police were killed on the spot, and a third died later at a hospital. That's an AP photo above minutes after the gunshots.
Authorities said federal police were carrying out an anti-drug operation at the airport.
Here’s the scary thing: El Universal reports that the narcos were also wearing uniforms of the federal police. Imagine being caught in a gunfight where both sides look like they are the police.
While it may offer little solace to jittery travelers, Mexico City still remains largely safe from the drug violence in Mexico. A group of us journalists sat down one day last week with the leftist candidate who is likely to be Mexico City’s next mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera.
Mancera was succinct about the reasons why narcos haven’t sunk their talons into the capital. The city has 70,000 police officers and 13,000 closed-circuit security cameras, he said. “Mexico City is not an attractive place … for organized crime,” he said.
In other parts of the country, gangsters move about in fleets of identifiable vehicles.
“They go around in convoys, six or seven pickup trucks. They carry assault weapons,” Mancera said. Mexico City has bases of both soldiers and naval marines, as well as large police precincts scatter over the metropolitan area. Narcos would be close to trouble wherever they went. “It’s hard for them to operate here.”
The airport is a different story, an enclave withing the city. It’s essentially in the hands of federal authorities, and signs that gangsters have a foothold there are clear. So far this year, officials said they’d confiscated 200 kilos of cocaine there. Aeromexico personnel have been involved in several smuggling cases originating from Terminal Two.
In December 2010, three Aeromexico flight attendants were arrested in Madrid trying to bring in 300 pounds of cocaine to Spain from Mexico City. In August of last year, an Aeromexico co-pilot was busted in Madrid taking 93 pounds of cocaine from Mexico.
All of that happened in Terminal Two. Anybody seeing a link here?