On 2nd January 2016, the Mayor of Temixco, Gisela Mota Ocampo, was shot dead just one day after taking office. This case study cross-examines Mota’s political status with local criminal dynamics to assess how and why lethal intimidation was used by illicit networks as a tool for securing a favourable local operating environment. The impact of the controversial election of Mota’s successor, Irma Camacho, is also monitored in relation to an ongoing internal political dispute between PRD elites.


  • The assassination of Temixco Mayor Gisela Mota Ocampo is a clear example of how violent intimidation is used to exert control over the structure and behaviour of municipal authorities. Mota was killed in front of family members the morning after her inauguration event; a sharp illustration of the ruthless and predatory nature by which local illicit networks are willing to secure a favourable operating environment.
  • Mota’s death was widely attributed to her open support for the federal government’s new ‘Mando Único’ scheme; an ongoing security initiative that aims to shut off criminal access to local authorities by bringing municipal police units under a state-central command. Intimidated by Mota’s fate, other mayors across the country are set to show reluctance in conceding existing leverage with local illicit groups, which could ultimately place the new scheme in jeopardy.
  • According to local authorities, Mota’s killers were contracted by the Los Rojos criminal group. However, latest developments suggest that her death may have been woven into an ongoing political dispute between regional elites of the leftist Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD). Specifically, Senator Fidel Demédicis Hidalgo and the incumbent Governor of Morelos, Graco Ramírez Garrido, who accuse each other of ordering - or at least using Mota’s death - to secure regional influence.