by Michael J. Shapiro | May 01, 2015
The attorney general's office in the western Mexico state of Jalisco issued a "code red" on Friday, advising residents to remain calm but to stay inside their homes if possible. The advisory was in response to a series of fires and road blockades set throughout the state, beginning Friday morning, by factions related to a drug and crime organization. Most of the incidents occurred in and around the state capital city of Guadalajara, and involved fires set to banks and gas stations as well as to city buses and some private trucks. In the case of the vehicle fires, known as narco-blockades, the criminals commandeered vehicles and demanded that drivers and passengers flee before positioning the vehicles to block roadways and then setting those vehicles on fire. In the tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta, at least two gas stations and two banks were burned, and a shopping plaza was evacuated after a grenade was thrown into a store. As of Friday afternoon, there were no confirmed injuries or deaths in Puerto Vallarta, but local officials advised businesses to close, tourists to remain in their hotels and residents to stay home. Many businesses already were closed Friday for International Workers' Day.

Officials confirmed seven deaths and 15 injuries statewide as of Friday afternoon, some coming from an attack on a military helicopter in the mountains southeast of Puerto Vallarta. The helicopter was involved in an anticrime operation focused in the state's interior, and was carrying soldiers and federal police officers. The seven confirmed deaths on Friday included three soldiers, a member of the state attorney general's office, a civilian and two suspected criminals. Among those confirmed injured were 13 soliders, a local official and a suspected criminal.