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Outrage in Argentina after mafia threats against Messi

A group of drug traffickers have made direct threats against Argentina star and newly crowned world champion Lionel Messi, sending shock waves through his hometown of Rosario and across the country.

Comments of rejection and outrage immediately flooded the public space and the authorities mobilized to respond commensurately with the threats that targeted Messi and the attack that targeted a supermarket owned by his in-laws.

Thursday at dawn, two hooded people riding a motorcycle riddled the front of the supermarket with bullets before leaving a sign with the following inscription: “Messi, we are waiting for you. Javkin (Mayor of Rosario) is a drug trafficker. He won’t protect you.”

The armed attack followed by the direct threat against Messi triggered alarm sirens in all security and political sectors.

At the top of the state, a meeting brought together on Friday morning the governor of the state of Santa Fe, on which Rosario depends, Omar Perotti, with the high ministerial hierarchy, including the head of government, Agustín Rossi, and the minister of the Interior, Eduardo De Pedro to define the security measures to be deployed in the hometown of Messi, which has become the epicenter of drug trafficking in Argentina.

The day before, the Minister of Security, Anibal Fernandez, had acknowledged that the events in Rosario revealed a reality: “the narcos have won”.

Another security official drove the point home. The regional minister of security in the province of Buenos Aires, Sergio Berni, considered that “Rosario has become a liberated zone” from drug trafficking, adding that “the State has abandoned the territory (…) and when it does not there is no state in the territory, it is the parallel state of drug trafficking that takes over”.

Several weeks earlier, magistrates in this convulsed region had received death threats from drug trafficking gangs.

The entire political spectrum has reacted to the threats against Messi with expressions of outrage, shock and a call not to give in to criminals who are, according to Perotti, seeking to generate “global impact”.

Prison authorities raided the cells of leaders of powerful drug cartels in Rosario looking for clues to a possible order issued from prison, local press reports.

The messages relayed on social networks and the headlines of the press converge on the “seriousness” of this incident and the unprecedented threats made against the idol of all Argentines.

Some reactions have cast doubt on Messi’s arrival in Argentina for two friendly matches that the selection will have to play against Panama and Curacao on March 23 and 28.

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