At least three families had left the rural Mexicali homes after being threatened by criminal bands, a state official admitted.

Assistant Attorney General Hiram Sanchez said the families fled from the area due to a debt the criminal bands demanded their payment.

The state official said four individuals had been arrested and turned to the Mexican Attorney General’s office for prosecution.

The family was first assaulted during a shooting reported on Sept. 27 in Ejido Cucapah Indigena town.

Two days later a couple more shootings occurred, Sánchez said.

The state agency has opened three cases of extortion and property damage, the Assistant Attorney General said.

The authorities ignore the kind of debt in this case.

Attorney Cuauhtémoc Castilla wrote on Facebook that the affected families had businesses like tortilla shops and an auto repair company.

Castilla said the honest, working families had left their homes and businesses to flee from criminals in areas that used to be tranquil.

“It is impossible that this is happening (while) citizens do nothing,” the lawyer who was shot weeks ago in his office added. “This is bad, very bad, and will get worse.” The US Department of State has warned American citizens from visiting rural Mexicali due to crime. 

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