by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.
Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed more than 28,000 people, the government reported this month. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:
In Ciudad Juarez, 17 people were murdered across the city. Among the dead were two members of CIPOL, the police intelligence service, as well as a young couple. Several people were shot outside a nightclub, and three men between the ages of 20 and 25 were killed after their car was ambushed by a group of gunmen.
Saturday, August 14
In Durango, at least 11 gunmen were killed after a two-hour firefight with the army near the town of Santiago Papasquiaro. Three troops were wounded during the gun battle. Many believe that Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is hiding in Durango.
In Monterrey, at least eight gunmen kidnapped a plastic surgeon while he was performing surgery. It was later reported that one of his patients was the target of the raid. Police and army personnel launched an operation to find the abducted surgeon, with no success.
Sunday, August 15
In Morelos, at least six people were killed. In one incident, three young men were gunned down after a botched kidnapping attempt by gunmen outside their home. In another incident, the body of an unidentified man was found bound with tape and plastic. A note threatening the lives of local police officers was left alongside the body.
Monday, August 16
In Ciudad Juarez, 20 people were killed in several incidents in the city. The incidents included two separate triple homicides. Several of the bodies discovered in the city were bound with tape and showed signs of torture. Over the weekend, 51 people were killed. Monday’s killings bring the 2010 death toll in Ciudad Juarez to approximately 1,884.
In Oaxaca, gunmen killed eight members of a hunting party near Mexico's Gulf Coast. The exact motive for the killings is unclear. In Monterrey and in Reynosa, armed men threw hand grenades at the local offices of Televisa.
Tuesday, August 17
In a video made public on Tuesday, an alleged member of the Juarez Cartel claimed that the cartel is hiring attractive young women to serve as assassins. The suspect, Rogelio Amaya, claims that around roughly 30 women between the ages of 18 and 30 have been recruited and trained to carry out hits, which many of them have. Rogelio Amaya is thought to be a member of La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez Cartel.
In Culiacan, four prison inmates were murdered and were discovered in a dumpster. All four had their throats slit. Three of the four men had been arrested earlier this month following a firefight with police. Violence between rival drug trafficking gangs is common in Mexican prisons.
Wednesday, August 18
In Nuevo Leon, the body of a kidnapped mayor was discovered three days after his abduction. Edelmiro Cavazos of was the mayor of Santiago, Nuevo Leon. He was discovered near a waterfall near the town after having been kidnapped by a group of at least 15 armed men wearing uniforms of the federal police force, which was disbanded nine years ago.
Total Body Count for the Week: 112
Total Body Count for the Year: 7,030
Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.