Mexican Drug War

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WikiLeaks: US Has Lost Faith in Mexico's Ability to Win Prohibitionist Drug War

Location: 
Mexico
WikiLeaks cables show the US has lost confidence in the Mexican army's ability to win the country's prohibitionist drug war, branding it slow, clumsy and no match for "sophisticated" narco-traffickers. Classified diplomatic information released by WikiLeaks also reveals a growing sense of alarm within Mexico's government that time is running out in the battle against organized crime and that it could "lose" entire regions. The memos detail blunders in the fight against drug traffickers and a desperate search for a new strategy to save President Felipe Calderón's administration from a bloodsoaked fiasco.
Publication/Source: 
The Guardian (UK)
URL: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/02/us-mexico-drugs-war-wikileaks

Mexico Drug War Update

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 30,000 people, including more than 9,000 this year. 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:

just another drug smuggling tunnel -- how many more?
Friday, November 26

In Tijuana, the Mayor-Elect said he will replace police chiefJulian Leyzaola. Leyzaola, who took office in December 2008, was widely praised by the US and Mexican governments for his efforts to root out corruption in city police forces and for his efforts against cartels. Leyzaola has also been accused of police brutality and human rights abuses, and the state human rights ombudsman has said that Leyzaola personally participated in beatings of suspects accused of killings police officers. Several officers accused of corruption have said they were tortured by men under Leyzaola's command.

On the border between Tijuana and San Diego, authorities discovered a half-mile tunnel and seized some 20 tons of marijuana. It is the second such discovery in the past month. Eight people were arrested, three of them on the American side of the border.

Saturday, November 27

In Ciudad Juarez, police arrested a leader of the Aztecas gang who stands accused of being a key player in the violence in the city. Arturo Gallegos, 32, aka "El Farmero" is accused of being involved in 80% of the killings that have taken place in the city since August, including the murder of two US consulate employees, the murder of five federal police officers, and the massacre of 14 students at a house party. He is also suspected of being involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion. The Aztecas gang works for La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel.

Monday, November 29

In Palomas, Chihuahua, 20 bodies were discovered buried at a ranch. Soldiers discovered the site after being tipped off by several recently captured cartel members. Mexican news sources later reported that at least one of the dead had been identified as a US citizen.

In Meoqui, Chihuahua, a female police chief was gunned down. Hermila Garcia, 36, was ambushed by gunmen as she drove through the center of town. Several women have taken police chief positions in northern Mexico recently, as many potential male candidates are frightened that they will be assassinated.

Tuesday, November 30

In Michoacan, police arrested a suspected leader of La Familia Michoacana. Jose Alfredo Landa, 37, was thought to be in charge of LFM operations in the city of Morelia. Three other individuals were arrested and an AK-47 was seized, along with more than two dozen property titles and other documents that had come from various extortion plots he was involved in.

In Ciudad Juarez, ten people were murdered in several incidents in the city. This brings the monthly death toll to approximately 194 for the November, making it the second least violent month of 2010. According to El Diario, a local newspaper, 2,887 people have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez in 2010 as of December 1.

Total Body Count for the Week: 167

Total Body Count for the Year: 9,405

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

Mexican Drug Traffickers Kills Woman Who Took Police Chief Job Men Didn't Want

Location: 
Meoqui, CHH
Mexico
Hermila Garcia, 38, who became the top law enforcement officer in the town of Meoqui only two months ago, was killed as she drove to work. Her death has left some wondering if it wasn't a warning from the drug traffickers to other women, like Marisol Valles Garcia, 20, a student who became police chief of Praxedis, in the Juarez valley, also in the state of Chihuahua, home to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent drug war city.
Publication/Source: 
Sify News (India)
URL: 
http://sify.com/news/mexican-drug-gang-kills-woman-who-took-police-chief-job-men-didn-t-want-news-international-kmcnObhigbi.html

AP IMPACT: Cartel Arrests Did Not Curb Drug Trade

Location: 
Mexico
An Associated Press investigation casts doubt on whether the crackdown on the Sinaloa Drug Trafficking Organization caused any significant impact. It still ranks near the top of Mexico's drug gangs, most of those arrested were underlings who were swiftly replaced, and the leader remains free, along with his top commanders. The findings confirm what many critics of the prohibitionist drug war have said for years: The government is quick to boast about large arrests or drug seizures, but many of its most-publicized efforts result in little, if any, slowdown in the drug trade.
Publication/Source: 
The Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hYrcSwpnWLBqyCop5SiVHDNXOkoQ?docId=3fafe45e5a9148bc8b8811320834544c

Expert: Azteca Drug Gang Leader's Arrest Won't End Drug Prohibition Violence

Location: 
Ciudad Juárez, CHH
Mexico
It is unlikely the arrest of the suspected leader of the Aztecas gang over the weekend will end the bloodshed in Juárez, says George W. Grayson, a government professor specializing in Latin America at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Publication/Source: 
El Paso Times (TX)
URL: 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_16739275?source=most_viewed

20 Bodies Found In Northern Mexico Mass Grave, Victims Said Killed by Drug Traffickers in Case of Mistaken Identity

Location: 
Puerto Palomas, CHH
Mexico
The Mexican army discovered several clandestine graves holding at least 20 bodies near a ranch in the northern border state of Chihuahua. The bodies had been buried between four and eight months and that it had not yet been determined how they were killed because they were badly decomposed.
Publication/Source: 
CBS News (US)
URL: 
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/29/world/main7100609.shtml

Four Years On, Drug Prohibition War Bleeds Mexican Heartland

Location: 
MIC
Mexico
A four-year army crackdown in Mexico's methamphetamine-producing heartland has provoked a dizzying increase in violence, fueling fears that the country is losing its battle against drug traffickers. Despite heavily armed patrols, hundreds of drug lab busts and thousands of arrests, locals say gangs in the president's home state wield huge power, ramping up drug output while using terror and bribes to control towns mired in poverty. "Crime has only gotten worse. Before, things were calm. Now you don't know what could happen...We are afraid here," said Miriam Ortiz, a 32-year-old teacher.
Publication/Source: 
Reuters
URL: 
http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE6AS3R620101129

Mexico's Modern City Succumbs to Drug Prohibition Violence

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Drug prohibition violence has painted Monterrey with the look and feel of the gritty border 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the north. This wasn't supposed to happen in Mexico's modern northern city with gleaming glass towers that rise against the Sierra Madre, where students flock to world-class universities, including the country's equivalent of MIT. The deterioration happened nearly overnight, laying bare issues that plague the entire country and speak to the nature of drug prohibition.
Publication/Source: 
The Gleaner (Jamaica)
URL: 
http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101128/news/news4.html

Sexist Violence Invisible in War on Drugs

Location: 
Mexico
Yosmireli and Griselda, two and four years old, died by bullets to their heads from soldiers' guns -- their mother, aunt and seven-year-old brother Joniel were also killed, on a rural road in northwest Mexico. The killings became the first known case of civilians gunned down by soldiers in the prohibitionist war on drug traffickers declared by the government of conservative Felipe Calderón, which tipped the country into a spiral of violence. One very clear effect is "the invisibility of violence against women...If a girl is found dead on the street and the body shows signs of violence, whether she has a bullet wound, is tied up, or there is a dead man next to her, her death is recorded in the category of 'organized crime'...By recording the cases in the catch-all category of organized crime, the victims' families no longer have access to the case file and cannot pressure the authorities to solve the crime," said David Peña of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.
Publication/Source: 
Inter Press Service (Italy)
URL: 
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53660

Mexico Drug War Update

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 30,000 people -- as of this week more than 9,000 this year. 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:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/labarbie.jpg
Edgar Villarreal (''La Barbie''), after capture
Wednesday, November 17

In the city of Chihuahua, two Ciudad Juarez attorneys and a companion were executed after being snatched off a street by an armed commando. The two men were in Ciudad Juarez to investigate a case for a client they represent who faced federal charges.

Friday, November 19

In Tamaulipas, 11 suspected members of the Zetas Organization were killed during a clash near the town Nueva Ciudad Guerrero. The firefight occurred after soldiers on patrol came under fire. Two other gunmen were captured and nine rifles were seized, as well as four handguns, a grenade launcher and body armor.

In Ciudad Juarez, five people were murdered across the city. Among the dead was a municipal policeman who was gunned down on his day off. He is the 55th municipal police officer killed this year. In total, 130 policemen from the various law enforcement bodies that operate in Juarez have been killed so far  in 2010.

Saturday, November 20

In Mexico City, authorities began the process to extradite Edgar Valdez Villareal, better known as La Barbie, to the United States. Valdez, 37, was a high ranking lieutenant in the Beltran-Leyva Organization before being captured in August. He is charged in a 2002 indictment in Louisiana and a 1998 indictment in Texas, both for his involvement in cocaine trafficking. Valdez is a US national, as he was born in Laredo, Texas.

Sunday, November 21

In Colima, a former state governor was shot and killed at his home. His wife was wounded in the attack. Cavazos left office in November 2009. He is one of several governors, ex-governors and gubernatorial candidates killed in Mexico in the last few years. Colima has been relatively free of the rampant drug-related violence seen in other parts of the country. The state Secretary of Economic Development, who was visiting Cavazos at the time of the attack, was also wounded in the incident.

In Tepic, Nayarit, five suspected drug traffickers were shot and killed during a series of firefights across the city. The incident began after soldiers began chasing a vehicle with armed men aboard. One gunman was captured in the incident, and two soldiers were wounded.

Monday, November 22

In Colima, police accidentally shot dead a doctor during an operation to find the killers of ex-governor Cavazos.

Tuesday, November 23

In Brownsville, Texas, border patrol agents seized over 700 pounds of marijuana in the remote Flor De Mayo area of the city, which is located off Highway 281 and is just across the Rio Grande. The area is a well-known crossing point for drugs coming from Tamaulipas.

Total Body Count for the Week: 159

Total Body Count for the Year:  9,241

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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