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 in August. 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 Tijuana, President Calderon said that California's ballot measure to legalize marijuana represents hypocrisy in US drug policy. "For me, it reflects a terrible inconsistency in government policies in the United States," he said, referring to US demands that Mexico and other countries clamp down on production and trafficking.
Saturday, October 9
In Oaxaca, the mayor-elect of a small town was shot and killed . Antonio Jimenez Banos, 47, was due to become the mayor of the small coastal town of Martires de Tacubaya. He was shot in the head and chest as he returned home to his small farm. Eleven sitting mayors have been assassinated in Mexico this year, as well as several candidates and representative-elects.
In Ciudad Juarez, 12 people were killed in several incidents. In one incident, two prisoners inside the city’s main prison were killed during a prison riot between the rival Azteca and Mexicles gangs, which work for the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, respectively. At the same time, another riot occurred in a municipal prison. Soldiers responding to the incident confiscated an unknown quantity of weapons and drugs.
Sunday, October 10
In Ciudad Juarez, six people were killed. In one incident, a group of armed men shot dead three people outside an emergency room hospital. The three men were apparently attempting to flee and hide from the gunmen, but were gunned down just outside the building.
Monday, October 11
In Sinaloa, eight police officers were killed after their convoy was ambushed by gunmen. The officers were patrolling a highway about 50 miles outside of the state capital of Culiacan when they were attacked by a convoy of gunmen traveling in three or four vehicles and wielding automatic weapons. Mexican news sources have reported that three other officers were wounded in the attack. Sinaloa has long been at the heart of Mexico's drug trade. Marijuana and poppy is grown in the area and large-scale meth labs have been known to operate in the area.
In Ciudad Juarez, 14 people were killed across the city. The murders occurred despite immensely tight security in the city due to the arrival of President Calderon and a security summit with Mexican governors.
Tuesday, October 12
According to a Zapata County Sheriff, a Mexican investigator working on the recent Falcoln Lake shooting incident was beheaded. Rolando Flores was a member of the State police based in the city of Miguel Aleman, and was part of the team investigating the shooting of David Hartley, who has been missing since September 30th. Flores' head was reportedly found in a suitcase left outside a Mexican Army installation.
Total Body Count for the Week: 85
Total Body Count for the Year: 8,390
Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.