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.
On Texas's Falcon Lake, which straddles the US-Mexico border, an American couple was attacked as they rode a jet ski on the American side of the lake. Tiffany Hartley, 29, said that her and her husband David were chased and shot at by armed men coming from the Mexican side of the lake. David was shot in the head and left in the water, and is presumed dead. There have been several previous incidents of armed men on the lake, in some instances wearing Mexican police uniforms and shaking down fishermen.
In Ciudad Juarez, eleven people were murdered. This brings the total number of homicides during the month of September to 288, 44 of them women. As of September 30, approximately 2,324 murders have been committed in Ciudad Juarez.
In Acapulco, 22 Mexican tourists from Michoacan were kidnapped and remain missing. The motives remain unclear, although it should be noted that none of the kidnapped men was a known drug trafficker and it appears they were mostly mechanics and carpenters.
Saturday, October 2
Across Mexico, at least 34 people were killed during a 48-hour period. In the isolated Durango town of San Jose de La Cruz, a firefight between rival drug traffickers left fourteen dead. Much of Durango has traditionally been under the control of the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
Sunday, October 3
In Guadalupe, near Monterrey, 15 people were killed after a suspected grenade attack on the town’s main plaza. Six children, including a three-year old, were among the wounded. It was the fourth attack with an explosive device in the Monterrey area in two days. On Friday, grenade attacks were reported outside a prison, the US consulate, and a federal court.
Tuesday, October 5
In Ciudad Juarez, 14 people were killed across the city. In one incident, a wounded man attempted to hide inside a restaurant, only to be discovered by the gunmen who were chasing him and shot dead in front of many patrons. Some were seen to have bloodstains on their clothing from the incident. 23 killings were reported in Juarez in the first 3 days of October.
Total Body Count for the Week: 153
Total Body Count for the Year: 8,305
Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.