Mexican Drug War

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Mexican Army Kills US Citizen on Acapulco-Zihuatenejo Highway

According to Mexican press reports, the Mexican military shot and killed a US citizen on the Acapulco-Zihuatenejo highway Saturday night. The American was identified as Joseph Steven Proctor, either 32 or 35 years old, of Georgia.

The incident took place on kilometer 14 of the coastal highway, near the village of Cerrito de Oro in the municipality of Coyuca de Benitez in the state of Guerrero. For more than 30 years, the Mexican military has conducted patrols and checkpoints on the highway as part of its "permanent campaign against drug trafficking."

According to Lt. Francisco Javier Escamilla of the 68th Infantry Battalion, soldiers in a Hummer driving toward Coyuca encountered a Winstar pick-up truck traveling toward them. The truck opened fire on the soldiers, and when it refused to stop, the soldiers shot back, causing the truck to overturn.

The Mexican army did not initially report the incident, only issuing its statement after police found Proctor's body. Instead, an anonymous call to state police reported the truck and the body around 2:00am Sunday morning. When police arrived, they found Proctor's body in the truck. It had multiple bullet wounds. They also found an AR-15 rifle with a 41-cartridge clip holding only 34 cartridges.

[Editor's Note: Anyone with experience firing a semi-automatic rifle at oncoming military vehicles while driving solo down the highway, please contact us. We want to know just how that is done.]

Proctor's body was taken to Acapulco for forensic examination, then turned over to his wife, Mexican national Liliana Gil Vargas. Gil Vargas told the newspaper Reforma that her husband had left their home in Coyuca de Benitez at about 10:00pm Saturday night to go shopping at a supermarket.

State and municipal police are investigating. The US consulate in Acapulco is asking that the military cooperate in the investigation.

While the Mexican military has long played a limited role in enforcing drug prohibition, President Felipe Calderon unleashed it in December 2006, deploying some 50,000 soldiers and federal police in hot spots across the country. It is widely accused of human rights violations, ranging from rape and robbery to torture, murder, and forced disappearances.

Coyuca de Benitez
Mexico

Shootout Near School Shocks Mexico

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Drug prohibition violence continues to build in Mexico where a gun fight occurred in front of the American School Foundation, the school of choice for the children of many of Monterrey's top businessmen as well as the children of Americans working in the city. The gun battle is the latest sign that Mexico's prohibition violence is spreading to wealthier areas of the country which had long thought themselves immune, and has deepened the fear that has gripped Monterrey in the last few months.
Publication/Source: 
The Wall Street Journal (NY)
URL: 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704504204575445970398254874.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

With 28,000 Killed Since 2006, Movement for Drug Legalization in Mexico Takes Hold (Video)

Location: 
Mexico
A growing movement in Mexico to legalize drugs, particularly marijuana, is taking shape. Four proposals that aim for varying degrees of decriminalization or legalization of drugs are on the docket in Mexico’s House of Deputies, and another is circulating in the Senate. Meanwhile, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who was a key U.S. ally in the war on drugs, has backed the legalization of drugs, saying prohibition has failed to reduce violence and corruption.
Publication/Source: 
Democracy Now! (NY)
URL: 
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/19/as_deaths_mount_to_28_000

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 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:

Santiago Papasquiaro, site of Saturday's firefight
Friday, August 13

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.

Mexico

Corrupt, Insecure Prisons Undermine Mexico Drug War

Location: 
Mexico
Experts say Mexico's President FelipeCalderon needs to get entrenched problems in the penal and judicial system under control if he is to have any chance of winning a war that has claimed more than 28,000 lives since late 2006 and sparked fears that drug trafficking organizations could turn Mexico into a lawless narco state.
Publication/Source: 
Reuters
URL: 
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67H42G20100818

Kidnapped Mexican Mayor Found Dead

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Yet another Mexican politican falls prey to drug prohibition violence. Security forces have found the handcuffed and blindfolded body of kidnapped mayor Edelmiro Cavazos of the northern Mexican city of Santiago. Cavazos was taken from his home by armed men on Sunday night.
Publication/Source: 
BBC News (UK)
URL: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11016902

Lawmakers in Mexico to Debate Drug Fight

President Felipe Calderón summoned legislators to participate later this week in his continuing discussions with all of Mexico’s political establishment about how to win the war against the drug trafficking organizations. Is legalization on the table?
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times (NY)
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/world/americas/18mexico.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Mexico Debates Drug Legalisation (Video)

Location: 
Mexico
After 28,000 have died in its latest push to fight drug trafficking organizations, and with other tragic consequences of drug prohibition now so evident, Mexico opens the debate on legalizing drugs.
Publication/Source: 
Brisbane Times (Australia)
URL: 
http://media.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/selections/mexico-debates-drug-legalisation-1782717.html

Drug Hitmen Kidnap Mexican Mayor Near U.S. Border

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Perhaps targeted for his efforts to clean up Santiago's corrupt police force, Mayor Edelmiro Cavazo was abducted by suspected drug hitmen in the latest surge in drug prohibition violence threatening to undermine industry and scare off investors in Mexico. The abduction follows a spike in violence over the weekend in northern Mexico, where rival gangs are battling for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States.
Publication/Source: 
WHTC (MI)
URL: 
http://www.whtc.com/news/articles/2010/aug/16/drug-hitmen-kidnap-mexican-mayor-near-us-border/

Bulletin Warned of Drug Prohibition Violence in El Paso

Location: 
El Paso, TX
United States
Intelligence received from the Alliance for Combating Transnational Threats has led city police radio dispatchers to alert officers about potential violence in El Paso stemming from Mexican drug trafficking organization rivalries.
Publication/Source: 
El Paso Times (TX)
URL: 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_15789756?source=most_viewed

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