Mexican Drug War

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Mexican Prison Doubles as a Hotel for Cartel Hit Men

Location: 
Mexico
Mexico's prisons are infested with internal crime, drug use, bad treatment and corruption. At some prisons, inmates are allowed to leave, provided with weapons, and loaned police vehicles to carry out their dirty work. Essentially, they use the prison itself as a safe house.
Publication/Source: 
MexiData.info (CA)
URL: 
http://www.mexidata.info/id2758.html

Mexican journalists seek more protection

Location: 
Mexico
Thousands of Mexican journalists demonstrated during the weekend as part of protests across Mexico asking authorities to do more to safeguard members of the news media from drug prohibition-fueled violence. Aggression against journalists has increased from both law enforcement agents and drug trafficking organizations.
Publication/Source: 
El Paso Times (TX)
URL: 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_15713608?source=most_emailed

Ex-Mexico President Calls for Legalizing Drugs

Location: 
Mexico
It looks like the Mexicans are finally understanding the folly of drug prohibition. Last week, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon agreed to open the door to discussions about the legalization of drugs. Now, Mexico's former president, Vicente Fox, is joining with those urging Calderon to legalize drugs in Mexico, saying that legalization could break the economic power of the country's brutal drug trafficking organizations.
Publication/Source: 
The Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gMi5B2USfJStXxfqgWWr2xjRYpOgD9HFMD5O0

2012 Mexican Elections May Yield New Approach To Drug Cartels

Location: 
Mexico
From the 1960s through the ’80s, organized crime was intertwined with the government, according to Diego Enrique Osorno, a Mexican journalist and author of the recently published history, The Sinaloa Cartel. Whoever wins the 2012 elections is expected to take a new approach toward the cartels. Many voters may hope for a return to the days when the PRI let organized crime run drugs unfettered up to the U.S. border, but kept the violence off the streets.
Publication/Source: 
National Public Radio (DC)
URL: 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129009629

Calderon: Mexico drug gangs seeking to replace state

Location: 
Mexico
Drug prohibition can even lead to governments being overthrown. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has warned that drug gangs are seeking to replace the state and impose their own law in parts of the country. The gangs were imposing fees like taxes in areas they dominated and trying to impose their own laws by force of arms, said Calderon.
Publication/Source: 
BBC News (UK)
URL: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-10877156

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 week. 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:

better late than never: Pres. Calderon now supports discussing legalization
Thursday, July 29

In Guadalajara, police killed one of the highest-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel. Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, 56, was the third-highest ranking member of the cartel, only behind cartel bosses "El Chapo" Guzman and "El Mayo" Zambada. Coronel was killed after resisting an army raid on his lavish Guadalajara home. A bodyguard was captured. Over $7 million in cash was discovered inside the residence, as well as large quantities of jewelry and weapons. Coronel was known as the "King of Ice" for his multi-million dollar methamphetamine business.

Saturday, July 31

In Coahuila, policemen rescued two journalists who had been kidnapped on Monday. A third reporter had been released by his kidnappers Thursday, and a fourth was released under unclear circumstances. The men had apparently been kidnapped by drug traffickers in an attempt to have Mexican media broadcast their messages to the Mexican public. The men had been kidnapped after covering the arrest last week of a prison director accused of letting out prisoners at night to commit killings. About 30 reporters have been killed in Mexico since 2006.

In Ciudad Juarez, 15 people were killed in different parts of the city, bringing the city's death toll for July to 291. This makes July the second deadliest month the city has had so far in 2010, only behind June's total of 313. As of August 1, there have been 1,701 murders in Ciudad Juarez this year.

Sunday, August 1

In Ciudad Juarez, a riot took place during visiting hours at the city's main prison. The clashes began when members of the Aztecas gang took 12 guards hostage and attacked members of their main rival, the AA (Artist Assassin) gang. The Aztecas are allied to the Juarez Cartel, and the AA fight for the Sinaloa Cartel. Two men were killed in the clashes. Some 150 visitors,including women and children, were present at the facility when the incident took place.

Tuesday, August 3

In Mexico City, Mexico's intelligence chief acknowledged that the death toll from drug-related violence is far higher than previously reported. Guillermo Valdes Castellanos, the head of the National Security and Investigation Center (CISEN) now estimates that just over 28,000 people have been killed since President Calderon took office. Last month, the office of Mexico's Attorney General estimated that some 25,000 had been killed.

Also in Mexico City, President Calderon said he was open to debate on the legalization  of drugs. Calderon went on to say that Mexican policy would likely be driven by California's decision on marijuana legalization, which is due to take place later this year.

Wednesday, August 4

In Ciudad Juarez, two police officers and two civilians were wounded after a group of armed men attacked the Continental Hotel, which houses many federal police officers. Additionally, a painted message from the Juarez Cartel threatened the lives of federal police officers.

Also in Ciudad Juarez, a bomb was discovered on one of the four international bridges connecting the city and El Paso. The bridge was closed for two hours, as were several main streets in the area, leading to massive traffic jams. Mexican police and security forces arrived and detonated the bomb. Many Juarez residents fear further bombings such as the one which killed four people on July 15.

Total Body Count for the Week: 177

Total Body Count for the Year: 6,848

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

Amid Mexico's Drug War, A Rush For Bulletproof Cars

Location: 
Mexico
Drug prohibition violence usually tends to negatively affect business, but that's not the case with businesses involving bulletproofing cars. Fourteen armoring companies are certified by Mexico's federal government, and business is getting better by the day.
Publication/Source: 
National Public Radio (DC)
URL: 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128959610

Mexico ready to debate legalisation as drug war claims 28,000 lives: President says he is open to hearing pros and cons of making marijuana legal despite being personally opposed to the idea

Location: 
Mexico
It looks like the consequences of drug prohibition -- in this case needless deaths and assorted violence -- are making Mexico react in a more logical way. Mexico's president, Felipe Calderón, said today he would consider a debate on legalising drugs, as his government announced that more than 28,000 people have been killed in prohibition violence since he launched a crackdown against cartels in December 2006.
Publication/Source: 
The Guardian (UK)
URL: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/04/mexico-debate-legalisation-drugs

Mexican Government Raises Figure For Drug War Deaths For Second Time In Four Months

Drug prohibition is responsible for a lot more deaths than drugs. Now, the Mexican government is reporting that 28,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderón initiated an offensive against the country’s drug cartels three years ago. The announcement, made by Mexico’s intelligence service director Guillermo Valdés, marks the second time in four months that the government has increased its estimate of the number of violent deaths caused by prohibition violence.
Publication/Source: 
Latin America News Dispatch (NY)

Juarez Grenade Attack Caught On Tape; Attack Comes 2 Weeks After Bomb Blast

Location: 
Ciudad Juarez
United States
Drug prohibition violence continues in Ciudad Juarez where Mexican federal police officers were attacked with a grenade, nearly two weeks after Mexican federal police were attacked with a car bomb. 262 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez in July -- that's about 8 per day.
Publication/Source: 
KVIA (TX)
URL: 
http://www.kvia.com/news/24475973/detail.html

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