Massacre in Ensenada, Mexico Hits Close to US 9/25/98

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At approximately 430am, Thursday, 18 family members, including two teenagers, six children, and one infant, where led out of their bedrooms at gun point, lined against a patio wall and gunned down with eighty bullets coming from nine or ten AK-47 wielding gunmen.† The incident happened in a sleepy suburb of the Mexican resort town of Ensenada, a popular destination for American tourists, only a ninety minute drive from the U.S. Mexico border and home to hundreds of American ex-patriots.

The gruesome scene of the shooting, shown across Mexico and on several Spanish language U.S. channels, depicted a line of bloodied bodies still in their sleepwear with the children holding on to their toys and teddy bears.

The cause behind the Ensenada massacre is believed to be a rivalry between two Mexican drug cartels.† Fermin Castro, one of the only survivors, in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the head and body, is allegedly in charge of marijuana cultivation for the Arellano Felix drug gang which controls the drugs flowing through the Southwestern corridor into the U.S.† The lead theory at this point is that it was drug traffickers retaliating for the killing of drug kingpin Munoz Talavera, who are thought to control the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso section of the border.† Both groups are thought to have been violent rivals for sometime.

"If this was indeed retaliation, whoever did it sent a heck of a message to the Arellano Felix gang," Phil Jordan, a Dallas security specialist and former senior agent with the DEA told the Dallas Morning News on Friday, 18th.† "It's the kind of drug-related violence that puts Mexico one step closer to Colombia.† It's not good for Mexico, and it's not good for the United States.† And as long as narco-political corruption exists in Mexico, I don't think the situation will get any better."

John Walsh, a research associate for Drug Strategies concurs.† "There is a recognition that the way the Mexicans have taken over cocaine trafficking from the Colombians has emboldened them in terms of corruption and the level of violence.† This incident falls into that category.† But even if the situation doesn't become as dire as Columbia, the fact that its on our border makes it a serious situation."

So far the investigation into the massacre has had few leads.† Mexican officials did find a cache of guns nearby that may have been used in the killings, but as of press time no suspects have been brought into custody, and few local residences are willing to talk.

The violence along the border "continues to be a concern," said John Woodard, chief of staff to Rep. Brian Bilbray (R- CA).† Woodard told the WOL, "We've seen similar drug related incidents in Coronado and San Diego.† It's obvious this type of stuff spreads across the border."† Rep. Bilbray's 49th Congressional district begins the western border between Mexico and the U.S. and continues along past the two main Southwestern border checkpoints leading into Tijuana.† In the past Rep. Bilbray has supported the certification of Mexico as a drug war ally , but with incidents such as this and several high profile drug corruption related cases in the Mexican military and police, "it's too early to tell whether he'll support certification" again when it comes up for a vote next spring in the 106th Congress.

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Issue #60, 9/25/98 DRCNet Nearing the 7,000 Mark -- Your Voice Needed | Alert: Congress Considers Jailing Children With Adults | Alert: from the Andean Information Network | On the Web | Canadian Hemp Shop Bust Aided by US Agents | Hemp BC Business License Hearing Scheduled for Next Week | Media Note: CBS Drama to Highlight Medical Marijuana | Volunteers Needed for Washington, DC Medical Marijuana Initiative | New Study Indicates That Cannabis Relieves Pain | Drug War Militarization Bill Passes House Over Objections of Colombia | Background on Juvenile Justice Bill | Massacre in Ensenada, Mexico Hits Close to US | Minnesota Marijuana Law Faces Constitutional Challenge | Human Rights Activists Accuse Russian Police of Planting Drugs | National Conference on Prisons This Weekend | Editorial: Repentance for the Drug War
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