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 30,000 people, including more than 9,000 this year. 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 Michoacan, authorities killed Nazario "El Chayo" Moreno, the head of La Familia Michoacana (LFM). Moreno, 40, also known as "the Craziest One", was killed during large scale fighting which took place after authorities attempted to raid a party between thrown by LFM. Fighting spread to at least 12 other cities of the state, and many major highways were blocked by vehicles which had been hijacked by gunmen. Casualty figures are still unclear, but at least five police officers and three gunmen were killed.
Saturday, December 11
In Ciudad Juarez, at least 14 people were murdered in a 24-hour period. The incidents include at two mass shooting in which a total of eight people were killed. No arrests have been made in those incidents.
In the town of Tecalitan, near Guadalajara, 13 people were gunned down at a party in honor of Virgin of Guadalupe. At least 30 people were wounded in the attack, in which gunmen used automatic weapons and fragmentation grenades.
Sunday, December 12
In Ciudad Juarez, at least ten people were murdered in several incidents in the city. Among the dead was a 14-year old boy who was shot along with two others by a group of heavily armed gunmen.
Monday, December 13
In Chihuahua, a Sinaloa cartel boss was arrested and his brother was shot dead in the town of Delicias during an operation conducted by 800 military and police personnel. Enrique Lopez was believed to be a local commander for the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
Tuesday, December 14
In Ciudad Juarez, the death toll for 2010 surpassed 3,000 on Tuesday afternoon. Among the incidents on Tuesday was a triple homicide of three people shot dead on the street. Another Ciudad Juarez newspaper is reporting that the death toll is close to 3,100, although the total number -- including those who have disappeared -- is likely much higher. October was the most violent month, with 400 confirmed homicides, followed by August with 380 and June with 342.
Wednesday, December 15
Near Rio Rico, Arizona, a border patrol agent was shot and killed after encountering several suspects in the desert. Four suspects are in custody and at least one remains on the run. It is unclear whether the men were drug traffickers or not.
Total Body Count for the Week: 147
Total Body Count for the Year: 9,654
Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.
Mexico Drug War Update
by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.