Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year trafficking illegal 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 over 16,000 people, with a death toll of over 7,000 so far in 2009. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of several 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:

Saturday, January 2

Near Mexico City, two bodies were found killed execution-style in San Pablo de las Salinas. One of the dead was wrapped in a blanket and had signs of torture. The other body was that of a woman in a plastic bag who had apparently been strangled to death. In 2009, the greater Mexico City area was the scene of some 300 drug-related homicides.

In the first 36 hours of 2010, eight people were killed in various incidents across Ciudad Juarez. Four of these deaths occurred just minutes after midnight on New Year's Eve when gunmen killed a family in the south of the city, including a four-year old girl. In another incident, a business owner was killed after being attacked by men wielding automatic weapons.

In other parts of Mexico, the bodies of two young men were found in a rural part of Guerrero, one in Ciudad Renacimiento, two in Sinaloa, including one with a message attached threatening thieves. In Durango, 11 people were killed, including one who was shot dead in the hospital after being wounded earlier in the day. In Tijuana, the year began with the killing of six people across the city. Two dismembered bodies were found in Michoacan, and one man was executed in Torreon, Coahuila.

Sunday, January 3

In Oaxaca, the brother of an indigenous radio broadcaster who was assassinated in 2008 was shot dead in the municipality of San Juan Copala. 15 other people were killed in violence in five Mexican states. Seven of the dead were found in Sinaloa. In Coahuila, the bodies of two federal agents who had been kidnapped and killed in Durango were found in the bed of a pickup truck.

In Ciudad Juarez, two brothers in a drug rehab facility were forcibly removed by gunmen and shot outside. One of them was killed instantly and the other seriously wounded. In another part of the city, two federal agents were involved in a firefight outside a hotel in which they were staying. One of them was killed and another wounded.

Additionally, one man was killed after being ambushed by gunmen in Tijuana and two people were found dead near Mexico City.

Monday, January 4

In the state of Sinaloa, four people were shot dead in several incidents. Among the dead was a man found with a note pinned to his back on the side of a highway.

In Tijuana, the decapitated body of a woman was found at the entrance to a cemetery. In another incident in the city, a police agent in charge of auto theft investigations was killed after being ambushed by gunmen in Mesa de Otay. A civilian traveling with him in the passenger seat was also killed. Although the motive is unclear, auto theft is often related to drug trafficking as stolen cars are used to move narcotics across the US border. Four other people were shot dead with automatic weapons in several other incidents in Tijuana.

In Parras, Chihuahua, the son of the mayor was shot dead. Four people were killed in Ciudad Juarez. Five people were killed in Sinaloa. In one incident, a man in Culiacan reportedly was shot 120 times. In Veracruz, two women were killed when a group of armed men stormed a bus. Two people were killed in Durango, and two decapitated bodies were found in Michoacan.

Soldiers arrested Carlos Beltran Leyva, the brother of cartel boss Arturo, who was killed by naval special forces in December. Carlos was arrested after being caught driving with a fake ID. Weapons and cocaine were found in the car as well.

Tuesday, January 5

In a 24-hour period, 29 people were killed in Chihuahua, including two state police officers. The two policemen were killed by a group of six gunmen as they left a body shop. In addition to the two police officers, 13 other people were killed in the city. Among the dead was a female activist who had brought attention to human rights abuses by the army and the police in Ciudad Juarez. 14 other people were killed in other parts of the state.

Total Body Count for 2009: 7,724

Total Body Count so far for 2010: 137

Read the last Mexico Drug War Update here.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Going for a record!

With this type of slaughter, they will likely get to 10,000 deaths, this year! And the war goes on!! It appears that the drug warriors will never learn.

desensitizing...

It scares me how I can read

"... Four people were killed in Ciudad Juarez. Five people were killed in Sinaloa..."

Any one of these deaths has ripped a gaping hole in the social fabric of families, communities... cultures.

It's literally unimaginable to me.

And I just keep reading...

borden's picture

That is chilling to me too.

That is chilling to me too. Especially when we read about the most high-profile killing -- but then another 14 people were killed in other parts of the state, another 20 were killed in another place, etc.

This was the first reason I got involved in the legalization movement. We just have to stop this violence. Not stirring things up like Calderon did would reduce it a lot relative to what Mexico is experiencing now -- in this case, that is, it's not always the government that catalyzes this sort of outbreak. But the routine violence level in the drug trade is bad enough, and really getting rid of it can only be achieved through legalization.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

Drug War

The corporate special interests like PhARMA are able to put their agenda. They keep the righteous right hot on abortion and fill their minds with the evils of a few drugs or plants that will compete with their extremely dangerous prescription drugs.

Then there is Monsanto with round up ready pesticide in plant itself agent orange producer killer of millions and no one in Power cares. Hell the US government pays $36 billion to farmers for GMO corn so we can poison our population with high fructose corn syrup. Now we are all fat ass diabetics taking Lipitor waiting for our first heart attack and by-pass surgery. I want my sugar cane back.

The hypocrisy lives on in the USA.

Thanks,
Dr. W. David Berglund

Berglund has it right

As he notes, there is a Monsanto drug war against illegal alien plants (i.e. non-fructose-diabetic). " P h A R M A " says it: an interconnected armaments industry. Almost enough, in some contexts, to surpass my other favorite " p H A R M a " for relevancy (but Lipitor kills infinity-percent more victims than cannabis).

One of the unspoken raps against cannabis is that by prosensitizing the palate, it increases interest in natural unprocessed organic foods which could lead to a steep drop in purchases of "corn syrup" junkfoods.

illegal Drugs vs. Legal Drugs

I disagree. Legalizing drugs will not stop Mexican Cartels and other out-of-the-country drug cartel violence. There will continue to be a drug war for the trade or market share.

Is the United States going to allow the cartels to do legitimate business in our country? Open up drug trade routes? I think more drugs, money, and guns will fflow, NOT less.

These are are some bad guys. I think legalization would empower them to be even more ruthless.

In North Carolina: The North Carolina Illegal Alien Crime Project
www.ncfire.info

I personally do not want the sale of these drugs sanctioned. Could care less if someone smokes pot, etc. It is the cartel culture that is vile.

Prohibition Drug v. Legal Drugs

"I disagree. Legalizing drugs will not stop Mexican Cartels and other out-of-the-country drug cartel violence. There will continue to be a drug war for the trade or market share."

Not sure if this is stigma, devils advocate, or stemmed from actual thought.analysis of the whole drug war but I disagree. If you legalize drugs you illegitimize the cartels. Well, you simply move from illegal cartel organizations to capitalistic businessmen... but you formally economize the drug industry and make you can actual regulate, monitor, tax, etc..

"There will continue to be a drug war for the trade or market share."

It won't be a WAR ahhh, instead more or less no different from competition between MNCs and firms in every industry in America.

"These are are some bad guys. I think legalization would empower them to be even more ruthless."

They're in power because it is illegal. They're ruthless because it is illegal. If the US made videogames illegal we'd have the same thing. Underground cartels running games and console systems and blowing the hell out of people and so on.

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