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Latin America: Mexico Drug War Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #636)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

by Bernd Debussman, 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 an estimated 23,000 people, with a death toll of nearly 8,000 in 2009 and over 4,000 so far in 2010. 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:

Sunday, May 29

In Morelos, the body of a prison warden was found dismembered and scattered across several locations. Suspected cartel gunmen kidnapped Luis Navarro the previous day as he arrived to work. Morelos State has seen a significant increase in violence in 2010 as rival factions battle for leadership positions in the Beltran-Leyva Organization, which was left leaderless after the December killing of boss Arturo Beltan-Leyva.

Tuesday, June 1

In the city of Chihuahua, two men were shot dead in front of dozens of panicked children outside a primary school. The incident began after heavily armed men exited a truck and began shooting at two men who were walking on the sidewalk. Teachers immediately had the students, all between the ages of six and twelve, lay prone on the floor. Several dozen bullets struck the schoolyard, and several struck the walls of a classroom. Classes were immediately canceled and parents were instructed to pick up their children.

In Guerrero, six people were killed during a running gun battle between groups of rival gunmen along an eleven-mile stretch of highway. In other violence, seven people were killed in Baja California, three each in Sinaloa, Sonora, Michoacan, and the State of Mexico, two in Veracruz, and one each in Nuevo Leon and Durango.

Wednesday, June 2

In Vicente Guerrero, Durango, a high-ranking police official was killed as he was in the hospital for physical therapy. The incident occurred after two gunmen snuck past his bodyguards and shot him six times, and wounding two other individuals, one of whom was a minor.

In Ciudad Juarez, a three year old girl was killed alongside her father after their car was sprayed with gunfire. In the notorious drug-trafficking town of Guanecevi, Durango, a 21-year old male who had been missing for 10 days was found dead. In Monterrey, a couple was killed in a bar by men wielding automatic weapons. In Tijuana, four people were killed in various incidents.

Saturday, June 5

In Guerrero, at least 37 bodies have so far been recovered from a mass grave discovered at an abandoned mine shaft on May 30. Due to the large number of bodies recovered so far, some have had to be sent to Acapulco due to a lack of local facilities in which to store the bodies. Although the identities of the bodies have yet to be determined, authorities believe they were all killed in drug-related violence over an unspecified amount of time. The number of bodies was later changed to 55.

In Durango, four police officers were wounded in an attack on Durango State Public Safety Secretary General Valentin Romano. The attack occurred when heavily armed gunmen used automatic weapons and grenades to attack the general's convoy as it made it's way to a country club where was planning to play tennis. The attack was well planned, with gunmen opening fire in at least three other locations across the city to draw security forces away from the area where it took place.

Sunday, June 6

In Guerrero, three people were killed when gunmen raided a girl's 15th birthday party. One of those who died was an attacker who was killed after an exchange of gunfire with armed men who were in attendance at the party.

Monday, June 7

In Ciudad Juarez, 15 people were killed across the city. In one incident, four people were shot dead in an auto shop. In another, two people were gunned down in a shopping center. Two people were found out the Seven and Seven bar in the Cuernavaca neighborhood. The Seven and Seven was the scene of another multiple homicide several months agoi. These killings bring the number of murders in Ciudad Juarez to 50 for the month of June, and 1,130 for 2010.

Tuesday, June 8

In Culiacan, Sinaloa, six prison inmates were killed after having their throats cut. Culiacan has long been a central location in the Mexican drug trade. Additionally, another prison fight in Ciudad Juarez left three inmates dead and a federal police officer severely beaten.

Wednesday, June 9

In Mexico City, 45 pounds of explosive were seized by Mexico's Navy after a raid in the Roma neighborhood of the city. Federal authorities have recently stated that they believe drug cartels are in search of explosive materials for attacks on buildings are for use in roadside bombs. The hostel were the raid took place is just blocks away from a 2008 bomb incident, in which a would-be bomber was killed in an attempt to attack a local police station. The plot was later traced to Sinaloa-based drug traffickers.

In Manzanillo, Colima, eight gunmen were killed and five Marines were wounded after a Marine patrol was ambushed just outside the city. At least one of those killed was a woman, and another was found to be a Colombian national. Preliminary reports the attackers were affiliated with the Beltran-Leyva organization.

Total Body Count for the last two weeks: 437

Total Body Count for the Year: 4,794

Read the last Mexico Drug War Update here.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Slang Poetry (not verified)

La publicidad tiene razón. La identidad de los sicarios no importa mucho. La gente podría ser neutral pero ha adoptado una actitud extrema en cuanto a ciertas cuestiones. Se ha declarado violentamente en contra. Por lo tanto la responsabilidad de tantas ejecuciones y hechos violentos es una responsabilidad compartida. La sociedad no ha pedido un inalienable derecho a la vida, no ha pedido la revisión de los patrones de conducta que la hacen congratularse con los asesinos. Por lo tanto no debe protestar, no debe buscar culpables en una tiranía declarada. La vida parece estar hecha para quienes aceptan los esquemas de comportamiento que han arrojado estos hechos violentos y la población se siente incapaz de modificar términos y condiciones. "Pues no vamos a votar" dirán algunos, pero no votar no es suficiente. Es indicio de algo, pero no basta. A través de los distintos medios de comunicación la población (si le interesa esta propuesta) debería pedir la revisión de los patrones de conducta que nos rigen, la revisión de la situación de la vida en relación con el aparato político y jurídico. Gritar Ya basta! está bien, falta la proposición de alternativas a un nivel político. Estamos siendo víctimas de un patrón de conducta que se pretende que sea requisito de vida. Si aceptamos tal patrón de pensamiento y conducta no nos queda más que aplaudir las muertes violentas y solidarizarnos con esa entidad para la cual la vida humana no vale un cacahuate.

muchas gracias - saludos cordiales

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 11:25am Permalink
Katia (not verified)

It saddens me deeply how the Mexican government did no take precaution from the start. The corruption and lies that they have seeded into their government only worsen the problems. Their own citizens fear for their lives and have taken acknowledgment of this from the 90's starting with the lost women of Juarez. What further saddens me is the fact that I am unable to visit my hometown in fear that I will stick out like a soar thumb. The more media attention that we can spread via Internet will probable be one of the only ways reporters can remain anonymous and still cover the massacres and the macabre that goes on in the cities....

Mon, 06/21/2010 - 4:36am Permalink

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