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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 in August. 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:

Thursday, September 2

In Tamaulipas, 25 gunmen were killed in an army raid on a building in Ciudad Mier. Two soldiers were wounded in the fighting, which began after a military aircraft spotted a group of gunmen. In a separate incident, five gunmen were killed during a clash with soldiers near Juarez, Nuevo Leon the next day. All 30 of the dead are thought to be members of the Zetas Organization.

Near Tampico, Tamaulipas, gunmen kidnapped the cousin of Televisa owner Emilio Azcarraga Jean. Fernando Azcarraga Lopez, a former mayor of Tampico, was taken from a coffee shop and released four hours later.

Friday, September 3

In Cancun, authorities arrested six men in relation to a firebombing of a bar which killed eight people. The Attorney General for the state of Quintana Roo has said that the men have claimed to have been hired by a drug trafficking organization to throw gasoline bombs at the bar. It is unclear which drug gang is responsible for ordering the attack.

Saturday, September 4

In Chihuahua, a female municipal police officer was killed as her children slept in the next room. The incident occurred when a group of gunmen stormed her house. The two children were left unharmed, but a man who was in the house with her received a gunshot wound and was hospitalized.

Monday, September 6

In Nuevo Leon, a 15-year old boy and another individual were killed after soldiers opened fire on the car in which they were traveling at a checkpoint. The Department of Defense has said they are investigating the incident and expressed condolences to the family of the victims.

In Tamaulipas, the bodies of three men suspected of involvement in the murder of 72 migrants were discovered by authorities after receiving an anonymous tip. On Tuesday, one of the survivors of the attack said that he believed that the men were present during the incident.

Wednesday, September 8

In Tamaulipas, two bodies were discovered which appear to be those of a missing investigator and a police officer who were working on the case of the 72 murdered migrants. The bodies were found about 30 miles away from San Fernando, the town in which the massacre occurred.

Total Body Count for the Week: 158

Total Body Count for the Year: 7,728

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

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