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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.

Pres. Calderon, whose crackdown helped spark the multi-year wave of violence
Friday, September 24

In Nuevo Leon, the mayor of the town of Doctor Gonzalez was shot and killed outside his home alongside his personal assistant. The motive for the killing remains unclear. Doctor Gonzalez is just over 30 miles from Monterrey.

Saturday, September 25

In Obregon, Sonora, a known-drug boss and reputed member of the Sinaloa Cartel was shot and killed with two other people. Reyes Castro Molina, 48, had previously been suspected of involvement in the assassination of Mexican singer Sergio Vega. Several days ago, a note threatening Molina was left with two dismembered bodies near the town of Sinaloa De Leyva. Molina attempted to flee while shooting at his attackers, but died after being hit by an AK-47 round.

Sunday, September 26

In Chihuahua, the bodies of six young men were discovered in an automobile. The bodies, which were discovered on the Jimenez-Villa Lopez highway, had been dead for at least two days. They had all been tortured and shot in the head.

In Ciudad Juarez, a man was killed and cut into pieces and left on a street corner. Additionally, his eyes had been gouged out and his genitals removed, according to one report. A note left by his killers accused the dead man of "killing innocent women" and being in the employ of a drug boss.

Additionally, a suspect in a July car bomb attack which killed three people was captured in the Ciudad Juarez. Jose Ivan Contreras Lumbreras, 27, allegedly killed a man and dressed him in police uniform to lure police to the bomb.

In Sinaloa, a 12-year old boy was shot in the head and killed after gunmen attacked the ranch in which he slept.

Monday, September 27

In Tancarito, Michoacan, the mayor and a city advisor were stoned to death and left in the bed of a pickup truck. Tancarito Mayor Gustavo Sanchez and city advisor Rafael Equiha were found near the city of Uruapan. Tancarito, a small town of 26,000, has long suffered from high levels of drug-related violence. Last year, the entire police force of 60 officers was fired after doing nothing to stop a series of drug-related attacks. Gustavo Sanchez is the fifth Mexican mayor to have been killed in the last six weeks.

In Coahuayana, Michoacan, five gunmen and a marine were killed in a firefight. Eight gunmen and a marine were killed in Reynosa.

In the city of Chihuahua, gunmen stormed a state police facility and stole arms and ammunition. Nobody was injured or killed in the incident. The raid is unprecedented as it is the first time a state police facility has come under this sort of attack. Approximately 43 assault rifles and 26 pistols were taken, along with grenades, body armor and tactical gear. Mexican news sources reported that the men were dressed in CIPOL (the state police intelligence unit) uniforms.

Tuesday, September 28

In Morelia, Michoacan, a judge has dismissed criminal charges against five police officials who had been arrested for links to drug trafficking organizations. The four state police and one city police officer were all from the port city of Lazaro Cardenas. All had been accused of protecting members of La Familia.

Total Body Count for the Week: 103

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,152

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico
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