Skip to main content

Mexico Drug War Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #678)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

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 36,000 people, including more than 15,000 last year. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest or killing 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:

prohibition fuels violence (image via Wikimedia)
Thursday, March 31

In Ciudad Juarez, nine men and a woman were killed during an attack on a bar near the international bridge to the US. At least three car loads and as many as 16 gunmen arrived at the bar before entering and firing indiscriminately.

Some witnesses and internet posters later accused federal police of complicity in the attack on the bar. By some accounts, federal police established a cordon around the area while the attack was still in progress, and some say that a federal police officers were in the bar as little as three minutes before the attack, allegedly threatening the owner to close. Some accounts also say federal police impeded municipal police who were arriving at the crime scene.

Between 621 and 632 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez during the first three months of 2011, according to statistics kept by researcher Molly Molloy.

Friday, April 1

In Ciudad Juarez, four people were killed when gunmen attacked an outdoor food stand. Among the dead was the 10-year old son of the stand's owner. The shooting occurred in extremely close proximity to a school where children were playing in the yard, leading many nearby parents to grab their children and run for cover.

In total, 24 people were killed in a 24 hour period in Ciudad Juarez between Thursday and Friday.

In El Paso, two people were convicted for kidnapping an American dealer in El Paso. The two men, Cesar Obregon-Reyes and Rafael Vega stand accused of kidnapping Sergio Saucedo because he lied to his suppliers about the date on which a 670-pound marijuana load was confiscated. Saucedo was later found in Juarez with his hands chopped off.

Sunday, April 3

In Veracruz, six police officers were killed by a group of gunmen armed with AK-47’s. A message was left in a nearby patrol car calling the officers "traitors," although it is unclear what the perpetrators meant by this. The Mexican government has said that the criminal organization responsible is likely from the state of San Luis Potosi, although declined to say which organization they believe responsible.

Monday, April 4

In Tijuana, two men were killed as they waited in line to cross the San Ysidro border crossing into the United States. Kevin Romero, 28, and Sergio Salcido, 25, were in their vehicle when a gunman approached their car and shot them both dead with a 9 mm handgun. The motive is unclear.

In Mexico City, the government announced a plan to give rewards for information on suspected money laundering activities. Tipsters will be rewarded with up to 25% of funds or property that authorities seize. The Mexican government has in the past struggled to deal with money laundering and illicit cash flows.

In Acapulco, two gunmen and a soldier were killed during an intense fire fight in the city’s Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. Additionally, a soldier and a police officer were wounded in the clash. Sometime during the 30-minute gun battle, gunmen set fire to a local market and auto repair shop, which were both completely destroyed. Nobody was injured in the blaze.

Tuesday, April 5

In Veracruz, police discovered five bodies in an empty lot in the town of Carlos A. Carillo. All five had been badly beaten, tortured, and then shot once in the head.

[Editor's Note: We typically rely on El Universal to supply a weekly body count. They didn't provide one this week, so this week's figure is based only on our own research and may be revised upward.]

Total Body Count for the Week: 97

Total Body Count for the Year: 1,864

Total Body Count for 2010: 15,273

Total Body Count for 2009: (approx.) 9,600

Total Body Count for 2008 (approx.): 5,400

Total Body Count for 2007 (approx): 4,300

Total Body Count for Calderon's drug war through 2010: 34,849

Total Body Count for Calderon's drug war to date: 36,713

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.


Ed D (not verified)

All of this death and destruction is CAUSED by prohibition.  Prohibition harms children.  Prohibition crushes freedom and liberty.  Prohibition is immoral.  Prohibition is big government, fiscally reckless and causes crime.

Hold our politicians accountable and demand a complete repeal of cannabis prohibition.  Referendums and jury nullification just two ways to stand up to our corrupt politicians.  Call into talk radio, challenge candidates in primaries and town hall meetings.  Stand up and speak out against this murderous policy.

What do you want for your children?  A good education or bigger prisons, war and death.  It is up to you!

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 4:38pm Permalink
malcolm kyle (not verified)

Because Drug cartels will always have an endless supply of ready cash for wages, bribery and equipment, no amount of tax money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again. Only an end to prohibition can do that! How much longer are you willing to foolishly risk your own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

If you support the Kool-Aid mass suicide cult of prohibition, and erroneously believe that you can win a war without logic and practical solutions, then prepare yourself for even more death, tortured corpses, corruption, terrorism, sickness, imprisonment, economic tribulation, unemployment and the complete loss of the rule of law.

The only thing prohibition successfully does is prohibit regulation & taxation while turning even our schools and prisons into black markets for drugs. Regulation would mean the opposite!

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 8:18am Permalink

All of these people lives could have been saved. Let's make drugs legal and deal with the necessary treatment that has to be done as a result. It is obvious that the "war on drugs" is not working. WAKE UP AMERICA!

America can be a leader in this area; and be the first country to take a bite out of crime. The money being wasted with the "war on drugs" can be used for some of these programs that are being cut. Jobs being lost can be turned around and more jobs created. The government can balance the budget and end up with a surplus instead of a deficit.

Bring American troops home from the middle east can also help in balancing the budget. Billions are being spent every day and the war goes on.

I hope that legalizing drugs will be a platform for some person wanting to be President. They will get my vote.

WAKE UP AMERICA, right now the largest death total in history is growing in Mexico. Money is the driving force in the drug trade. Take the profit out and that will take care of the problem. Sure there is going to be a spike in the use of drugs, but it will pass. Lots of money will be saved and lives spared. People can live without the fear of a group of gangs invading their town to make money off of drugs.

Some of those dollars being made off drugs are probably going to the middle east to fight American troops. I wouldn't put it out of the ream of possibilities that there are members of our enemies in Mexico in the drug trade and pushing the drugs into the US. It's possible.

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 10:54am Permalink
Solon (not verified)

   Until the Banks and wealthiest families of Europe decide so, drugs will remain illegal since this is where they get most of their cash. Of course, they don't dirty their hands with paper money. They use real money, which they are buying massive positions in.

   None of this has a bloody thing to do with morals or harm or addiction or any silly idea that TPTB care what happens to us. They don't wish us harm, they wish us dead. And as long as American troops guard Karzai's opium crop it will just get worse. The US-Anglo monster is hooked on dope.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 12:26am Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.