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Mexico Drug War Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #674)

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

[This article updates a version that was published on our web site a week ago, but after the email edition had already been distributed. It includes Mexico drug war information from the last two weeks, as opposed to the usual one week.]

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 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 creates an endless supply of hot guns and cold cash. (Image via Wikimedia)
Thursday, February 24

In Zapopan, Jalisco, a senior police commander and his wife were shot and killed when his vehicle was ambushed by heavily armed gunmen. Jesus Quirarte Ruvalcaba was the commander of a state police unit which specializes in car thefts. Car theft in Mexico is often related to or controlled by drug trafficking organizations.

In Houston, Texas, a police officer was wounded after being shot in a raid on the home of a suspect with ties to a Mexican drug cartel. The officer is in good condition. A suspect was also wounded after being hit by gunfire and is in good condition.

In Saltillo, Coahuila, a former governor admitted that the previous PRI administration had controlled and negotiated with drug trafficking organizations, which kept violence manageable. Former Nuevo Leon Governor Socrates Rizzo is the first former PRI official to speak this openly about party deals with drug trafficking organizations, although it has long been well-known in Mexico.

Saturday, February 26

In Torreon, Coahuila, 13 people were died and at least 18 were wounded in two separate attacks on bars in the city.

Sunday, February 27

In Saltillo, Coahuila, a Zeta commander was captured. He is alleged to be connected to the incident in which two American ICE agents were shot -- with one killed -- in early February. Sergio "El Toto" Mora is accused by Mexican authorities of being the regional Zetas commander in the state of San Luis Potosi. At least nine other arrests have been made in connection with the shooting of the ICE agents.

In Ciudad Juarez, 11 people were killed in several incidents in the city. In one incident, five men were killed when gunmen attacked a bar the Colonia Villa Esperanza area of the city. In another part of the city, a man was found murdered in a house where we had apparently been held hostage.

Monday, February 28

In Juarez, eight people were murdered in several attacks across the city. In one incident, four people, including a ten-year old boy, were killed when their car was attacked by gunmen. A five-year was severely wounded. Saturday's killings bring the total number of dead in the city to approximately 229 for the month of February, 36 percent are females. This is about a 40 percent increase over the same time period of 2010.

In Dallas, Texas, three suspects were arrested after police linked them to the weapon used in the recent killing of an American ICE agent in San Luis Potosi.

In Chilpancingo, Guerrero, a police chief was ambushed by gunmen armed with AK-47s. The police chief, Humberto Velazquez Delgado, was wounded and four of his bodyguards were killed. Approximately 400 shell casing from AK-47 rounds were found at the scene.

Tuesday, March 1

In Guerrero, 17 bodies were discovered in two clandestine graves near the town of San Miguel Totolapan. This is the third time mass graves have been discovered in Guerrero in less than a year. Additionally, four bodies were found dumped on the highway between the coastal city of Acapulco and Mexico City.

In Tamaulipas, eight gunmen were killed in a fire-fight with Mexican marines near the town of Valle Hermoso, which is close to the US border.

In Washington, a top law enforcement officer announced that 678 gang members, many of whom have ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations, have been arrested during a two-month operation, called "Operation Southern Tempest." Approximately have the suspects -- which came from 113 different gangs around the country -- have ties to drug trafficking groups, and two-thirds are foreign nationals.

Wednesday , March 2

Near Phoenix, Arizona, police said that the decapitation of a local man in October is related to Mexican cartel activity. Martin Alejandro Cota Monroy, 38, was allegedly killed by a three-man team for ripping off a 400-pound load of marijuana. One of his killers is in custody. According to police, Monroy first told the cartel that his load had been confiscated, and then, when they found out, offered his house as collateral until he could pay his debt. He was killed after they found out he didn't own the house. The killers are thought to have moved in next door to befriend Monroy before killing him.

In Ciudad Juarez, nine people were murdered.

Sunday, March 6

In Mexico City, Mexican officials asked for clarification on an ATF operation which allowed American guns to flow to Mexico in an effort to track the supply lines of weapons to Mexican cartels. Among the guns were two AK-47's that were used in the attack on the ICE agents in February.

In Ciudad Juarez, 13 people were murdered in several incidents across the city. At least three of the incidents had more than one victim. In one attack, three men were killed after gunmen sprayed a bar -- which is within sight of the US consulate -- with gunfire. Four others were wounded. In another incident, five people, including one woman, were found executed. These killings bring the death toll in Juarez for the first six days of March to 31. The total for the year is 494, including at least 55 females.

Monday, March 7

In Abasolo, Tamaulipas, a gun battle between rival cartel gunmen left 18 people dead. The battle was almost certainly between members of the Gulf Cartel and their former enforcers, the Zetas, who have been at war for just over a year now.

Near Guasave, Sinaloa, gunmen attacked a police convoy, killing seven police officers and one prisoner. The attack was an apparent attempt to rescue one or both of two prisoners who were being transported to the state capitol of Culiacan. Over 1,200 rounds were fired during the attack.

Tuesday, March 8

In Chilpancingo, Guerrero, three government offices were attacked by assailants, who doused the offices in gasoline and set them on fire. The motive for the attack is unclear, but the area has high levels of drug related violence.

In Texas, officials announced that the 20-year old female police chief of the Mexican town of Praxedis G. Guerrero is seeking asylum in the United States, apparently after having received threats. Marisol Valles Garcia made international headlines when she took the job. The local government has fired her for abandoning her post. Local police will answer to the Mayor until a replacement can be found.

In Mazatlan, Sinaloa, armed men attacked a nightclub with automatic weapons. At least twenty people were wounded in the attack. The gunmen managed to escape, despite the fact that police and army units were nearby

Wednesday, March 9

In San Luis Potosi, Mexican authorities arrested another suspected Zeta thought to be involved in the February 15 incident in which a US ICE agent was killed. Mario Jimenez Perez, 41, is alleged by Mexican authorities to be in charge of Zeta financial operations in San Luis Potosi, where the attacks took place.

Total Body Count for last Week: 88

Total Body Count for this Week: 52

Total Body Count for the Year: 1,315

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: 36,164

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.


Gart Valenc (not verified)


Prohibition and the War on Drugs policies are a total and undeniable failure and even to think that the problem will disappear by gunning down the drug cartels is not only wishful thinking, is just blatant stupidity (see the balloon effect). But what you do when a criminal organisation manages to cumulate almost unimaginable power (economically and politically speaking) and makes of corruption and violence the means through which that power is kept and feed? What do you do when these organisations manage to interfere, manipulate and determine who should be elected to all sorts of public bodies? And let’s be clear about it, it is not as if the drug cartels were a marginal criminal organisation, a mere nuisance, an anecdotal punctuation in the daily lives of million of citizens all over Latin American countries. Just the opposite.

One may debate about the optimal strategy to rein on the drug cartels power and whether declaring all out war on them is the best tactic, but are we to believe, really, that as some commentaters around the corner in the blogsphere (see the current discussion on this same topic on  wardrugrant blog) that the best strategy is do nothing and left the drug cartels alone? Should we just try to appease these bloody thirsty organisation, and every other criminal organisation that blackmail us with unimaginable atrocities, and say: you do your business but be discrete: hear nothing, see nothing!

One has to be totally disingenuous or blatantly ignorant about the recent history of Latin Americato believe that doing nothing is just right. One may ignore the corrupting and destabilising force drug cartels represent at our peril.

The only way to cut drug cartels power for good, to effectively stop their violence and corrosive influence is to put an end to Prohibition. A regime sponsored, sustained and imposed by the U.S.A.As long as the atrocious price paid for U.S.A.policies remains in foreign soil, as long as they do their business discreatly, we have hear nothing, see nothing!

Gart Valenc

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 5:38pm Permalink
Debrinconcita (not verified)

In reply to by Gart Valenc (not verified)

We all know that this never will work in the end? I guess if fixed the problem by not seeing it and not to be bothered by it. BUT, it will grow to be something bigger than imaginable. HOPEFULLY they seen the light now? cause this type of treatment won't work especially when CRIME is involved? If all the Police and the Border Patrol worked together as one is the only solution. BUT, they are at WAR with each other as it is. WHY should they help the DEA & Other US forces when they get nothing for it,at least they get compensation from the Drug LORDS. It's gonna take a real plan to get something done to resolve this but without TOGETHERNESS it will never be a long terrm solution.

Thu, 03/10/2011 - 11:38am Permalink
Kevin M. Jones (not verified)

The murder of the ICE agent on Feb. 15, 2011 was the trigger of world wide raids and militaristic abuses to people all over. We need to start representing the failures in every venue they aspire to celebrate successes.


Grab some information and find your local papers "Letter to the Editor" sections. Write them and tell them they missed. Let them know that there is still drugs on every street, and they haven't stopped anything. The citizens of the world need to know and share how useless this War on Drugs really is. For every statement our loyal enforcers make about reducing the flow of drugs, or "taking these dangerous drugs off the streets", there are hundreds of consumers hooking up with the other guy they know but don't usually go to.


Be a part of the fix, Get out there and inform some folks in places that they aren't hearing the truth.


Peace to all

Sun, 03/06/2011 - 2:39pm Permalink

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