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Mexico Drug War Update

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #650)
Politics & Advocacy

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:

Wednesday, September 15

In Tamaulipas, 22 gunmen were killed during a two-hour gun battle with the army. The incident began when soldiers investigating suspicious activity came under fire. Twenty-five rifles and several grenades were seized during the incident.

In a separate incident, 19 gunmen were killed in a clash with the army in Nuevo Leon.

Thursday, September 16

In Ciudad Juarez, a young photojournalist was shot and killed in a parking lot. Luis Carlos Santiago, 21, worked for the Juarez daily El Diario. He became the second reporter from the paper to have been killed in two years. In 2008, the newspaper's lead crime reporter was shot and killed outside his home. A prosecutor assigned to his killing was also assassinated. A second photojournalist was critically wounded.

On Sunday, El Diario published a front-page editorial directed at the cities drug cartels, asking "What do you want from us?" and said that the cartels had become the de-facto authorities in the city. That prompted strong criticism from the Calderon administration, which said you cannot negotiate with criminals.

Friday, September 17

In Ciudad Juarez, eight people were killed when gunmen opened fire inside a crowded bar just after 4:00am. The seven men and one woman were aged between 20 and 35. The former owner of the bar, Wilfred Moya, was shot and killed at the same location about two years ago.

Sunday, September 19

In Guerrero, the bodies of six police officers were recovered from a ravine. This brings the total death toll from a mass abduction of nine police officers who were taken captive by gunmen in the community of El Revelado to eight. Of the bodies that were recovered Sunday, four were dismembered. A note threatening authorities was left alongside the bodies. No motive or suspects have been announced in the attack.

Monday, September 20

In Ciudad Juarez, authorities released four men who had previously been accused of 55 murders, due to a lack of evidence. The men had been in custody in Mexico City for two months before being returned to Juarez, and are mandated to come to another hearing on Thursday, although they are no longer incarcerated. All four are suspected of belong to the Artist Assassins, a local drug gang which is allied to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Tuesday, September 21

Near Ciudad Juarez, a mob beat to death two alleged kidnappers. Federal police intervened, but the crowd blocked their squad cars and the two men died of their wounds. The town of Ascension, where the incident occurred, has been particularly hard hit by drug-related kidnappings and killings.

Wednesday, September 22

A Ciudad Juarez newspaper editor has been given asylum because of threats against his life in Mexico. Jorge Luis Aguirre is the editor of the online newspaper La Polaka. Last year, he testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his experiences as a journalist in Mexico. More than 30 journalists have been killed or have vanished since 2006.

Total Body Count for the Week: 187

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,049

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update

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.


kickback (not verified)

The Mexican government has been claiming that " over 28,000 "  people have been killed in Calderon`s drug war. How many is " over 28,000" ? 28,000 + 8,000= 36,000. Or is the actual number closer to 50,000? Has the Mexican government decided to just stick with the " over 28,000 " number to avoid informing the public to the real death toll number of their insane drug war. Does Washington fear a global public backlash if the real numbers are reported? Something fishy is going on obviously.

Wed, 09/22/2010 - 8:51pm Permalink
Concerned Citizen (not verified)

If you are an American Citizen then you are responsible for the deaths in Mexico.  It is your money that has helped the Mexican Drug War.  If we had not given them Billions over many years then there interest in this so called "Drug War" would not be there.  So if you feel something fishy is going on then you need to vote your tax dollars for other uses.

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 7:52pm Permalink
Underdog6 (not verified)

What will it take for America to recognize its moral failure in exporting our War on Drugs?  How do we balance the deaths of over 28,000 Mexicans over the past four years with our desire to reduce the harms associated with drug prohibition?  When will we grasp the simple fact that the vast majority of harms associated with drugs arises from their illegal status? 

Particularly regarding marijuana where sixty percent of cartel profits arise from the production and sale of marijuana, we really do have blood on our hands when we deny a regulated, taxed and controlled market for this relatively benign herb. 

Marijuana is dangerous because it is illegal, not illegal because it is dangerous.  Can America recognize the difference?

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 11:10am Permalink
arrowrod (not verified)

This is never going to end.   I'm surprised that Calderon hasn't been assassinated.  He must have half of the Mexican army surrounding his bunker.  


How can Calderon trust anybody in the army?  


When a group of "drug cartel gunman" ambushes a U.S. Border Patrol unit, what is going to happen? 

Sat, 10/02/2010 - 11:07pm Permalink
Ash1210 (not verified)

In reply to by arrowrod (not verified)

According to the Mitofsky polling firm, Mexico's army is the third most trusted institution, only behind the Catholic Church and higher education. Western media, driven by ratings and an exaggerated "failed state" mentality, have looked beyond this and has countlessly accused the Mexican Armed Services as insufficient and poorly trained. When the reality is that Mexico's Army is a capable force and by far the most loyal.


The "Estado Mayor Presidencial" (EMP - Presidential Guard) is responsible for President Calderon's personal protection, much like the US Secret Service. It is a branch under the Ministry of National Defence and hence all members are soldiers. They undergo a poligraf test and vigorous physical training. It would be logical to asume that President Calderon has not been victim of attack primarily because his residence, Los Pinos, is surrounded by a military base (Camp Mars) in Mexico City.

Fri, 10/08/2010 - 2:18am Permalink
Anonymous1234 (not verified)

In reply to by arrowrod (not verified)

@ "When a group of "drug cartel gunman" ambushes a U.S. Border Patrol unit, what is going to happen? "


Nothing helpful...just a lot of huffing and puffing and threatening....our gov't is just so busy being pc that all they do is shove money at the issue and do nothing!!! just my opinion

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 5:26pm Permalink
Anonymous100001 (not verified)

In reply to by arrowrod (not verified)

Certain people blame the U.S citizens for contributing "economically," however, is preseident's Felipe calderon's approach effective at all?

Sun, 11/27/2011 - 5:29pm Permalink

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