Mexican Drug War

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Michoacan Peace March Turns Into Rally for La Familia Drug Lord

Location: 
MIC
Mexico
A peace march called by the government of the Mexican town of Apatzingan was the scene of a deadly gun battle between federal forces and the local drug trafficking organization ended up as a rally in support of a slain drug lord. Photographs show people who took part in the march carrying posters expressing support for La Familia. Mayor Genaro Guizar seemed to lay the blame for the violence on the federal government, not La Familia.
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times (CA)
URL: 
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/2010/12/peace-march-rally-drug-lord-michoacan-familia-mexico.html

Senators Introduce Bill to Create Western Hemisphere Drug Commission

US Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Dick Lugar (R-IN) last Wednesday introduced a bill that would create an independent commission to evaluate US policies and programs aimed at reducing the supply of and demand for illegal drugs in the Americas. Similar legislation sponsored by Reps. Elliot Engel (D-NY) and Connie Mack (R-FL) passed the House one year to the day earlier.

The bill, the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2010, also known as SB 4001, would also require that the commission recommend a multiyear anti-drug strategy to address what the members called "the escalating security crisis in the hemisphere fueled by the illicit narcotics trade." That strategy will "describe the assistance required to achieve regional counternarcotics goals and methodology for countering shifts in production and transit routes by producers and traffickers due to pressure from counternarcotics efforts."

The 10-member commission would consist of two members appointed by the executive branch and eight members appointed by the congressional leadership.

If the comments of Sens. Menendez and Lugar below are any indication, the commission's charge will not be to come up with an alternative to drug prohibition, but to find more effective means of prosecuting the drug war.

"While we have had some notable successes in the hemisphere, the plague of narcotics and organized crime has surged in Mexico and Central America and remains an intractable problem in much of the rest of the region," said Sen. Menendez on introducing the bill. "It is imperative that we assess our efforts at home and aboard to determine where we are succeeding and where we are not.  Despite the billions of dollars spent on counternarcotics efforts in the Western Hemisphere, hard data proves that the positive results have been limited and that we still face a very real challenge. We need a comprehensive and smart policy that looks at both the supply and demand side of the issue -- domestic prevention and treatment programs, as well as a long-term multi-year counternarcotics strategy -- and that ultimately succeeds in turning around this epidemic of drugs and crime that is destroying families, communities, and undermining the rule of law both at home and abroad."

"Though we still have a long way to go, it is clear that efforts to fight the common threat posed to the hemisphere by drug traffickers and organized crime are showing some positive results. It is also clear that many of these efforts should be strengthened," said Sen. Lugar. "As the creation of this commission suggests, the United States should undertake a broad review of further steps to determine what is working and reassess the implementation of those policies that are not. I am especially interested in efforts to bolster the role of the US military and the intelligence community to help combat cartels headquartered in Mexico with reach in Central American countries, Venezuela and throughout the region. New approaches might include ways to jointly deploy aviation, surveillance and intelligence assets where necessary. Ultimate victory in this war will require improving capabilities, adapting tactics to counter threats by cartels and building closer partnerships with the hemisphere’s willing governments," Lugar concluded.

The US government has poured tens of billions of dollars into fighting the hemispheric war on drugs in recent decades, but has little to show for it. After a decade of Plan Colombia and the expenditure of $7 billion, the US can point to reductions in coca production there (although some of it has simply moved to Peru, which is now arguably the world's number one producer). After three years of Plan Merida and the expenditure of $1.4 billion, prohibition-related violence in Mexico is worse than ever.

Washington, DC
United States

Mexican Drug Prohibition War Crossfire Kills Baby

Location: 
Apatzingan, MIC
Mexico
An eight-month-old infant was fatally wounded after being caught in the crossfire during a gun battle between police and drug traffickers, authorities and police said. The baby was shot during a gunfight in the town of Apatzingan in the western Mexican state of Michoacan.
Publication/Source: 
Canoe News (Canada)
URL: 
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2010/12/09/16487861.html

School Paid a Salary to Alleged Mexican Drug Lord‎

Location: 
MIC
Mexico
A man Mexican prosecutors say is one of the country's most-wanted drug kingpins has collected a salary from the Mexican school system for years, according to official documents, showing the ability of fugitives to draw support from the very government charged with capturing them. Servando "La Tuta" Gómez, a reputed leader and spokesman for the La Familia drug trafficking organization, held a tenured position at an elementary school in the central state of Michoacán and has received paychecks for 15 years.
Publication/Source: 
The Wall Street Journal (NY)
URL: 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704447604576007984261285612.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

3 Juárez Officers Ambushed and Slain Outside School, Police Death Toll Now 64

Location: 
Ciudad Juárez, CHH
Mexico
Three Juárez police officers were shot and killed in an ambush outside an elementary school, and when other officers responded, they were fired on also. Their deaths raise the number of police officers killed due to Mexico's failed drug prohibition war to 64 this year in the most violent city in Mexico.
Publication/Source: 
El Paso Times (TX)
URL: 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_16812877?source=most_emailed

Mexican Children Learn to Take Cover in Drug Prohibition War

Location: 
Acapulco, GRO
Mexico
Mexican officials are teaching school children how to dive for cover if they come under fire from gangs fighting over the Pacific beach city of Acapulco as drug prohibition violence reaches deeper into everyday life. At a drill in an Acapulco primary school this week, instructors used toy guns that simulated the sound of real gunfire. "Get down, let's go!" shouted an instructor as children threw themselves on the ground in classrooms and the playground and then crawled toward safety, burying their heads in their hands.
Publication/Source: 
MSNBC
URL: 
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40571896/ns/world_news-americas/

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 30,000 people, including more than 9,000 this 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:

Ciudad Juarez
Wednesday, December 1

In Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas, a town official said that residents have begun to return to the town nearly a month after being forced to flee by groups of marauding gunmen thought to belong to the Zetas Organization. Army operations are ongoing in the area. The area has been hard hit by fighting between the Zetas Organization and their former employers, the Gulf Cartel.

Friday, December 3

In Morelos, authorities arrested a 14-year old boy accused of beheading and mutilated his victims while operating as a cartel assassin. Edgar Jimenez, aka "El Ponchis," was taken into custody as he attempted to fly to Tijuana, with the eventual goal of fleeing to San Diego, where it has been said he is originally from. He stands accused of operating as part of a unit of assassins which included his 19-year old sister. It has also been alleged that he cut off the heads of his victims and mutilated their genitals.

Saturday, December 4

In Ciudad Juarez, at least 16 people were murdered across the city. In one incident, four municipal police officers were shot and killed after being ambushed by cartel gunmen using automatic weapons and traveling in at least three vehicles. This brings the number of police killed in the city this year to 136, 61 of whom were members of the municipal police.

In another incident, six people were gunned down when armed men stormed an auto-repair shop.

Sunday, December 5

In Ciudad Juarez, four people were killed when armed men simultaneously attacked two drug rehabilitation centers, marking the latest in a series of bloody attacks on rehab facilities in the city.

In Tamaulipas, soldiers freed 16 hostages after shooting dead two gunmen near Ciudad Victoria.

Monday, December 6

In Ciudad Juarez, six people were killed in the city. Among the dead was Erika Elizabeth Silva Rivera, 31, a state investigator assigned to work sex crimes. A female partner of hers was wounded in the attack. In another incident, a bound man was shot dead and his body set aflame.

Tuesday, December 7

In Ciudad Juarez, five people were killed in the city. One incident was a triple homicide at a body shop. This brings the number of murders in the city to 2,932 for the year. About 7,300 people have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez since January 2008.

Total Body Count for the Week: 102

Total Body Count for the Year: 9,507

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

Teenage Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization Hitman Is a U.S. Citizen

Location: 
Mexico
The floppy-haired 14-year-old turned, like any other modern teen, to YouTube to make his confession. But unlike a typical 8th-grader, Edgar Jimenez confessed to beheading people for Mexican Drug Traffickers for the price of $2,500 each. Mexican authorities nabbed the "hit boy" known as "El Ponchis" at an airport; he was en route to Tijuana, where he and his teenage sister were planning to sneak into San Diego. Why? He's an American citizen.
Publication/Source: 
The Atlantic Wire (DC)
URL: 
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/Teenage-Cartel-Hitman-Is-a-US-Citizen-6081

2010 Nobel Prizewinner Mario Vargas Llosa Calls for Legalization of Drugs

Location: 
Vargas Llosa said, "Drugs have to be legalized and all the huge sums of money that currently are invested in their repression, should be put into treatment, prevention and education, as has been done for example in the case of tobacco, with great success."
Publication/Source: 
PODER (FL)
URL: 
http://www.poder360.com/dailynews_detail.php?blurbid=10123

Drug Gang Reportedly Sets Fire to Juárez Kindergarten

Location: 
Ciudad Juárez, CHH
Mexico
A school in Colonia San Antonio was supposedly torched because school staff refused demands for payment made by drug gang extortionists. Classes were canceled indefinitely.
Publication/Source: 
El Paso Times (TX)
URL: 
http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_16794608?source=most_viewed

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