Mexico's congressional elections, for the Chamber of Deputies, is scheduled for July 5. All 500 seats are at stake. President Felipe Caldeorn's government views the elections as a major political test of public support for his Cartel War. The government also expects violence to escalate as drug cartels attempt to intimidate voters and grab headlines. The government expects the Mexican Army to be tested in several places, especially Ciudad Juarez.
June 17, 2009: A new spate of drug war violence broke out in northern Mexico. Some 22 people died in "gang-related" violent incidents. Seven bodies were discovered in Durango state, all bearing signs of torture. Eleven people were killed in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state).
June 16, 2009: The Mexican Navy seized a ton of cocaine, which was hidden inside 20 frozen sharks carcasses. The frozen sharks were supposed to be shipped from Yucatan state to the US. You really can't make this stuff up.
A Catholic priest and two seminary students were shot and killed in the desert in western Mexico. Police said the men were dragged from their car by gunmen. Police theorized that the murders were "payback" because Catholic Church leaders in Mexico alleged that the government knew the whereabouts of a senior cartel drug lord but had not arrested him.
June 15, 2009: Police have arrested a cartel leader Juan Manuel Jurado Zarzoza (and three accomplices) who is behind the murder of former Mexican brigadier general Mauro Enrique Telio Quinones, who was killed in Cancun in February. The suspects are members of the Gulf Cartel. The Mexican military took the retired general's murder as a special affront.
The Mexican Army raided a "ranch" (likely a training facility) outside the city of Ciudad Juarez and arrested 25 suspected cartel gang members. The army report said the gang members were wearing soldiers uniforms. This looks like a major operational success by the Mexican Army.
June 14, 2009: The government is continuing its anti-corruption drive as part of its police reform program. The government arrested 87 policemen in Nuevo Leon state (northern Mexico) in early June. Many were arrested in the city of Monterrey on June 11, and 54 of those arrested admitted to taking bribe from drug gangs. The prosecutor's report included the statement by several arrested police officers (no number provided) that they had aided the Zetas (Los Zetas gang) by helping kidnap Mexican soldiers. The Zetas, who were founded by Mexican Army deserters, have said that they will challenge the Mexican Army. The Zetas have said they pay better than the army. They have also claimed that they can't be stopped (because they have so many local and regional police on their payroll). The government and Mexican Army is challenging the Zetas macho posturing.