Mexico: Government Joins the Border War


January10, 2007: At the end of 2006, Mexico's counter-drug war moved north toward the U.S.-Mexico border. During the first week of January 3,300 Mexican Army troops and federal police launched search and seizure operations against drug gangs and suspected narcotics smugglers in Baja California Norte state. The city of Tijuana as a specific target. The Mexican security personnel also went into local police stations and seized the guns of some officers the government suspects are dealing with narcotics traffickers. On January 3 several police stations in the Tijuana area were searched. Local police reported that they were receiving death threats from drug gangs and border press sources said that some policemen quit patrol work after their guns were seized. Subsequently, state and federal police appeared on the streets accompanying the local policemen. Both Mexican and US observers have said the action in northern Baja California demonstrates President Felipe Calderon's resolve to fulfill campaign pledges to battle the drug gangs. Tijuana is a huge economic asset and is part of a "dual" metropolitan area (Tijuana and San Diego). The move into Tijuana confronts the gangs on what they have considered to be their "turf." It also brings Mexico's drug war directly before the cameras and eyes of the US media.

January 8, 2007: Defeated PRD presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced he will start his own "late night TV show." Lopez Obrador believes the Mexican media is "biased" against him. The statement provided no details on the program, but it will without a doubt be a talk show.

January 5, 2007: The U.S. Border Patrol reported that a National Guard detachment pulled out of an observation post near Sasabe, Arizona, when their position was approached by "four to five" armed men, who apparently crossed the U.S.-Mexican border. The report said the armed intruders were not aware of the National Guard position. The incident took place at night on January 3. The guardsmen were following Border Patrol operating procedures. The Border Patrol uses National Guardsmen as observers who are to report illegal activities to federal law enforcement agencies. A Border Patrol spokesman said that Border Patrols agents arrived on the site "within minutes." The Border Patrol team said that it followed tracks left by the intruders back "the Mexican border." National Guard personnel can defend themselves if they are threatened. They are not authorized, however, to apprehend illegal immigrants.

Mexican authorities reported finding nine bodies in a mass grave in Michoacan State (western Mexico). The grave site was not far from Uruapan. Michoacan State was the center of a large-scale counter-drug operation by the Mexican Army in December 2006. The Mexican police reported they found the bodies after an "anonymous tip." The Mexican government reported that over five hundred murders occurred in Michoacan state during 2006.




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