Mexico: As Juarez Bleeds


November 4, 2010: The government has made strides in its anti-corruption drive. Judicial and police reform have been major lines of operation. The government has stressed internal investigation procedures as a way of policing the police, and the government believes the internal investigation program has produced positive results. For several months the national government has been contemplating large-scale organizational reform. One proposal is to eliminate several hundred municipal police departments. Well, the departments would not go away, they would, however, be under the direct control of state police commands. President Felipe Calderon backs this particular approach. Advocates believe it would allow police commanders to move personnel to threatened areas. Organized criminal syndicates can simply overwhelm small town police departments. Advocates also argue that state police command permit better oversight of local cops who might be susceptible to bribes. And there is a lot of bribe money. The amount of money generated by drug smuggling is simply enormous.

November 2, 2010: Four people were shot dead on a road outside of the resort town of Acapulco. Evidence at the scene indicated the four people had engaged in a firefight with other gunmen and described the crime as a gangland shoot-out. All four of the dead suffered from multiple bullet wounds.

October 31, 2010: The U.S. government said that four American citizens were murdered in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state). The American citizens were killed in separate incidents over a two day period (October 30-31). One of the murdered Americans was killed when gunmen fired at a group of people standing outside a family home. Two others were killed as they drove in a car near an international bridge leading to El Paso, Texas.

October 27, 2010: The entire police department (14 officers) in the town of Los Ramones (Nuevo Leon state) quit after drug cartel gunmen attacked their main police station. The attack occurred on the night of October 25. The gunmen fired an estimated 1000 rounds of ammunition at the municipal police headquarters then threw hand grenades. No one died in the attack, but the local police got the message: the cartel gunmen have a huge firepower advantage and resistance is futile. The headquarters had been opened on October 22. Nuevo Leon state borders Texas. The Mexican government says Los Ramones is located in a major drug smuggling corridor which two cartels, Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, are fighting over.

Cartel gunmen murdered 15 people in the town of Tepic (western Mexico, Nayarit state). Police said three vehicles (carrying the gunmen) pulled up to a carwash and opened fire on a crowd of people standing in the immediate area. Several of the people murdered worked at the car wash. This was the third in a series of sensational massacres within a five day period. Why the attacks? The drug gangs fight among themselves, with gunmen from one cartel killing gunmen who work for a rival group. The gangsters may only have two or three rival gunmen on their hit list, but when the shooting starts whoever is in range risks getting killed. The big body counts also insure big headlines, even in a nation used to gangland violence. The big headlines send the message that the police and military cannot protect Mexico's citizens. The idea is that eventually the government will face a political backlash from frightened citizens, and then it will have to call off the Cartel War.

October 24, 2010: Cartel gunmen attacked a drug rehabilitation clinic in Tijuana (Baja California state) and killed 13 people (recovering drug addicts according to the police report). A survivor said that the attackers entered the clinic, ordered people in the clinic to lie down on the floor, then began shooting them. Police said there appeared to be no motive for the crime though drug clinics have been targets of mass slayings in the past.

In Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state), three municipal policemen were murdered by suspected cartel gunmen as the cops got out of their police car.

October 22, 2010: 14 people were murdered and another ten wounded while attending a house party in Ciudad Juarez. Police reported the victims were between the ages of 14 and 30. Survivors reported gunmen pulled up in vehicles outside the house, entered the house, and began shooting.

October 20, 2010: This is interesting. A 20 year old criminology student became the police chief in a small town near Ciudad Juarez-- because no one else would take the job. The student is a woman. She said she is going to promote crime prevention programs. Fighting the drug cartels is the job of other security agencies.

October 16, 2010: Cartel gunmen attacked a house in a residential neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez and murdered six people. A group of gunmen entered the house and began firing automatic rifles.





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