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Dutch Mayors Rush to Make Cannabis Cafes "Members Only"

Using a spate of prohibition-related organized crime violence as a backdrop, the Dutch justice minister and the mayors of five southern Dutch cities said late last week that they will move quickly to implement a number of restrictions on the area's cannabis coffee shops, including a "members only" pass system designed to keep foreigners out. But critics said such a move would only increase crime and lessen public order.

Eindhoven city center (Wikimedia)
After five violent incidents in Eindhoven in recent weeks, the mayors called on Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten to get involved, saying their police forces did not have the manpower to "end the drug war in the south of the country," according to Die Telegraaf. After a Thursday night "emergency meeting," the mayors and the minister said they would send in detectives from the national police to fight the violence, and that they would shut down some cafes, use tax and accounting laws to seize criminal assets, and institute a pass system.

The rightist national government wants to institute the pass system nationwide, so its implementation in the south could be viewed as a pilot program for the rest of the country. But it could run into a bump in the road in Brussels. A court case questioning whether barring European Union citizens from Dutch coffee shops constitutes discrimination will be heard next week.

Tilburg University researcher Nicole Maalste told the newspaper Trouw Monday that creating a pass system that bars foreigners from the coffee shops would not reduce violence, but increase it. Tourists who want to buy drugs will simply go to the street dealers to buy them, and many Dutch nationals do not want to be registered marijuana users, she said.

"Which problem do we want to solve with the pass?" she asked. "Eindhoven does not have a problem with drugs tourism."

The coffee shops aren't just lying down, either, said cannabis cafe representative Nol van Shaik in an email to supporters. "The coffee shops of the cities involved in this scheme have spoken out against the pass and its consequences," he said. "Some of the mayors in the area are in favor of the pass, but half them are against it. There is a lot of criticism from opposition politicians and drug experts," van Shaik noted.

The criminality that would supposedly be reduced by the Weedpass has nothing to do with the cannabis cafes, van Shaik continued. "It is organized international gangs involved with Ecstasy," he said.

Van Shaik added that he did not expect the pass system to be implemented unless -- and until -- the discrimination case before the European Court of Justice is decided several months down the road. "As long as there is no verdict in this particular case, the Weedpass cannot be imposed upon us," he said.

Eindhoven
Netherlands

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:

just another drug smuggling tunnel -- how many more?
Friday, November 26

In Tijuana, the Mayor-Elect said he will replace police chiefJulian Leyzaola. Leyzaola, who took office in December 2008, was widely praised by the US and Mexican governments for his efforts to root out corruption in city police forces and for his efforts against cartels. Leyzaola has also been accused of police brutality and human rights abuses, and the state human rights ombudsman has said that Leyzaola personally participated in beatings of suspects accused of killings police officers. Several officers accused of corruption have said they were tortured by men under Leyzaola's command.

On the border between Tijuana and San Diego, authorities discovered a half-mile tunnel and seized some 20 tons of marijuana. It is the second such discovery in the past month. Eight people were arrested, three of them on the American side of the border.

Saturday, November 27

In Ciudad Juarez, police arrested a leader of the Aztecas gang who stands accused of being a key player in the violence in the city. Arturo Gallegos, 32, aka "El Farmero" is accused of being involved in 80% of the killings that have taken place in the city since August, including the murder of two US consulate employees, the murder of five federal police officers, and the massacre of 14 students at a house party. He is also suspected of being involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion. The Aztecas gang works for La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel.

Monday, November 29

In Palomas, Chihuahua, 20 bodies were discovered buried at a ranch. Soldiers discovered the site after being tipped off by several recently captured cartel members. Mexican news sources later reported that at least one of the dead had been identified as a US citizen.

In Meoqui, Chihuahua, a female police chief was gunned down. Hermila Garcia, 36, was ambushed by gunmen as she drove through the center of town. Several women have taken police chief positions in northern Mexico recently, as many potential male candidates are frightened that they will be assassinated.

Tuesday, November 30

In Michoacan, police arrested a suspected leader of La Familia Michoacana. Jose Alfredo Landa, 37, was thought to be in charge of LFM operations in the city of Morelia. Three other individuals were arrested and an AK-47 was seized, along with more than two dozen property titles and other documents that had come from various extortion plots he was involved in.

In Ciudad Juarez, ten people were murdered in several incidents in the city. This brings the monthly death toll to approximately 194 for the November, making it the second least violent month of 2010. According to El Diario, a local newspaper, 2,887 people have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez in 2010 as of December 1.

Total Body Count for the Week: 167

Total Body Count for the Year: 9,405

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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 -- as of this week 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:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/labarbie.jpg
Edgar Villarreal (''La Barbie''), after capture
Wednesday, November 17

In the city of Chihuahua, two Ciudad Juarez attorneys and a companion were executed after being snatched off a street by an armed commando. The two men were in Ciudad Juarez to investigate a case for a client they represent who faced federal charges.

Friday, November 19

In Tamaulipas, 11 suspected members of the Zetas Organization were killed during a clash near the town Nueva Ciudad Guerrero. The firefight occurred after soldiers on patrol came under fire. Two other gunmen were captured and nine rifles were seized, as well as four handguns, a grenade launcher and body armor.

In Ciudad Juarez, five people were murdered across the city. Among the dead was a municipal policeman who was gunned down on his day off. He is the 55th municipal police officer killed this year. In total, 130 policemen from the various law enforcement bodies that operate in Juarez have been killed so far  in 2010.

Saturday, November 20

In Mexico City, authorities began the process to extradite Edgar Valdez Villareal, better known as La Barbie, to the United States. Valdez, 37, was a high ranking lieutenant in the Beltran-Leyva Organization before being captured in August. He is charged in a 2002 indictment in Louisiana and a 1998 indictment in Texas, both for his involvement in cocaine trafficking. Valdez is a US national, as he was born in Laredo, Texas.

Sunday, November 21

In Colima, a former state governor was shot and killed at his home. His wife was wounded in the attack. Cavazos left office in November 2009. He is one of several governors, ex-governors and gubernatorial candidates killed in Mexico in the last few years. Colima has been relatively free of the rampant drug-related violence seen in other parts of the country. The state Secretary of Economic Development, who was visiting Cavazos at the time of the attack, was also wounded in the incident.

In Tepic, Nayarit, five suspected drug traffickers were shot and killed during a series of firefights across the city. The incident began after soldiers began chasing a vehicle with armed men aboard. One gunman was captured in the incident, and two soldiers were wounded.

Monday, November 22

In Colima, police accidentally shot dead a doctor during an operation to find the killers of ex-governor Cavazos.

Tuesday, November 23

In Brownsville, Texas, border patrol agents seized over 700 pounds of marijuana in the remote Flor De Mayo area of the city, which is located off Highway 281 and is just across the Rio Grande. The area is a well-known crossing point for drugs coming from Tamaulipas.

Total Body Count for the Week: 159

Total Body Count for the Year:  9,241

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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 -- as of this week 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
Tuesday, November 2

In Ciudad Juarez, 14 people were killed in the city. In one incident, two females and three males allegedly on their way to collect extortion money were intercepted by gunmen traveling in at least five vehicles and killed. Police recovered two grenades from their car. In another incident, a 30-year old man who was recently discharged from a rehab facility was shot outside his home. In another, two men were chased by gunmen and shot.

Friday, November 5

In Matamoros, Tamaulipas, a powerful Gulf Cartel leader was killed during a prolonged gun battle with the Mexican military. Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, 48, also known as Tony Tormenta, was the second most important figure in the Gulf Cartel, and the brother of the former boss, Osiel. Two members of Mexico's naval commando unit were killed in the fighting, as was a Matamoros crime reporter. At one point cartel gunmen launched a counter-attack in an effort to break through army lines to rescue Cardenas. At least 55 people were killed in gun battles throughout the city, although some Mexican news sources report figures of at least 100.

Saturday, November 6

In Ciudad Juarez, 18 people were murdered in several incidents across the city. In one incident, seven people were gunned down after gunmen stormed a family party.

Sunday, November 7

In Ciudad Juarez, gunmen shot dead five people inside a bar just after midnight. During the attack, gunmen are said to have formed a perimeter around the bar before attacking. The gunmen, who were heavily armed, were led by an unidentified female.

Monday, November 8

In Denver, 35 people were indicted for being part of a Sinaloa-cartel affiliated drug trafficking organization which trafficked cocaine from the Ciudad Juarez area. Among the accused are a retired firefight and an assistant college baseball coach. The group is accused of supplying the Denver area with over 40 kilograms of cocaine a week.

Tuesday, November 9

In Veracruz, the mayor-elect of the small town and two companions were kidnapped and murdered. Gregorio Barradas Miravete, who had recently been elected in the municipality of Juan Rodriguez Clara, was forced into a Hummer, and then allegedly driven to Oaxaca, where he and the two other men were killed.

Thursday, November 11

In Acapulco, gunmen attacked the offices of El Sur newspaper. The offices were sprayed with automatic gunfire, but nobody was wounded. El Sur has been extremely criticial of the government of the state of Guerrero, in which Acapulco is located.

Friday, November 12

In Ciudad Mier, Tamaulipas, hundreds of people fled the city after gunmen burned vehicles and businesses. At least 300 people left left town and headed for the nearby city of Miguel Aleman. It is unclear which organization's gunmen were involved in the incident, but the area is currently being fought over by the Gulf Cartel and Zetas.

In Morelos, police arrested a 12-year old boy who is alleged to be a well-known assassin for the Cartel del Pacifico Sur, which is allied to the Zetas organization. Pedro Luis Benitez, also known as El Ponchis, is known for slitting the throats of his victims as part of a unit which also includes several of his sisters. He has appeared in internet videos slitting the throat of one man and posing with several weapons, including an AK-47. Mexican media sources later reported that he was mistakenly released by the army, and is currently being searched for again.

Saturday, November 13

In the city of Chihuahua, a former high-level prison official was killed and his son was wounded after being ambushed by gunmen. Gerardo Torres had been sacked from his post last year for allegedly helping facilitate the escape of several prisoners.

Monday, November 15

In Ciudad Juarez, at least ten people were killed in the city. In one incident, a woman riding a bus to her factory job was killed by a stray bullet from an armed robbery of a gas station. In another incident, two women thought to be involved in car theft were gunned down by men armed with automatic rifles.

Tuesday, November 16

In Tabasco, two young men were shot and killed by soldiers after an incident at an army roadblock. One of the men was 21 and the other was 23. The army is claiming they tried to avoid the roadblock, but the families of the men say they had nothing to hide.

In Culiacan, a high-ranking police official was found dead. Ramon Abel Duarte Navaratte was a member of the police protective service. His predecessor had been assassinated along with three bodyguards.

Total Body Count since the last update: 293

Total Body Count for the year: 9,082

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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 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.

Mexico's former president Vicente Fox supported Prop 19
Wednesday, October 27

In Nayarit, 15 people were shot and killed after being attacked by heavily armed gunmen at a carwash. All the dead were workers at the car wash. The exact motive for the killings is unclear, and Mexican officials are denying initial reports that the men are former drug addicts.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, interviewing with Mexico's W radio network, gave his full support to California's Proposition 19 initiative to legalize marijuana. Fox told the network, "How great it would be for California to set this example. May God let it pass. The other US states will have to follow step." Fox added that Mexico has taken "the least productive route, which is fighting violence with violence. Violence never resolves violence," also commenting that Mexico's legal exports would go up if marijuana were legalized and peasants could legally grow it.

Thursday, October 28

In Mexico City, six young men were gunned down outside a store. The victims were all in their 20’s, and several had criminal records. Mexican media sources have stated that the men were members of Los Perros, a Mexico City gang that is known to have ties to the Zetas Organization. The incident took place in Tepito, a neighborhood known for black market activity.

Near Ciudad Juarez, four people were killed and 15 were wounded after gunmen attacked three buses taking workers to a Maquiladora factory owned by US-based automobile interior company Eagle Ottawa.

Friday, October 29

The director of Puente Grande prison was arrested because of alleged ties to drug cartels during his tenure as a high-level official at the federal Attorney General’s Office. He had resigned from his post in 2008 after a corruption probe that led to the arrest of several officials for ties to the Beltran-Leyva Organization. He was named to be director of Puente Grande prison in early 2010. Puente Grande is notorious as the prison from which Sinaloa Cartel boss "El Chapo" Guzman escaped in 2001.

Sunday, October 31

In Ciudad Juarez, seven people were murdered in several incidents across the city. This brings the monthly total for October to 352 homicides, making it the most violent month in the history of the city. The number exceeds the yearly total of many previous years. The previous highest monthly death toll was August of this year, in which 339 people were murdered. The total so far for 2010 is nearly 2,700 murders. October was also the most deadly month for women in Ciudad Juarez, with 48 women murdered. Almost 300 women have been killed in the city this year.

Monday, November 1

In Ciudad Juarez, three people were killed in two separate incidents. This is the lowest daily death toll in the city the last three months.

In Chihuahua, Mexican authorities said that four American citizens were among the most recent victims of Mexico’s drug war. On Sunday, Arturo Sandoval, 35, of El Paso, was shot and killed in a triple homicide in Ciudad Juarez. On Saturday, a 26-year old American woman and her 15-year old son were gunned down with a Mexican national shortly after crossing the bridge from El Paso. On Friday, a 24-year old American woman was among two people killed by gunmen inside a taco store.

Total Body Count for the Week: 82

Total Body Count for the Year:  8,789

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

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 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.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/praxedis1.jpg
Plaza de Armas, Praxedis G. Guerrero
Wednesday, October 20

In Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrerro, Chihuahua, a 20-year old criminology student was sworn in as police chief. Marisol Valles Garcia, who studies in Ciudad Juarez, plans to use an all-female, unarmed force of 13 people to fight crime in the town of 8,500 residents. The position has been open since the previous police chief was assassinated in July 2009.

In Tijuana, Mexican soldiers seized 134 tons of marijuana in a series of raids. Eleven individuals were also taken into custody. The marijuana was wrapped in an estimated 10,000 packages with various labels, including Homer Simpson saying "Let's get high, dude" in Spanish.

Friday, October 22

In Ciudad Juarez, at least 24 people were murdered in several incidents across the city. In one incident, 14 people, mostly teenagers, were killed when gunmen stormed a house where a birthday party was taking place. Among the dead was 13-year old girl. The gunmen arrived in three cars and told the victims that they were looking for "El Raton," who Mexican media sources have reported is a member of the Sinaloa-cartel allied Artist Assassins gang. In other incidents, a municipal police captain was gunned down, and two women were shot point blank and tossed from a vehicle.

Sunday, October 24

In Tijuana, 13 people were killed at a drug rehabilitation center when presumed cartel gun men opened fire. There is speculation the killings could be linked to a massive, 135-ton pot seizure in the city last week.

In Saltillo, Coahuila, a woman and her two children were killed after being caught in the middle of a firefight between a convoy of police and soldiers and unidentified gunmen. Maria Angelica Galindo Sanchez, 47, was a daughter of the former mayor of the city, which is the capitol of Coahuila. The two children were aged 14 and 18.

Monday, October 25

On Youtube, a video was posted in which unidentified gunmen interrogate the kidnapped brother of Patricia Gonzalez, the former head prosecutor for the state of Chihuahua, in which Ciudad Juarez is located. In the video Mario Gonzalez is seen surrounded by five heavily armed men, and claims he took bribes from the Juarez Cartel and ordered several killings.

Tuesday, October 26

In Nuevo Leon, the mayor of a small town near Monterrey announced that his entire police force quit after their headquarters was attacked with automatic weapons and grenades the night before. Nobody was injured in the attack, in which six police officers hid as the building came under heavy fire for approximately 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 27

In Tepic, Nayarit, 15 people were killed at a car wash when three SUVs full of gun men pulled up and began indiscriminately shooting at employees and customers. The unemployed young men who work informally washing cars sometimes work as street level spies for warring drug gang factions.

Total Body Count for the Week: 199

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,707

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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 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.

Servando Gomez ("La Tuta")
Thursday, October 14

In Michoacan, a radio statement broadcast a recording described as a conversation between a high-level drug trafficker and a federal lawmaker. W radio said that the recording was between La Familia Cartel figure Servando Gomez (La Tuta) and politician Cesar Godoy. The two express support for one another and discuss offering a bribe to a journalist. Godoy was one of 36 Michoacan people accused of ties to the La Familia organization last year.

In Tamaulipas, Mexican authorities temporarily called off the search for a missing American. David Hartley has been missing since a shooting incident on Falcon Lake, which sits on the US-Mexico border. Mexican authorities will resume the search after a review of search strategies.

Friday, October 15

In the city of Chihuahua, six members of the prison Immediate Reaction Task Force were killed after the vehicle in which they were driving to work was ambushed. At least 10 gunmen fired on the vehicle with assault rifles. The attack occurred just two days after the La Linea -- the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel -- declared war on prison officials for their supposed favorable treatment of Sinaloa Cartel members.

In Jalisco, soldiers confiscated a massive cache of arms and ammunition at a home in the town of Zapopan. The arsenal included 51 rifles, 49 handguns, two rocket launchers, 20 grenades and 38,000 rounds of ammunition. Police also seized 18 kilos of meth, a small amount of cocaine, and a vehicle. No arrests appear to have been made.

Sunday, October 17

In Ciudad Juarez, 15 people were murdered in several locations. In one incident, eight people were killed when gunmen stormed a house. In another incident, the mayor of the nearby town of El Porvenir and his son were gunned down. The two had fled El Porvenir three weeks ago after the kidnap and murder of several neighbors.

Tuesday,  October 19

In Tijuana, soldiers and police seized 134 tons of marijuana during early morning raids in several locations. The marijuana was packaged in at least 15,000 different packages, which were marked with coded phrases and pictures, including images of Homer Simpson saying "I'm gonna get high, dude" in Spanish. Initial reports suggest the load belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel. The raids followed a shootout with several suspects, who led authorities to the stash locations.

Total Body Count for the Week:118

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,508

Mexico

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 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.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/culiacan-cathedral-200.jpg
Culiacan Cathedral, Sinaloa
Thursday, October 7

In Tijuana, President Calderon said that California's ballot measure to legalize marijuana represents hypocrisy in US drug policy. "For me, it reflects a terrible inconsistency in government policies in the United States,"  he said, referring to US demands that Mexico and other countries clamp down on production and trafficking.

Saturday, October 9

In Oaxaca, the mayor-elect of a small town was shot and killed . Antonio Jimenez Banos, 47, was due to become the mayor of the small coastal town of Martires de Tacubaya. He was shot in the head and chest as he returned home to his small farm. Eleven sitting mayors have been assassinated in Mexico this year, as well as several candidates and representative-elects.

In Ciudad Juarez, 12 people were killed in several incidents. In one incident, two prisoners inside the city’s main prison were killed during a prison riot between the rival Azteca and Mexicles gangs, which work for the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, respectively. At the same time, another riot occurred in a municipal prison. Soldiers responding to the incident confiscated an unknown quantity of weapons and drugs.

Sunday, October 10

In Ciudad Juarez, six people were killed. In one incident, a group of armed men shot dead three people outside an emergency room hospital. The three men were apparently attempting to flee and hide from the gunmen, but were gunned down just outside the building.

Monday, October 11

In Sinaloa, eight police officers were killed after their convoy was ambushed by gunmen. The officers were patrolling a highway about 50 miles outside of the state capital of Culiacan when they were attacked by a convoy of gunmen traveling in three or four vehicles and wielding automatic weapons. Mexican news sources have reported that three other officers were wounded in the attack. Sinaloa has long been at the heart of Mexico's drug trade. Marijuana and poppy is grown in the area and large-scale meth labs have been known to operate in the area.

In Ciudad Juarez, 14 people were killed across the city. The murders occurred despite immensely tight security in the city due to the arrival of President Calderon and a security summit with Mexican governors.

Tuesday, October 12

According to a Zapata County Sheriff, a Mexican investigator working on the recent Falcoln Lake shooting incident was beheaded. Rolando Flores was a member of the State police based in the city of Miguel Aleman, and was part of the team investigating the shooting of David Hartley, who has been missing since September 30th. Flores' head was reportedly found in a suitcase left outside a Mexican Army installation.

Total Body Count for the Week: 85

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,390

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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 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.

Ciudad Juarez
Thursday, September 30

On Texas's Falcon Lake, which straddles the US-Mexico border, an American couple was attacked as they rode a jet ski on the American side of the lake. Tiffany Hartley, 29, said that her and her husband David were chased and shot at by armed men coming from the Mexican side of the lake. David was shot in the head and left in the water, and is presumed dead. There have been several previous incidents of armed men on the lake, in some instances wearing Mexican police uniforms and shaking down fishermen.

In Ciudad Juarez, eleven people were murdered. This brings the total number of homicides during the month of September to 288, 44 of them women. As of September 30,  approximately 2,324 murders have been committed in Ciudad Juarez.

In Acapulco, 22 Mexican tourists from Michoacan were kidnapped and remain missing.  The motives remain unclear, although it should be noted that none of the kidnapped men was a known drug trafficker and it appears they were mostly mechanics and carpenters.

Saturday, October 2

Across Mexico, at least 34 people were killed during a 48-hour period. In the isolated Durango town of San Jose de La Cruz, a firefight between rival drug traffickers left fourteen dead. Much of Durango has traditionally been under the control of the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Sunday, October 3

In Guadalupe, near Monterrey, 15 people were killed after a suspected grenade attack on the town’s main plaza.  Six children, including a three-year old, were among the wounded. It was the fourth attack with an explosive device in the Monterrey area in two days. On Friday, grenade attacks were reported outside a prison, the US consulate, and a federal court.

Tuesday, October 5

In Ciudad Juarez, 14 people were killed across the city. In one incident, a wounded man attempted to hide inside a restaurant, only to be discovered by the gunmen who were chasing him and shot dead in front of many patrons. Some were seen to have bloodstains on their clothing from the incident. 23 killings were reported in Juarez in the first 3 days of October.

Total Body Count for the Week: 153

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,305

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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 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.

Pres. Calderon, whose crackdown helped spark the multi-year wave of violence
Friday, September 24

In Nuevo Leon, the mayor of the town of Doctor Gonzalez was shot and killed outside his home alongside his personal assistant. The motive for the killing remains unclear. Doctor Gonzalez is just over 30 miles from Monterrey.

Saturday, September 25

In Obregon, Sonora, a known-drug boss and reputed member of the Sinaloa Cartel was shot and killed with two other people. Reyes Castro Molina, 48, had previously been suspected of involvement in the assassination of Mexican singer Sergio Vega. Several days ago, a note threatening Molina was left with two dismembered bodies near the town of Sinaloa De Leyva. Molina attempted to flee while shooting at his attackers, but died after being hit by an AK-47 round.

Sunday, September 26

In Chihuahua, the bodies of six young men were discovered in an automobile. The bodies, which were discovered on the Jimenez-Villa Lopez highway, had been dead for at least two days. They had all been tortured and shot in the head.

In Ciudad Juarez, a man was killed and cut into pieces and left on a street corner. Additionally, his eyes had been gouged out and his genitals removed, according to one report. A note left by his killers accused the dead man of "killing innocent women" and being in the employ of a drug boss.

Additionally, a suspect in a July car bomb attack which killed three people was captured in the Ciudad Juarez. Jose Ivan Contreras Lumbreras, 27, allegedly killed a man and dressed him in police uniform to lure police to the bomb.

In Sinaloa, a 12-year old boy was shot in the head and killed after gunmen attacked the ranch in which he slept.

Monday, September 27

In Tancarito, Michoacan, the mayor and a city advisor were stoned to death and left in the bed of a pickup truck. Tancarito Mayor Gustavo Sanchez and city advisor Rafael Equiha were found near the city of Uruapan. Tancarito, a small town of 26,000, has long suffered from high levels of drug-related violence. Last year, the entire police force of 60 officers was fired after doing nothing to stop a series of drug-related attacks. Gustavo Sanchez is the fifth Mexican mayor to have been killed in the last six weeks.

In Coahuayana, Michoacan, five gunmen and a marine were killed in a firefight. Eight gunmen and a marine were killed in Reynosa.

In the city of Chihuahua, gunmen stormed a state police facility and stole arms and ammunition. Nobody was injured or killed in the incident. The raid is unprecedented as it is the first time a state police facility has come under this sort of attack. Approximately 43 assault rifles and 26 pistols were taken, along with grenades, body armor and tactical gear. Mexican news sources reported that the men were dressed in CIPOL (the state police intelligence unit) uniforms.

Tuesday, September 28

In Morelia, Michoacan, a judge has dismissed criminal charges against five police officials who had been arrested for links to drug trafficking organizations. The four state police and one city police officer were all from the port city of Lazaro Cardenas. All had been accused of protecting members of La Familia.

Total Body Count for the Week: 103

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,152

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

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