As Slayings Climb, Some Refrain From Writing As Much About Drugs and
Journalist Bladimir Antuna put up with the death threats. He wasn't
afraid of dying, he told friends, but he really didn't want to be tortured.
The government assigned bodyguards to the crime reporter for El
Tiempo newspaper in Durango, but as time wore on and there were so
many other crises, the escorts were withdrawn. A couple of days
later, he was snatched by gunmen; his strangled, bruised body was
discovered at nightfall.
[continues 941 words]
Hours After the Burial of a Marine Who Died in a Raid That Killed a
Drug Lord, Gunmen Burst into His Home.
By Tracy Wilkinson, Reporting from Mexico City
The young marine received the highest military honors that the
Mexican state could offer. Killed during a raid that ended the life
of a notorious drug lord, the marine was buried a hero, ushered to
his grave by an honor guard of commandos in camouflage, his mother
awarded a folded flag.
[continues 808 words]
The dead drug lord lay on his back, blood-soaked jeans yanked down to
the knees. Mexican peso notes carpeted his bullet-torn body, and U.S.
$100 bills formed neat rows next to his bared belly.
The gory photograph of Arturo Beltran Leyva, one of Mexico's most
wanted kingpins, was among those widely published here during the
last few days following his death in a shootout Wednesday with
Mexican marines in Cuernavaca, capital of the central state of Morelos.
[continues 567 words]
The Officer Lives With Threats and Plots, Plus Allegations of Abuses.
Since he took over one of the most troubled police departments in
Mexico, Julian Leyzaola has slapped the face of a corpse, led
shoot-'em-ups on the street and ordered suspected crooked cops to
stick close to his office in downtown Tijuana -- he wanted them as
"I told them, if they try to attack me in my office, you'll be right
outside," Leyzaola said. "The first ones they kill will be you."
[continues 1492 words]
Only a Small Amount Has Been Delivered. A Report Blames Red Tape.
Security help for Mexico promised under the so-called Merida
Initiative, including helicopters and scanners for contraband
detection, has been held up by red tape, a U.S. agency says.
By Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City
A small fraction of U.S. aid for Mexico's drug war under the
so-called Merida Initiative has been delivered because of red tape
and the time needed to order helicopters and other equipment, a U.S.
government report concluded Thursday.
[continues 511 words]
The Slaying in a Coffee Shop of a Former Police Officer Marks the
Second Recent Death of a Top-Level Informant.
It's risky being a so-called protected witness, especially when the
targets of the criminal investigations are members of powerful
Mexican drug cartels and dirty cops.
The government's witness protection program faced new questions
Wednesday after the fatal shooting in a Starbucks of a former federal
police commander who turned informant after his arrest last year for
suspected drug ties.
[continues 593 words]
As Mexico's drug war rages, officials are making an unprecedented
push to clean up the nation's notoriously corrupt law enforcement.
The lie-detector team brought in by Mexico's top cop was supposed to
help clean up the country's long-troubled police. There was just one
problem: Most of its members themselves didn't pass, and a supervisor
was rigging results to make sure others did.
When public safety chief Genaro Garcia Luna found out, he canned the
team, all 50 to 60 members.
[continues 1550 words]
300 Suspects Are Held in Nationwide Raids on La Familia, a Brutal and
Fast-Growing Drug Gang From Mexico.
Drug agents swept through Los Angeles and dozens of other locations
Wednesday and Thursday, arresting more than 300 people and seizing
large quantities of drugs, weapons and money in the biggest U.S.
crackdown against a Mexican drug cartel.
The months-long offensive, the fruit of dozens of federal
investigations over the last 3 1/2 years, will put a significant dent
in the U.S. operations of La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico's
fastest-growing and deadliest cartels, authorities said.
[continues 865 words]
'NARCO-LAWYER' SLAYINGS HIGHLIGHT WEAKNESS IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Silvia Raquenel Villanueva, once hailed here as "the Bulletproof
Lawyer," could outrun the bullets no longer.
Villanueva, one of Mexico's most controversial attorneys, was shopping
in Monterrey in August when hooded gunmen with automatic weapons
tracked her down amid stalls of handbags, perfume and videos, then
pumped more than a dozen shots into her body.
The killers delivered a final shot to the head before fleeing the
covered market, busy with shoppers at midday on a Sunday.
[continues 1664 words]
Two Doctors and Eight Clients Are Shot to Death at a Rehab Facility
in Ciudad Juarez.
In the second mass slaying at a Mexican rehab clinic in less than two
weeks, gunmen burst into the Life Annex addiction treatment center in
the volatile border city of Ciudad Juarez and killed at least 10
people -- patients and therapists alike.
The gunmen escaped, and authorities on Wednesday blamed the Tuesday
night shooting on a "war of extermination" among drug traffickers.
Rehabilitation clinics are often targeted as Mexican drug gangs hunt
rivals or attempt to settle old scores.
[continues 609 words]
Mexicali Seems an Oasis From Violence, but Some U.S. Officials Suspect
That the Peace Comes at a High Price.
By Richard Marosi, Reporting from Mexicali, Mexico
In Tijuana, schoolchildren get lessons on how to duck during gangland
shootouts. Ciudad Juarez cops patrol with military escorts, and the
morgue there is spilling over with gunshot victims.
But here in Mexicali, people fear the desert sun more than drug hit
men. The city of 700,000 has a homicide rate comparable to that of
Wichita, Kan., and one of the biggest police deployments is Operation
Beat the Heat, in which officers haul blocks of ice to shantytown residents.
[continues 1188 words]
Foes Had Criticized Atty. Gen. Eduardo Medina Mora for What They Say
Is a Failing Government Strategy
Mexico's attorney general, a key figure in the government's war on
drug cartels, resigned Monday as part of a Cabinet shake-up announced
by beleaguered President Felipe Calderon.
Atty. Gen. Eduardo Medina Mora stepped down after severe criticism
from political opponents who said the government's drug war strategy
was failing. Medina Mora will be sent abroad as ambassador, Calderon
said, but he did not specify to which country.
[continues 320 words]
Gunmen Kill 18 at a Rehab Clinic, After a Week When 75 Died. Since
Last Year, 3,000 Have Been Slain.
The deed was stomach-turning: Hooded gunmen burst into a Ciudad
Juarez drug treatment center, gathered together those inside and
lined them up before opening fire with semiautomatic weapons. When
the shooting was over, 18 people were dead.
Attention focused immediately on the site of Wednesday night's
killings: a rehab center, where addicts go to get clean, suggesting a
new level of depravity in Mexico's drug violence.
[continues 1058 words]
Four gunmen leap from a pickup truck and fire semiautomatic weapons
at revelers in the town of Navolato in Sinaloa state. The shooters escape.
It was a street party at a popular gathering place, typical of
Saturday nights in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Drinks, a musical
band, a joining together of the mostly young.
Then, shortly before midnight, a white double-cabin pickup screeched
to a stop on Palm Tree Street in the town of Navolato. At least four
gunmen burst from the vehicle and sprayed the party with semiautomatic gunfire.
[continues 265 words]
Among those on the list is the 'triumvirate' of the drug trafficking
enterprise and its enforcement arm, the Zetas. They are accused of
funneling cocaine and marijuana from South America into Texas.
Federal authorities announced indictments Monday against the reputed
leaders of Mexico's Gulf cartel and its paramilitary force, the Zetas,
accusing them of trafficking tons of cocaine and marijuana from South
America through the Texas-Mexico border.
Three of the men are identified as the "triumvirate" that manages the
far-flung enterprise, dividing its territories among themselves.
Another reputed leader, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, allegedly
controls the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, where the cartel is
believed to funnel large amounts of drugs through the busy truck
crossing into Laredo, Texas.
[continues 473 words]
Tighter border enforcement has driven narcotics smugglers to share
territory with migrants, adding to the dangers of the journey and
possibly contributing to a drop in Mexico's emigration.
On a cloudless afternoon in northern Sonora, migrants and drug
runners lounge in equal numbers under scattered mesquite trees,
playing cards or sipping water. The sun climbs high and the
temperature rises well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In such heat,
nothing, human or otherwise, moves more than required.
[continues 1676 words]
Mexico is to deploy 5,500 security personnel to the western state of
Michoacan, where a series of recent attacks has killed 16 police
officers. The La Familia drug gang is suspected in the slayings.
By Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City
Mexican authorities announced plans Thursday to send 5,500 police
officers and military personnel to the western state of Michoacan to
confront a violent crime syndicate offering some of the fiercest
resistance President Felipe Calderon's government has faced since
launching its war on drugs 2 1/2 years ago.
[continues 879 words]
12 SLAIN IN MEXICO WERE FEDERAL POLICE OFFICERS
Eleven men and one woman were found tortured and fatally shot Monday
in Michoacan state. The drug cartel La Familia is blamed for the
attack and several others in recent days.
By Ken Ellingwood, Reporting from Mexico City
Marking a gruesome new setback in the war on drug gangs, Mexican
authorities said Tuesday that 12 people found tortured and fatally
shot in the western state of Michoacan a night earlier were federal
[continues 490 words]
The deadly clash in the state of Guanajuato is said to have occurred
when security forces sought to search a home. Elsewhere, in the state
of Sonora, a congressional candidate escapes assassination.
A shootout between authorities and gunmen in central Mexico left at
least 12 people dead Friday, hours after a congressional candidate
survived an apparent assassination attempt in the northern part of the country.
The incidents underscored the broad reach of violence plaguing Mexico
amid a government crackdown on drug traffickers and signs that gangs
have sought to infiltrate local politics.
[continues 356 words]
President Calderon Is Set to Sign the Law, but Some Fear That Letting
Off Users Caught With Limited Amounts of Drugs Will Increase Drug Use
and Encourage 'Drug Tourists' From the U.S.
Could Mexican cities become Latin Amsterdams, flooded by drug users
seeking penalty-free tokes and toots?
That is the fear, if somewhat overstated, of some Mexican officials,
especially in northern border states that serve as a mecca for
underage drinkers from the United States.
[continues 996 words]