RSS 2.0RSS 1.0Mexico Under Siege (Series)
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1 Mexico: Crime Beat Reporters Face Deadly PerilsTue, 29 Dec 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Wilkinson, Tracy Area:Mexico Lines:144 Added:12/29/2009

As Slayings Climb, Some Refrain From Writing As Much About Drugs and Corruption.

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reporter for El Tiempo newspaper in Durango, but as time wore on and there were so many other crises, the escorts were withdrawn.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.

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2 Mexico: Hero's Family SlaughteredWed, 23 Dec 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Wilkinson, Tracy Area:Mexico Lines:130 Added:12/23/2009

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.

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3 Mexico: Staged Photos of Drug Lord's Body Stir ControversyTue, 22 Dec 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwoo, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:97 Added:12/22/2009

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.

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4 Mexico: Tijuana's Security Chief Needs All of It He CanSun, 20 Dec 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Marosi, Richard Area:Mexico Lines:222 Added:12/20/2009

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 human shields.

"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."

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5 US: U.S. Drug War Aid Slow in ComingFri, 04 Dec 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:United States Lines:94 Added:12/04/2009

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.

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6 Mexico: Killing Is a Blow to Witness ProgramThu, 03 Dec 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:106 Added:12/04/2009

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.

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7 Mexico: Marching the Police Off to JailTue, 17 Nov 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:232 Added:11/17/2009

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.

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8 US: U.S. Targets Cartel and Its 'Toxic Reach'Fri, 23 Oct 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Meyer, Josh Area:United States Lines:139 Added:10/23/2009

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.

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9 Mexico: 'Narco-Lawyer' Slayings Highlight Weakness in the Justice SystemMon, 12 Oct 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:234 Added:10/13/2009


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.

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10 Mexico: Cartel Rivalry Blamed in Latest Mexico Drug Clinic SlayingsThu, 17 Sep 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Wilkinson, Tracy Area:Mexico Lines:113 Added:09/17/2009

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.

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11 Mexico: One Border City Is Quiet - Maybe Too Quiet, in FactWed, 16 Sep 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA)          Area:Mexico Lines:176 Added:09/16/2009

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.

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12 Mexico: Key Official in Drug War Steps DownTue, 08 Sep 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Wilkinson, Tracy Area:Mexico Lines:69 Added:09/09/2009

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.

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13 Mexico: Juarez Massacre Chillingly RoutineFri, 04 Sep 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:158 Added:09/04/2009

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.

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14 Mexico: At Least 8 Killed in Shooting at a Street Party in SinaloaMon, 31 Aug 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Wilkinson, Tracy Area:Mexico Lines:67 Added:08/31/2009

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.

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15 Mexico: U.S. Indictments Target Mexico's Gulf CartelTue, 21 Jul 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Marosi, Richard Area:Mexico Lines:90 Added:07/21/2009

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.

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16 Mexico: Drug Cartels Imperil Immigrants in the DesertSun, 19 Jul 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Feinman, Sacha Area:Mexico Lines:214 Added:07/19/2009

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.

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17 Mexico: Forces Swarm to Counter Drug GangFri, 17 Jul 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:150 Added:07/17/2009

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.

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18 Mexico: 12 Slain in Mexico Were Federal Police OfficersWed, 15 Jul 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:99 Added:07/15/2009


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 police officers.

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19 Mexico: At Least 12 Die in Mexico ShootoutSat, 27 Jun 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ellingwood, Ken Area:Mexico Lines:72 Added:06/27/2009

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.

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20 Mexico: Mexico Moves Quietly to Decriminalize Minor Drug UseSun, 21 Jun 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Wilkinson, Tracy Area:Mexico Lines:164 Added:06/21/2009

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.

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