HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Nearly 500 Killed In '07 In Mexico's Drug Wars
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Mar 2007
Source: Indianapolis Star (IN)
Copyright: 2007 Indianapolis Newspapers Inc.
Author: Hector Tobar


MEXICO CITY -- According to media reports, nearly 500 people have been
killed in Mexico's drug wars so far this year despite a crackdown on
the illicit trade by President Felipe Calderon.

The dead include dozens of police officers, the daughter of a retired 
Army general, and a suspected cartel hit man in the northern city of 
Monterrey left with a knife sticking out of his chest and a message 
to local officials affixed to his body.

"Attorney General: don't be a fool," the note said. It accused local 
officials of protecting Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, leader of the 
Sinaloa Cartel, the bitter rivals of the Gulf Cartel, based in the 
border state of Tamaulipas. "This is just the beginning."

According to a tally kept by the Mexico City newspaper El Universal, 
the number of drug-related killings had reached 491 by Friday.

Calderon's government, which took power in December, promised a 
get-tough approach against the drug trade, which claimed more than 
2,000 lives last year. Calderon has sent army troops into the 
southern states of Guerrero and Michoacan, and to the border cities 
of Tijuana and Nuevo Laredo.

In Tijuana, federal forces disarmed the police in January in a bid to 
fight widespread corruption in the municipal force.

But the measures have been criticized by many observers.

"These operations are not designed to directly confront the organized 
crime groups," said Jose Arturo Yanez, a researcher at the 
Professional Police Training Institute in Mexico City.

"They are designed to have an effect in the media, so that the 
federal government can be seen in action."
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