Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cartels still intact; Gangland-style killings continue

The Mexican 'surge isn't working.

MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderón’s deployment of more than 20,000 soldiers and federal police in the drug war has reduced rampant violence in the areas where they were sent. But the narco cartels’ power remains virtually intact, and gangland-style killings have spiked in at least three states formerly immune from the menace, officials and drug experts say. Since Calderón launched the first arm of the anti-drug offensive on Dec. 7 — just days after his inauguration — soldiers have arrested hundreds of suspected traffickers, seized tons of cocaine and other drugs and destroyed thousands of acres of marijuana and heroin poppy fields, according to the government.

But only 94 people have been indicted so far, none of them top-ranking cartel members. Meanwhile, gangland-style killings have taken spread to the states of Aguascalientes in central Mexico, Oaxaca in southern Mexico and Campeche in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Earlier this month, suspected cartel hitmen gunned down four municipal police officers in the sleepy city of Aguascalientes. And on Tuesday, police there discovered a body dumped in a plastic bag with the message: “This is for mistreating the Family.”

Laredo Morning News


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