Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Federal Agent Gunned Down in Northern Mexico

Another police killing. This article includes some summary data for the year:

Last week, the Mexico City daily Reforma reported, citing a new study, that organized-crime groups had killed 118 police officers in Mexico this year, or an average of 11 per month.

Among the officers killed this year, many of whom held command positions, were 13 police chiefs, four deputy chiefs, three operations chiefs, 21 precinct chiefs and 77 patrolmen.

Five soldiers and marines have also been murdered in Mexico this year, according to the newspaper, which said seven officers had been killed in Nuevo Leon.

The state where the killing of police commanders has been the "most selective and systematic" is Nuevo Leon, where five chiefs have been murdered, Reforma said.

Federal Agent Gunned Down in Northern Mexico

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Entertainer who sang of drug gangs is slain

Valentin Elizalde the banda singer was gunned down after finishing a concert along with members of his band. Apparently the drug gang killings have shifted from police, to reporters, and now to singers. Read the article and you can see the chilling effect the drug gangs desire is working in the comments of the local police:
"Asked to elaborate, the investigator declined, saying: "I don't want to say. I like my life too much. You should, too."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Along the northern Mexican border, fear rules

The police are giving up. Too hazardous a job for the meager pay.

Along the northern Mexican border, fear rules - Los Angeles Times

Police chief is killed after 23 days in post

Sean Mattson
Express-News Mexico Correspondent

MONTERREY, Mexico — Santa Catarina's police chief was shot dead early Thursday — after only 23 days on the job — in a brazen assault that marked the latest case of a high-ranking law enforcer dying at the hands of organized criminals in northern Mexico.

Chief Balthazar Gómez Trejo and City Councilman Osvaldo Rodriguez were killed as the two had coffee in a convenience store after a funeral in the Monterrey suburb.

Gómez was at least the fifth high-ranking law enforcement officer killed in the state of Nuevo León, of which Monterrey is the capital, in 2006.

The two deaths bring to 49 the number of killings linked to warring drug traffickers, according to a tally kept by El Norte, a Monterrey newspaper.

At least eight victims were active duty police officers, including the state's top police detective, Marcelo Garza, who was slain in September.

Police chiefs from three other state municipalities have been killed in separate incidents around the state this year.

Despite growing outcry from the region's powerful industrialists and a society unaccustomed to violence in the streets, these killings remain unsolved.

"He was a good person," Jesús Marcos Giacoman, the president of Monterrey's Chamber of Commerce, said of Gómez.

"He was honest, honorable, well-intentioned (and) working in favor of the community."

Giacoman echoed the Monterrey establishment's shock at seeing the once-peaceful city of about 4 million register about one execution per week.

"We can no longer (call Monterrey) the safest city ... in the country," he said. "But we can say it's the least unsafe city."

State authorities have talked tough on crime but often point to national or international problems when explaining why they have been powerless to stem the wave of killings.

Gov. Natividad González Parás is lobbying for sweeping criminal justice system changes across Mexico.

Officials believe powerful drug gangs — fighting a turf war for local distribution and trafficking routes to the United States — have infiltrated city police departments, giving commanders the option of cooperating for bribes or being killed.

Police officers are sometimes killed because they are perceived to be working for a rival cartel, even if they are not, said Jorge Chabat, an academic who studies the drug trade.

"It's clear that someone didn't like his designation," Chabat said.

"These (killings) are also messages to the police ... to show who is in charge in the zone," he said.

Gómez's slaying sends a strong message less than one month after new mayors took office in Nuevo León's 57 municipalities.

Mayors, who cannot be re-elected and serve a single three-year term, typically appoint new police chiefs upon taking office.

Gómez was threatened in the days before his death, according to media reports.

Local media also reported that the weapon used in the killing, a 9 mm pistol, had been issued to a state penitentiary.

Antonio Garza García, the state's secretary of public security, defended the state's controls over its weapons but did not rule out any possibilities.

"If the investigations ... imply that it was a weapon of the state, be assured that we are going to act ... and strongly, against the person to had been assigned the weapon," he said.

A police commander in Santa Catarina declined to comment on the case.

González said authorities believed the case is linked to organized crime.

"The severest ... problem that Mexico has at this moment is organized crime," he said.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Reporter slain in Mexico's Gulf coast

ALVARADO, Mexico — A reporter for a weekly investigative crime magazine was toppled from his motorcycle and run over Tuesday by unidentified assailants who then shot him at close range, state authorities said.

Roberto Marcos Garcia, 50, chief reporter for the weekly Testimonio magazine in the port city of Veracruz, was shot four times along a highway on the city's northeast outskirts, the state attorney general's office said.

Police said no arrests had been made.

Garcia had written investigative reports on crimes ranging from drug trafficking and auto theft, as well as the alleged corruption of local officials. The magazine was distributed throughout the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

State Deputy Attorney General Marco Antonio Aguilar said it was too soon to speculate on possible motives for the slaying, but he said that at least two people were involved in Garcia's death.

Garcia was the third journalist killed this month in Mexico: a former general manager of the daily Excelsior newspaper, Jose Manuel Nava, was found stabbed to death, while Misael Tamayo Hernandez, editor of a newspaper in Zihuatanejo, was found dead in a hotel room.

Nava had recently published a book criticizing the federal government, the business community and newspaper employees, while Tamayo was killed a day after running stories about organized crime and corruption in city government. No motive has been officially established in either killing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

6 Mexican Police Murdered in Apparent Ambush

MEXICO CITY — Six police officers were shot to death in an apparent ambush in a rural part of western Mexico that has been plagued by drug violence, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The bullet-riddled bodies of an investigative officer, a group commander and four officers were found after a caller reported gunshots late Monday near Aguililla, a mountain town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of the Michoacan state's capital of Morelia.

The area is frequently used by drug traffickers, and dozens of suspected traffickers and Michoacan police officers have been killed in recent months amid gang turf battles.

A spokeswoman for the Michoacan state attorney general's office confirmed the killings, and said the officers had been on a routine patrol when they were attacked by unidentified assailants.

Local media reported the officers had been shot multiple times, and that a note was found near the bodies that read "Greetings, Luis Valencia, the Family sends it greetings."

Similar notes have been encountered next to many of the 17 severed human heads found in Michoacan this year.

"The Family" is believed to be a reference to a group linked to Mexico's Gulf drug cartel. "Luis Valencia" was an apparent reference to a drug trafficker by that name who operates in Michoacan.

There have been more than 420 homicides in the state this year, including 19 police chiefs and commanders. Juan Antonio Magana, the state's attorney general, has said well over half the killings were drug-related.

The battles involve leadership struggles within and among gangs, after authorities captured some of their top leaders.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Illegal Migration, Crime and Mexico's Maras

Illegal Migration, Crime and Mexico's Maras

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Murder spree in Tijuana

"Murder spree in Tijuana after US authorities detain suspected drug kingpin"

Fox News 'Weekend Live' | Nov 12, 2006 | Adam Housley

A murder spree began in Tijuana, Mexico shortly after American authorities detained suspected drug kingpin Francisco Javier Arellano Félix last August. In September, 44 people were killed, including 5 police officers. Police say the killings are the result of internal strife within the drug cartels, as those in the organizations kill anyone in their way and fight for the power that was vacated upon Arellano Félix's arrest. The killings dropped a bit in October but have since intensified with 11 homicides in the first week of November. The violence has prompted the city's Secretary of Public Security, Luis Javier Algorri Franco, to request that the Mexican army be put on the streets to help make the city safer. He says the army has the large caliber weapons, automatic weapons, and training capable of confronting the violent drug gangs.
8 police officers are dead since September. The mayor of Tijuana says that his streets are still safe."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mexico: Drug Cartels a Growing Threat

Mexico: Drug Cartels a Growing Threat - Worldpress.org

This is a good summary of the current situation vis-a-vis the drug gangs.