Thursday, January 31, 2008

Truck crashes into Tijuana airport after gunmen kill driver

It keeps getting weirder.

TIJUANA, Mexico — Gunmen chased a pickup truck into Tijuana's international airport on Wednesday, firing at and killing the driver, whose vehicle crashed through the windows of the terminal and came to rest near a security check point.

Two women riding with the victim were wounded and the airport's operations were briefly interrupted, the Baja California state attorney general's office reported. The shooting occurred in the early morning when few people were at the terminal.

The gunmen fired into the pickup as it lay inside the airport lobby to make sure the driver was dead. They fled in another vehicle. Police said the driver had called an emergency number earlier to say he was being chased, but the call cut off. No arrests have been announced.

There was no immediate information on a motive in the attack, but Tijuana has been plagued in recent months by a spate of shootouts and killings of police, apparently involving gangs and drug traffickers.

Also Wednesday, the attorney general's office reported that the unidentified bodies of three men — two of whom had their hands bound and showed signs of torture — were found dumped in a vacant lot in Playas de Rosarito, near Tijuana.

It was the same spot where the bullet-riddled bodies of a Tijuana police official and another man were found in early January.

Local police in Playas de Rosarito, a city of 130,000, were forced to surrender their weapons last month for testing to determine links to any crimes. Armed state and federal agents are patrolling the city.

Truck crashes into Tijuana airport after gunmen kill driver | - Houston Chronicle

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mexico police chief, three others killed in Oaxaca

The 'drug smuggling cartels' can cover a lot mischief. Political assassination, for instance. It's hard to know what's really going on. But it is clear that being the Chief of Police in most of Mexico is a very, very dangerous job.

OAXACA, Mexico, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead a local police chief and three other people on Wednesday in Oaxaca, a politically tense southern Mexican city where leftists held a months-long siege in 2006.

Oaxaca state Gov. Ulises Ruiz said the murders were linked to drug smuggling cartels whose violent turf wars killed more than 2,500 people across Mexico last year.

Local police chief Alejandro Barrita was in charge of police units guarding banks and businesses on Oaxaca, a pretty colonial city still scarred by the protests of 2006.

Barrita was killed while he was exercising in a city park. The gunmen also killed his bodyguard and two other people doing exercise in the park, state police director Daniel Camarena told reporters.

Ruiz said the killings were a response to the increased military presence in Oaxaca. President Felipe Calderon has sent 25,000 troops across Mexico to try to control the escalating violence between rival drug gangs.

"This is a result of the fight against organized crime and ... is causing the deaths of our police chiefs," Ruiz told local radio.

Camarena said he was also investigating other motives.

Mexican rebel group Popular Revolutionary Army, or EPR, bombed natural gas and oil pipelines in 2007 to demand the release of two leftist activists it says were seized by the government in May in Oaxaca.

Oaxaca, a popular stop for European and U.S. tourists, in 2006 faced a violent conflict between state police and protesters calling for Ruiz to resign. (Reporting by Paulina Valencia; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Mexico police chief, three others killed in Oaxaca | Reuters

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mexican military surrounds Reynosa police station

One hopes that this is a case of the good guys getting the bad guys, but most things near the border are not what they seem at first sight.

REYNOSA - Mexican military have surrounded the Reynosa Municipal Police Station, searching officers, vehicles and weapons.

Witnesses say the military surrounded the police station building around 7 a.m. today. More than 300 police officers across the city are being brought in to be searched, along with personal cars and police-issued weapons.

Officers at the city's precincts across the city are also being searched.

The military is undertaking similar operations today in Nuevo Laredo, Rio Bravo and Matamoros, according to press reports from Monterrey and Mexico City.

Military vehicles and personnel are blocking access to the station.

The raids come after weeks of violence has shocked citizens of the border cities as the Mexican military battles drug cartels.

The latest was three bodies found at the bottom of a canal in Reynosa. Police are investigating a link between drug gangs and those deaths.
Breaking News: Mexican military surrounds Reynosa police station | reynosa, police, military - Brownsville Herald

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mexican Federal agents arrest four police officers in Nuevo Laredo

Interesting development, wonder if the guns are linked to recent crimes? At least the arrest didn't devolve into a 3 hour gun battle with several dead, as last weeks did.

MEXICO CITY — Federal agents arrested four police officers just south of the border with Texas on Saturday and were investigating where they got their guns, Mexican police said.

In a joint operation, federal police and soldiers arrested the officers early Saturday morning in the city of Nuevo Laredo across the border from Laredo, Texas, said a spokesman for Mexico's Public Safety Department who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

"The army has stepped in to investigate the origin of their weapons," he said.

Mexican radio station Formato 21 said the officers had guns that weren't registered with their unit in the border state of Tamaulipas.

It wasn't immediately clear if the four officers were being investigated for corruption, which is widespread in Mexico, particularly in states like Tamaulipas plagued by organized crime.

In October, 25 federal police officers were detained in the state on suspicion of providing protection for the powerful Gulf drug cartel.

Mexico has long complained that much of the violence is fueled by U.S. guns smuggled south of the border, where drug traffickers and other organized gangs sometimes outgun police.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said the U.S had begun giving Mexico access to an electronic database that lets police determine the origin of weapons seized from criminals and then notify U.S. authorities, who can then crack down on gun dealers.

The arrests Saturday came after two weeks of bloody clashes along the border between federal agents and gunmen allegedly working for the Arellano Felix and Gulf cartels.

On Thursday, a federal agent and a gunman who allegedly worked for the Arellano Felix cartel where killed in a three-hour shootout in Tijuana that forced the evacuations of nearby schools. Earlier in the week, gunmen shot dead three police officials and one of their wives in the city.

On Jan. 10, gunmen shot and killed two federal agents and a civilian in the central state of Michoacan. Two days earlier, two other federal agents were killed and three were injured during a shootout in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas.

A day before the Reynosa shootout, three suspected criminals were killed and 10 federal agents and soldiers wounded in a shootout in the town of Rio Bravo, across the border from Donna, Texas.

Federal agents arrest four police officers in Nuevo Laredo | - Houston Chronicle

Friday, January 18, 2008

Border Patrol agent in Laredo aids smugglers

The border continues to corrupt law enforcement on both sides, due to the huge amounts of money that can be made.

LAREDO, Texas — Calls from a Border Patrol agent's wife to him while he was on duty helped illegal immigrants on buses slip through a checkpoint.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old David Cruz and 35-year-old Susana Lopez-Portillo De Cruz pleaded guilty Thursday in Laredo to conspiring to transport and harbor illegal immigrants.

The case involved three 2007 incidents — in January, July and September — when a total of 25 illegal immigrants were bused from Laredo.

Prosecutors say Cruz would get calls from his wife letting him know the number of a particular bus and when it likely would reach his checkpoint so he could let it pass.

Cruz resigned in September.
Ex-BP agent in Laredo, wife in smuggling conspiracy | - Houston Chronicle

6 Executed Kidnapping Victims Found After Tijuana Shootout

When you have to evacuate city hall and police headquarters your security situation is not good. On the other hand, if the reporting is correct, the police took down a drug gang safehouse. It is exactly the type of operation that needs to continue if the forces or order are going to recliam the border badlands.

6 Executed Kidnapping Victims Found After Tijuana Shootout
Authorities Say 4 Gunmen Taken Into Custody

TIJUANA, Mexico -- Officials said they found six executed kidnapping victims inside a Tijuana house following a three-hour shootout between gunmen and soldiers and police.

The victims, all male, were blindfolded and gagged and had been shot execution-style in the head, said Edgar Millan, a spokesman with the federal Public Safety Department, at a news conference in Tijuana.

Here is a link to the pictures, which are excellent.

One kidnapping suspect was also killed in the battle. Five police agents were wounded and four suspects taken into custody. Authorities said two of the kidnapping suspects are police officers.

Soldiers, state and local police were sent in to help control the firefight that began when federal agents prepared to raid a house near the U.S. border that police now say was a shelter for a cell of the Arellano Felix drug cartel.

Three nearby schools were evacuated, and television showed police running with small children in their arms while shots rang out.

One of the captured gunmen is a state police investigator and another a Tijuana police officer, Millan said. The four suspects will be flown to Mexico City for questioning.

Millan said officials recovered 11 automatic rifles and three bulletproof vests inside the house.

Already this week, gunmen shot and killed eight people in Tijuana, including two local police officers, as well as a district commander, his wife and his 12-year-old daughter.

Also Thursday, employees at Tijuana's City Hall and police headquarters were evacuated after receiving death threats over a police radio frequency, said Abraham Sarabia, a spokesman for city police.

Mexico has seen a spike in gang-related killings since the beginning of the year. The Mexican government has described the violence as revenge for President Felipe Calderon's year-old crackdown on organized crime that sent thousands of soldiers and federal police into violence-plagued cities nationwide.

In the central Mexican state of Hidalgo on Wednesday, assailants killed the director of public safety for the town of Tulancingo.

Jose Alvarado was shot more than 20 times, Hidalgo state police director Ahuizotl Figueroa said.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Two top Tijuana police officials found slain

Tijuana is competeing with Nuevo Laredo to be the most dangerous city on the border. It seems to be winning at the momement. It's hard to know if the police are killed because they are on the wrong side, or the right side, of the law. Both are dangerous in Mexico.

TIJUANA – A high-ranking police official and his second-in-command were found shot to death late Monday in a central part of this city. The killings marked the second in less than two weeks of top municipal police officials.

The Baja California Attorney General's Office identified the victims as Jose de Jesus Arias Rico, chief of the central La Mesa District, and Elbert Escobedo Marquez, the assistant chief.

Their bodies were found slumped inside a 1988 blue Ford Escort. Numerous shells from 9-millimeter and .223-caliber weapons were found at the scene, according to a written statement.

The Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias, a Tijuana news agency, reported that the killings occurred at about 10:20 p.m. within the victims' district, a block from a busy intersection known as La Cinco y Diez.

In a written statement, Baja California's attorney general, Rommel Moreno Manjarrez, vowed to find those responsible for the crimes.

On Jan. 3, another district chief with the Tijuana municipal police was found dead four days after he was abducted from his home. His body and that of another Tijuana officer were found off a highway in an unpopulated area of Rosarito Beach.

Officials linked the killings to the victims' involvement with organized crime.

Tijuana police have faced rising attacks since Mayor Jorge Ramos' administration took office in December, vowing to eradicate corruption from the 2,300-officer force. > News > Mexico > Tijuana & The Border -- Two top Tijuana police officials found slain

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mexico takes fight to Zeta drug gang

This is interesting as the Army has now esentially admitted they are at war. Not just police operations, but targeting some groups for military destruction. A sad, but needed, escalation in Mexico.

By LAURENCE ILIFF / The Dallas Morning News

MEXICO CITY – Thousands of soldiers and federal police have mounted a new operation along the Mexico-Texas border designed to break up cells of the Zetas paramilitary drug gang, with two bloody firefights just this week, in what Mexican and U.S. officials are calling a new strategy in the drug fight.

The plan of attack for the new year goes beyond patrolling streets in border towns such as Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa to actively tracking down Zeta cells in their safe houses, such as an operation Monday that left three heavily armed Zetas dead, said Patricio Patiño Arias, the deputy minister for intelligence and strategy at Mexico's Public Security Ministry.

KRISTEN LUCE/ The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)
Earlier this week, two federal agents were killed after a shootout with drug suspects in Reynosa, Mexico. "Since the first of January we have changed our operations," Mr. Patiño Arias told reporters. "It's no longer just patrolling, but rather a direct fight, a direct fight against specific objects, against specific targets that has grown out of important intelligence work."

One U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Mexican government appears to be seeking a direct confrontation with the Zetas, many of whom are former military officers or police.

"They [authorities] realize that putting out small fires isn't going to help them very much," said the official, who is not allowed to speak for attribution. "They're now entering the gates of hell as they try to dismantle the organization by targeting the key figures."

Among the targets: Heriberto Lazcano, the alleged leader of the Zetas. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the Tampico area – the same Gulf Coast city where authorities seized 11 tons of cocaine after an October shootout between soldiers and Zetas.

Another target is Miguel Treviño, who is believed to work for Mr. Lazcano and to control the corridor that runs from Nuevo Laredo on the Texas border to the industrial city of Monterrey in the neighboring state of Nuevo León, officials said.

"The Mexican government is being much more deliberate; the targets they're going after are that much more sharp," the U.S. official said. "I think they're getting some good intelligence, and that's making all the difference."

Minute of silence

On Wednesday, President Felipe Calderón met with police chiefs from around the country and held a minute of silence for the hundreds of police and soldiers who have become casualties in the drug fight, including two killed in a shootout Tuesday in Reynosa.

"There have already been a lot of federal, state and municipal police, soldiers and marines who have lost their lives, especially in the last year, to guarantee the security of Mexicans," Mr. Calderón said. "It hasn't been easy, and there is much more to do."

Mr. Patiño Arias said the men killed and captured in Rio Bravo on Monday were part of a Zeta cell that reported to Mr. Lazcano, a former army officer.

Two men from Detroit and one from Texas were among those arrested in Monday's shootout in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas. The state is home base for the Gulf cartel, which uses the Zetas as its enforcement arm.

The Monitor newspaper of McAllen, Texas, reported that relatives of the man from Texas, identified as Esteban Valdez de los Santos of Pharr, say he was an innocent bystander. And they're working to get him released from a Mexico City prison.

That shootout came after federal police and soldiers followed an SUV that had run a roadblock and holed up in a safe house in front of the town's police station. Ten soldiers and police were injured by fragmentation grenades, but none seriously.

Mr. Patiño Arias said the type of armament used by the Zetas, including rocket launchers used to penetrate armored vehicles, has raised violence "to a new level."

This week's seizure of high-powered machine guns, grenade launchers and sniper rifles shows how easy it is for organized crime to obtain weapons on the U.S. side of the border and how the drug war is becoming an increasing military-style fight, he said.

Indeed, there are more soldiers in Tamaulipas than there are federal police, who number 1,100 officers.

"We are working closely with the armed forces," Mr. Patiño Arias said. "There are 2,300 troops, and they are redeployed at highway checkpoints and urban checkpoints in order to have a presence throughout the state. There is air power in Tamaulipas – planes, helicopters."

A senior U.S. official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said government pressure on the Zetas may be forcing them to breach a reported "truce" among cartel leaders, who reportedly had agreed to lie low and reduce violence. That worked for part of the summer and fall.

The Gulf cartel has been in a fierce turf war with the Sinaloa cartel, based in the northern state with the same name.

"The reason violence is increasing boils down to increased pressure on the cartels," the official said. "For now, the cartels may have a truce, but with pressure on them increasing, the usual response is to kick up the violence, especially against government law enforcement,"

The new year's wave of violence comes after a year in which a record 2,500 people were killed as part of the drug fight, mostly cartel gunmen and police. The killings also included four journalists, nearly a dozen musicians and the former mayor of Rio Bravo.

It also comes as the U.S. Congress considers $500 million in aid this year to Mexico for expensive equipment needed in the drug battle, such as helicopters and scanners.

That proposed first installment is part of the three-year, $1.4 billion Merida Initiative – named for the southern Mexico city where Mr. Calderón and President Bush announced a new framework in the drug fight that includes more direct U.S. financial help.

On the offense

Jorge Chabat, a Mexican commentator who closely follows the drug war, said the Rio Bravo operation did in fact suggest that government forces are targeting the Zetas with more precision and moving from "defense to offense."

"If this is for real, then it is a step in the right direction, although it will bring more violence in the short term," Mr. Chabat said. "I have the impression that they [authorities] are moving into a new phase in which they are not just defending themselves, but attacking as well."

Inevitably, however, the narcos are sure to fight back, as occurred already this week.

After the firefight in the streets of Rio Bravo, a group of gunmen in nearby Reynosa fired at three federal police officers after a car chase Tuesday, killing two of them.

Mexican media speculated the killings were an ambush and revenge for the deaths of the three Zetas a day earlier.

According to media accounts, 24 people have been killed so far this year in drug-related violence. They include the former mayor of La Huacana in the central state of Michoacán, four police officers and the assistant to a musical group. All bore the marks of gangland violence.

Staff writer Alfredo Corchado and news assistant Javier García contributed to this report.

The Zetas were created by a group of highly trained military deserters to work as gunmen for the Gulf drug cartel. The group, first concentrated along Mexico's border with Texas, has made inroads in Acapulco, Monterrey, Veracruz and elsewhere in Mexico, and has extended its reach into U.S. cities, including Laredo and Dallas. Authorities say the Zetas continue to recruit from military and police forces and have made alliances with U.S. and Central American gangs.

Mexico takes fight to Zeta drug gang | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Mexico News

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mexican Drug Cartels Threaten Elections

Not too surprising.

MEXICO CITY, Jan. 4 -- Drug cartels are trying to influence the outcomes of major elections in Mexico by kidnapping and threatening candidates, according to Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora.

The remarks by Medina Mora, released by his office Friday, underscored the Mexican government's growing willingness in recent months to acknowledge the threat drug cartels pose to the nation's fragile democracy. The problem is most severe, Medina Mora said, in the border states of Baja California and Tamaulipas, and in Michoacan, the home state of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

And Mora also added this, in case you haven't been paying attention:

"There are municipal police forces that have collapsed, that function more as an aid to organized crime than as protection for the public," Medina Mora said.

Mexican Drug Cartels Threaten Elections -

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mexican police abducted and killed near border.

Tijuana is getting just as bad as Nuevo Laredo. The traficantes response to more Army and Police - kidnap and kill them right away.

TIJUANA, Mexico, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Three Mexican police were abducted, killed and dumped on a heavily patrolled road near the U.S. border on New Year's Day despite an influx of troops in the area, the state attorney general's office said on Thursday.

The policemen from the sprawling border city of Tijuana near San Diego, California -- one of them a senior city police officer -- were found wrapped in sheets outside the nearby beach town of Rosarito on a highway with several army checkpoints.

"This looks like a response by organized crime to the military's increased presence here," said an official from the Baja California state attorney general's office.

President Felipe Calderon has been using some 25,000 troops and federal police to battle powerful organized crime gangs and drug cartels since he came to power a year ago.

The government sent hundreds more troops to Tijuana and Rosarito in late December and disarmed Rosarito's police force after a failed attempt to kill the town's police chief raised suspicions it was infiltrated by drug gangs.

The police executions were the first drug-related murders in Baja California, Mexico's most violent state, this year.

In 2007, the state counted more than 400 drug-related killings as more than 2,500 people were killed nationwide in spite of the military assault on traffickers. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Robin Emmott, Editing by Sandra Maler)

Mexican police killed despite army surge near U.S.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Incoming mayor pledges to make town safe

Interesting article goes into the attempts by the cartels to start electing politicians.

AP NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – For Ramón Garza, the incoming mayor here, the reminder is never too far away.

The last time a public official – a police chief – promised to restore law and order in a city many consider lawless, he was shot at least 40 times, seven hours after taking office.

Mr. Garza, a 45-year-old father of two, knows all too well the challenges ahead for his city and himself as he prepares to take office Tuesday.

"Look, I don't need to be reminded, but I'm here to tell you that the situation has improved," he said in a recent interview. "Three months ... after I take office, this city will be the safest border city; this city will be open for business for all Texans who have been coming here for generations."

Once a tourist attraction and a place to find cheap prescription drugs, Nuevo Laredo has been a staging ground for two warring drug cartels over the past five years.

The feud between the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels has left hundreds dead, forced hundreds more to flee their homes, corrupted city officials and police alike, and led to heavy censorship of the media.

Some residents say the city is run more by powerful members of organized crime – cruising in their large black SUVs with tinted windows – than by elected officials.

Mr. Garza declined to be specific on his strategy, except to say, "This war will be won with intelligence, not with chaos."

Days after Mr. Garza's election – and after his interview with The Dallas Morning News – Mexico's President Felipe Calderón warned that narco-money had infiltrated elections in Tamaulipas – the state where Nuevo Laredo is located – and Michoacán.

Mr. Calderón and other officials said drug cartels are trying to penetrate electoral politics to protect themselves against the federal government's offensive.

"I strongly urge governors, mayors, legislators and the leaders of all the political parties that we unite against this," Mr. Calderón said, referring to the execution last month of the former mayor of Rio Bravo, Juan Antonio Guajardo, an unsuccessful candidate in the Nov. 11 mayoral race. He had denounced drug trafficking groups' participation in the electoral process. Rio Bravo is also in Tamaulipas.

Mexico's top law enforcement official, Genaro García Luna, has said that police intelligence confirms that drug groups are attempting to place allies in government, especially at the local level.

"There are indications, in terms of how they attempt to penetrate and seek to corrupt these [political] structures, and we are watching this," said Mr. García Luna, the public security minister.

Denies dirty money

During the interview, Mr. Garza, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, insisted that neither dirty money nor other influence from organized crime – namely the Gulf cartel and their enforcers, the Zetas – played any role in his second campaign for mayor.

"This was a campaign carried out by citizens who want to believe again, people who want to have pride in their community again," he said, noting his 50,000-plus vote advantage over his nearest rival. "My job is to generate confidence and help – along with citizens – return Nuevo Laredo to being a normal, vibrant city again. This is for everyone's good, including the narcos."

The former state legislator said he has no communication with criminal groups but refused to answer any other questions, citing fears of being misunderstood by residents or the criminals themselves.

He promised to restore order, to help residents overcome a "terrible nightmare," and to lure back those who out of fear fled across the border to Laredo. He said that he had met with more than 120 people from Nuevo Laredo now living in Laredo and that 80 of them pledged to return home.

Mr. Garza also embraced the Merida Initiative, the $1.4 billion U.S. aid proposal to give Mexico training and equipment to fight drug traffickers, whose high-tech weapons are often more deadly and sophisticated than anything the government has.

Funding of the initiative awaits approval in Congress, but in Mexico worries of a perceived loss of sovereignty dominate the debate. Mr. Garza minimizes those concerns, stressing, "There is no sovereignty without security."

Mr. Garza also proposes an institute to train to police officers become better public servants. He declined to provide more details, such as whether police officers would get a raise. Some believe the pay for police officers in Mexico is too low, making them vulnerable to corruption.

Asked whether he feared for his life, given the fate of other public servants, Mr. Garza paused before answering.

"We can't live in fear," he said. "I'm doing this for my children. I want to rescue our town again, making the vibrant border community that it has always been."

'Tensed calm'

Nuevo Laredo today shows signs of what Mr. Garza calls a "tensed calm."

Small groups of men – some of them holding hand radios – can be seen on street corners. They're believed to be falcones, or lookouts, paid weekly by the Zetas to keep an eye on anyone and anything.

Many businesses have "For Sale" signs, a reflection of the city's tough economic times.

Mr. Garza vows to restart the economy by luring back tourists and turning Nuevo Laredo into a high-tech hub, complete with free Internet service.

As Mr. Garza ate a steak at a restaurant on the U.S. side of the border, local politicians, waiters, the cook and former Nuevo Laredo residents stopped by to greet him and wish him well.

"Ramón is an excellent guy," said J.O. Alvarez, a customs broker in Laredo and one of Mr. Garza's friends. "He has a big job ahead, but if anyone can turn things around, it's him. We'll be rooting for him from this side."

But Mr. Garza's promises are met with some skepticism in Laredo.

One Mexican businessman, who would give his name only as "Miguel," said he had attended the expatriate meeting with Mr. Garza and had said he would return to Nuevo Laredo, a promise he fidgeted about.

"I drove across the border to vote for Ramón 'cause I believe in him," he said. "But it's not easy to defeat the monster there. Three months? Is he crazy?"

Staff writer Laurence Iliff in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Nuevo Laredo's incoming mayor pledges to make town safe in 3 months | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas Regional News

Narco-Terrorism Lurks South of the Border

Long time readers of Blog Of The Gods are fully aware of the Narco-Terrorism lying south of the border, but readers of the MSM are not kept informed of the horible situation in many parts of Mexico.

Just across the Texas border, the Sinaola and Gulf drug cartels are waging a bloody war. In Monterrey, a city of 3.5 million people, a city of wealth and a previously quiet city with a major university, over 100 murders occurred in 2007, with 31 law enforcement officers as victims.

Not one 2007 cartel-related killing in the state of Nuevo León, where Monterrey is the capital, was solved as of the last week of December.
Monterrey lies about 2 hours from Nuevo Laredo (136 miles), just across the U.S.-Mexico border from Laredo Texas. In Laredo, Interstate 35 begins its run up the center of the United States that goes to Duluth Minnesota.

The narco-violence is not restricted to Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey or Acapulco. Recent reports detail the spread of the drug wars to Baja California, where on December 18th, at 1PM, ten cars approached the building where police chief of Playas de Rosarito, Jorge Eduardo Montero Alvarez were getting out of their cars, and opened fire. High caliber weapons were sued on both sides of the battle.

Just this past Friday, on December 29th, a police convoy in the central state of Zacatecas was attacked by heavily armed commandos, killing seven police officers and allowing two alleged kidnappers to escape. This attack was seemingly in retaliation for the capture of the kidnap suspects just hours earlier.

The killings capped a bloody year in Mexico’s brutal drug gang war, which claimed more than 2,200 lives in 2007, including scores of law enforcers.
It is suspected that the Zetas, deserters from the U.S.-trained, Mexican special operations forces, are responsible for the attacks. Known to some as “Los Zetas,” they are the armed militia supporting the Gulf Cartel in this drug war.

Considering the porosity of the U.S.-Mexican border, and despite President Calderone’s efforts to quell the violence using Mexican federal troops, this continuing drug violence has to be considered seriously.

By Jay Fraser on December 31, 2007 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

ThreatsWatch.Org: RapidRecon: Narco-Terrorism Lurks South of the Border