Sunday, May 02, 2010

Mexico's crime syndicates increasingly target authorities in drug war's new phase

As a public safety chief was riding home last weekend after an evening of political schmoozing at the state fair, a stolen tractor-trailer burst onto the highway -- and another high-profile ambush began with a blast of light. They were lobbing grenades at her. Over the next six minutes -- as the official, Minerva Bautista, screamed into a police radio, "They're killing me!" -- up to 40 heavily armed commandos unleashed more than 2,700 rounds at her three-vehicle convoy of armor-plated sport-utility vehicles. Some of the weapons were capable of penetrating a vehicle's engine block or knocking down a helicopter. Mexico's crime syndicates appear to be escalating their attacks against the state, according to law enforcement officials. No longer content to fight police officers and soldiers when confronted with arrest, the drug organizations are increasingly targeting police commanders and public officials. "In the last few weeks, the dynamics of the violence have changed," said Interior Minister Fernando Gómez-Mont, the country's top security official. "The criminals have decided to directly confront and attack the authorities."...more

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