Friday, May 20, 2011

Escalating Drug Violence in Northern Mexico Overwhelms Authorities

Northern Mexico’s drug war continues to claim victims, with more than 360 bodies discovered in mass graves just last week. In a separate incident, 13 people were killed in a shootout between Mexican marines and members of the Las Zetas drug cartel. Meanwhile, Mexico City announced that it has begun extradition proceedings against the Las Zetas cell leader accused in the February slaying of a U.S. federal agent. It plans to send the cartel leader to the United States for trial. The situation in Northern Mexico is devolving into chaos as unstructured, criminal cartels of thugs fight for control of the lucrative Northern Mexico drug route into the United States. The Mexican government is powerless to end the violence, which continues to escalate and creep toward the U.S. border. Overpowered authorities basically have abandoned the area, recognizing their inability to restore any sort of order to the area. More than 40,000 people have died in drug violence in Mexico since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels. Calderon has deployed 50,000 troops in an effort to quell the violence, with virtually no success. The situation now includes almost daily skirmishes between rival drug cartels and between cartels and authorities, including shootouts, grenade attacks, and kidnappings. Armed groups from all sides roam the streets of many northern Mexico towns, making them unsafe for residents...more

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