Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Events of Organized Crime

Friday, April 24, 2009 |

Events related to organized crime

2006

  • November 25 - Popular singer Valentín Elizalde is gunned down along with his manager (and best friend) Mario Mendoza Grajeda, and driver Reynaldo Ballesteros. In an ambush after a concert in the border city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas in an apparent gangland style hit.
  • December 1 - President Felipe Calderón assumed office and declared war on drug traffickers. He also imposed a cap on salaries of high-ranking public servants and ordered a raise on the salaries of the Federal Police and the Mexican armed forces.
  • December 11 - Operation Michoacan is launched.

2007
  • January 2 - Operation Baja California is launched.
  • April 3 - Police arrest suspected drug lord Victor Magno Escobar in Tijuana.
  • March 17 - Zhenli Ye Gon, relieved of $213 million USD in Mexico City.
  • May 14 - Jorge Altriste, head of operations for Mexico's elite police force in Tijuana, was murdered.
  • May 16 - May 18: Battles in Cananea, Sonora, kill 15 gang members, five policemen, and two civilians.
  • August 26 - Trigo de Jesús son (and manager) of Popular singer Joan Sebastian is shot in the back of the head after one of Joan Sebastian's concert in Texas. Trigo was transported to the McAllen Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
  • December 2 - Popular singer Sergio Gómez is kidnapped and killed.
  • December 8 - Gerardo García Pimentel, a crime reporter, was killed.
  • December 29 - The entire police force in the town of Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, is disarmed from their weapons after suspicion of collaborating with drug cartels.
2008
  • January 21 - Mexican security forces capture drug lord Alfredo Beltrán Leyva.
  • April 26 - 15 people are killed in a gun battle between the Arellano-Félix cartel and a rival gang.
  • May 8 - National Police Chief Édgar Eusebio Millán Gómez was gunned down in Mexico City. He was the highest-ranking Mexican official to be killed.
  • May 9 - Esteban Robles Espinosa, the commander of Mexico's investigative police force, was shot dead on a street in Mexico City.
  • May 17 - Presumed members of the Sinaloa Cartel attacked Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, and killed the police chief, two officers, and three civilians, and kidnapped at least 10 additional people.
  • May 28 - Seven federal police agents die in a shootout in Culiacán, Sinaloa.
  • May 31 - The United States announces it is using a drug trafficking law to impose financial sanctions on Mexican drugs cartels, along with other non-state actors.
  • June 26 - Police commander Igor Labastida is shot dead in a restaurant in Mexico City.
  • August 27 - Police find three headless bodies in a rubbish dump in Tijuana, killed by drug cartels.
  • September 15 - 2008 Morelia grenade attacks: Grenades killed eight civilians and injured more than 100 in Morelia, Michoacán.
  • September 17 - Over 200 people across Mexico, Guatemala, Italy and the United States, including members of the Gulf cartel and the 'Ndrangheta are arrested in a major anti-drug trafficking operation, Operation Solare.
  • October 22 - Police capture boss Jesus Zambada of the Sinaloa cartel after a shootout in Mexico City.
  • October 24 - Mexican criminal investigator Andres Dimitriadis is shot dead by drug traffickers in his car on his way home.
  • October 26 - Colombian police seize a shipment of cocaine worth US$200m en route to Mexico.
  • October 26 - The Mexican army captures drug lord Eduardo Arellano Félix after a shootout in Tijuana.
  • November 2 - Senior Mexican police officer Víctor Gerardo Garay resigns amidst claims one of his aides was on the payroll of the Sinaloa cartel.
  • November 4 - 2008 Mexico City plane crash: Juan Camilo Mouriño, Secretary of the Interior of President Felipe Calderón, dies when his Learjet crashes in Mexico City. Fourteen others die, including José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, the former assistant attorney general. Authorities said there was no evidence of foul play, as both Mouriño and Vasconcelos were key figures in the drug war, and that the accident was caused by wake turbulence.
  • November 7 - The Policia Federal arrested Jaime González Durán in Tamaulipas who was a founding member of the original Los Zetas
  • November 19 - Mexican Interpol chief Ricardo Gutiérrez Vargas is arrested on suspicion of links with drug traffickers.
  • November 21 - Noé Ramírez Mandujano, ex-head of Mexico's anti-organized crime agency, is arrested on suspicion of links with drug traffickers.
  • November 28: Gunmen in Ciudad Juárez killed eight people at a restaurant.
  • November 30: Guatemalan and Mexican drug gangs clash on the two country's border, leaving 18 dead.
  • December 4: 13 bodies are found near a dirt road in Sinaloa.
  • December 8 - Ten suspected drug traffickers and one soldier are killed in a shootout in Guerrero, while another six people are killed when fire is opened on a pool hall in Ciudad Juárez.
  • December 10: Felix Batista, an American anti-kidnapping expert was kidnapped in Saltillo, Coahuila.
  • December 21: Seven off-duty soldiers and one police commander were kidnapped, tortured and decapitated.[34] Their heads were left at a shopping center with a threat note to the military.
Summary: For 2008 a record of 5,630 deaths was reached.

2009
  • January 2 - Mexican authorities arrested Alberto Espinoza Barrón (known as “La Fresa”), who is presumed to be one of the leaders of the Michoacán Drug Cartel (La Familia Michoacana).
  • January 6: Gunmen fired on and threw grenades at the Televisa TV station in Monterrey during a nightly newscast, causing no injuries. A note left on the scene read: "Stop reporting just on us. Report on the narco's political leaders."
  • January 19 - 21 police officers in Tijuana are arrested on suspicion of collaborating with drug cartels.
  • January 22 - Police arrest Santiago Meza, a man who allegedly dissolved 300 bodies of rival drug traffickers for his boss Teodoro García Simental, after he split from the Arellano Félix cartel.
  • February 3 - The body of retired General Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñónez, who had been appointed a special drugs consultant to the Benito Juárez municipality mayor, was found near Cancún along with the bodies of his aide and a driver.
  • February 5 - Police capture drug dealer Gerónimo Gámez García in Mexico City.
  • February 10 - Troops descended upon a police station in Cancún in connection with the torture and murder of former general Mauro Enrique Tello, who led an elite anti-drugs squad.
  • February 10 - Assailants kidnapped 9 people in Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua. They were then pursued by the Mexican military to a ranch located 12 km south of the Garita de Samalayuca, where at least 21 people were killed. The fatalities includes one soldier, 6 of the 9 prisoners and 14 assailants that were killed by The Mexican army. This event shares much with the attack of May 17, 2008, and it is presumed that the attackers were members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
  • February 12 - Octavio Almanza, alleged head of Los Zetas in Cancún, is arrested.
  • February 12 - Gunmen assassinate Detective Ramón Jasso Rodríguez, the chief in charge of the homicide division for the state police of Nuevo León.
  • February 13 - A police patrol was ambushed in a grenade attack in Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán. Two municipality police officers were injured and evacuated to the hospital, they were reported to be in stable condition.
  • February 14 - In the municipality of Villa Ahumada, 125 kilometers south of Ciudad Juárez. troops on patrol fought a gunbattle with cartel gunmen, leaving three assailants dead.
  • February 15 - Five people were killed by alleged narco assailants in Gómez Palacio, Durango.
  • The Mexican Navy, with the help of the United States Coast Guard, confiscated 7 tons of cocaine being transported on a fishing vessel in international waters in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Gunmen in Tabasco kill a policeman, ten members of his family, and another person.
  • February 16 - Seven people were killed by alleged narco assailants in Jalisco.
  • February 17 - A multiple-hour running gun battle between elements of the Mexican Army and unknown attackers (sicarios) has resulted in five dead soldiers and five dead assailants in a shopping district and several residential neighborhoods of Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Approximately 20 additional people were injured by gunfire and grenades.
  • February 20 - Ciudad Juárez Police Chief Robert Orduna announced his resignation after two police officers are killed. Drug traffickers had threatened to kill a police officer every 48 hours until the chief resigned.
  • February 22 - Five assailants attacked the convoy of Chihuahua governor, José Reyes Baeza, killing a bodyguard.
  • February 24 - Mexican authorities extradited Miguel Ángel Caro Quintero (the brother of Rafael Caro Quintero) to the U.S.
  • Heavily armed gunmen assassinated the Vista Hermosa Mayor in Michoacán.
  • February 25 - assailants attacked a police patrol with gunfire and fragmentation grenades in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, killing four police officers.
  • American raids code-named Operation Xcellerator on the Sinaloa cartel in California, Minnesota and Maryland lead to 755 arrests, the discovery of a 'super meth lab' and laboratory equipment capable of producing 12,000 ecstasy pills an hour.
  • February 28 - Close to 1,800 Mexican troops arrived in Ciudad Juárez as part of a contingent of 5,000 Federal Police and troops.
  • March 4: 2009 Mexico prison riot leaves 20 dead.
  • March 9: French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets President Felipe Calderón in Mexico. Sarkozy discussed with his counterpart the fate of French national Florence Cassez who was sentenced to a 60-year jail term for being involved in kidnappings in Mexico. Cassez may ask to be returned to France to finish her sentence in her home country.
  • The Mexican Army confirmed the arrest of 26 members of the Arrellano Félix Cartel, including Ángel Jácome Gamboa (El Kaibil'), one state police officer, one municipal police officer, and other suspects.
  • March 10: The Mexican Ministry of Defense orders 6 Eurocopter EC 725 Helicopters from Eurocopter to transport soldiers in special operations. The deal was finalized behind closed doors between Felipe Calderón and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • March 10: 5 human heads found in coolers in Jalisco. State Public Safety Secretary Luis Carlos Najera says threatening messages aimed at drug traffickers were found with the heads, which were covered with tape and discovered in individual coolers near the community of Ixtlahuacán del Río.
  • March 12: The United States Department of Homeland Security stated that it is considering using the National Guard as a last resort to counter the threat of drug violence in Mexico from spilling over the border into the US.
  • March 19: The Mexican Military captures alleged Sinaloa cartel drug trafficker Vicente Zambada Son of Imsael Zambada . Zambada's father, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, also is considered a top leader of the Sinaloa cartel and is among Mexico's most-wanted suspects.
  • March 22: Gunmen have killed a state police commander in charge of investigating kidnappings and extortion in the western state of Michoacán. Édgar Garcia was sitting at a red light in his car Sunday when two other vehicles pulled up and opened fire, the state government said in a communique late Sunday. He died at the scene. State police in a nearby patrol car chased the suspects. One of the cars went out of control and crashed into a university building, according to the statement. A gunman got out of the car and began shooting at police, injuring one officer. Police then shot the gunman dead while his partner fled with apparent gunshot wounds.
  • March 25: A battle took place between The PFP and members of a kidnapping gang linked to "La Familia" cartel. Two federal policemen were injured and 3 of the delinquents were captured.
  • Special Forces Unit captured one of Mexico's most-wanted drug smugglers, Héctor Huerta Ríos, whose nickname "la burra" — female donkey — belies his power as the alleged trafficker controlling drugs flowing through the northern city of Monterrey.
  • March 26: A US Marshal, Vincent Bustamante who was the subject of an arrest warrant, was found dead in Ciudad Juárez.
  • April 1: Three gunmen were killed by the Mexican army in a 10 minute gun battle.
  • April 2 - Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, was arrested near Mexico City.
  • April 19 - Eight police officers are killed in an attack on a prison convoy transporting senior leaders of the Beltrán Leyva cartel cartel. Federal Police captured 44 members of "La Familia", including its chief Rafael Cedeño Hernández "El Cede".
  • April 22 - The bodies of two undercover government agents are found in Durango, 50 km south of Guanacevi, along with a note saying "Neither priests nor rulers will ever get El Chapo" (El Chapo referring to Joaquín Guzmán and with clear allusion to the comments of the Archbishop of Durango Héctor González Martínez)
  • April 30 - Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa, an influential figure in Los Zetas, was captured in the city of Matamoros.
  • May 17 - An armed gang linked to the Gulf cartel disguised as police officers break into a prison in Zacatecas and free 50 inmates.
  • May 27 - 27 high-ranking officials including 10 mayors and a judge in Michoacán suspected of collaboration with La Familia cartel.
  • June 6- 16 gunmen of a drug cartel and 2 Mexican Army soldiers are killed during a four hour shootout in Acapulco
  • June 15 - Juan Manuel Jurado Zarzoza of the Gulf Cartel is captured in Cancún.
  • June 26 - Federal police kill 12 members of Los Zetas in Apaseo el Alto.
  • Gunmen kill two assistants of Ernesto Cornejo, a Partido Acción Nacional candidate, in Sonora, but fail to kill him.
  • July 7 - Anti-crime activist Benjamin LeBaron and his brother-in-law Luis Widmar are murdered after armed men storm their house in Galeana, Chihuahua.
  • July 11 - Several Police headquarters are attacked by gunmen in Michoacán, leaving several injured, and 2 members of the Mexican Army dead.
  • July 14 - The organization tortured and murdered twelve Mexican federal agents and dumped the bodies along the side of a mountain highway. The agents were investigating crime in President Felipe Calderón's home state of Michoacán.
  • In a confrontation with Federal Police officers, two gunmen died in the state of Veracruz, no federal officers or soldiers were reported injured.
  • August 6 - A shootout between police and gunmen leaves over a dozen dead and 22 injured in Pachuca, the capital of the state of Hidalgo. Nine Mexican cartel suspects and three law enforcement officials were injured Thursday. Missing federal agents were found alive, however this discovery initiated simultaneous shootouts and grenade attacks on police installations around Mexico.
  • August 8 - Federal police arrest Manuel Invanovich Zambrano Flores, a top lieutenant of the Tijuana Cartel.
  • August 20 - Law enforcement officials, led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration disrupted a massive drug operation by cutting off shipments of cocaine by the ton into Chicago and knocking out a major distribution network that operated out of the city. The drug operation allegedly brought 1,500 to 2,000 kilos of cocaine every month to Chicago from Mexico and shipped millions of dollars south of the border. At the top of the Chicago crew were 28-year-old twin brothers—Pedro and Margarito Flores—who controlled a group of underlings and headed up incoming drug shipments. They were also in charge of collecting, storing and shipping the cash and distributing the drugs around the country, authorities said. The Flores brothers were allegedly supplied by two warring cartel factions that have played a major role in the escalating drug violence in Mexico, including one reputedly led by Joaquín "el Chapo" Guzmán Loera, 54, and Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada García, 59, and another led by Arturo Beltrán Leyva, 47. The Flores brothers, who are in custody, had done business with each of the warring drug cartels, authorities say. Each cartel threatened the Flores brothers with violence if they did business with the other, according to the charges.
  • September 3 - Gunmen attack a drug clinic in Ciudad Juárez, lining up patients against a wall and killing at least 17.
  • September 6 - José Rodolfo Escajeda of the Juárez cartel is arrested in connection with the drug clinic massacre several days earlier.
  • September 16 - 10 people are killed in another gun attack on a drug clinic in Ciudad Juarez.
  • October 16 - One Federal Police officer was killed by gunmen while the officer was conducting a traffic stop, instead the men in the vehicle opened fired and killed officer Valentin Manuel Gutierrez Heredia, 34, who was assigned to the Mazatlan sector. shortly after in the afternoon, Mexican troops conducted a raid in the residential zone of Mazatlan leading to a gunbattle. One civilian was killed while one soldier and one police officer were injured.Unofficially, it was reported that the armed group is the same one that killed federal agent Valentin Gutierrez, Thursday night.
  • December 16 - A two hour shootout between 200 Mexican Marines and Beltrán-Leyva Cartel gunmen led to the death of Marcos Arturo Beltrán-Leyva the main head of the organization and his brother Mario Alberto Leyva, or Hector, in an upscale resort in Cuernavaca, also killed were four of his bodyguards, of which one committed suicide while surrounded by marines. Two marines were also injured and one other died, Navy 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedet Angulo Córdova died while being treated for his injuries.
  • December 22 - Only hours after the burial of 3rd Petty Officer Melquisedet Angulo Córdova, gunmen break into his family's house and kill Angulo's mother and three other relatives. The shooting was believed to be retaliation for the death of Marcos Arturo Beltrán-Leyva, as well as a warning against the military forces involved in President Felipe Calderón's war on Mexico's drug cartels.
2010
  • On January 2, Carlos Beltrán Leyva brother of Marcos Arturo Beltrán-Leyva was arrested by Federal Police officers in Culiacan, Sinaloa.
  • January 8, due to high crime rates in the munipality of Tancítaro, Michoacán its Municipal Police force have been disbanded. City officials will leave the Army and Policia Estatal (State Police) incharge of public security.
  • January 12, Federal Police arrested the leader of the Tijuana Cartel, Teodoro "El Teo" García Simental in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
  • January 31, Teenagers at a party in Ciudad Juarez are gunned down. At first the number of casualties was reported to be 14 but increased to 16 after two victims died in the hospital later on. Ten of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 19, according to the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office. Four ranged from ages 23 to 42, and two others were unidentified. The local police is investigating the possible causes but said that it is likely linked to a turf battle between rivaling Cartels. However only three of the victims could be linked to the drug trade so far.
  • February 8, Raydel Lopez Uriarte, known as El Muletas or Crutches, was arrested in the capital of La Paz. Raydel Lopez Uriarte was considered the leader of the criminal cell that had been previously led by "El Teo", who were engaged in a bloody dispute over turf with Francisco Sanchez Arellano (a) "El Ingeniero", the head of the Arellano Felix cartel.
  • February 22, Jose Vasquez Villagrana "El Jabali," 40, was arrested in his home town of Santa Ana, Sonora, which borders Arizona. Described as a key operator of the powerful Sinaloa cartel who served briefly in the U.S. army before taking on the trafficking of 2 tons of cocaine a month into the United States.
  • February 24, Osiel Cardenas, 42, is sentenced to 25 years in prison and made to forfeit $50 US million of his personal fortune by a federal court in Texas. Osiel formerly headed Mexico's notorious Gulf cartel, was arrested in Mexico in 2003 and extradited in 2007 to the US, where he has been held behind bars without parole.
  • March 1, The Gulf cartel declares war against Los Zetas. Los Zetas are pursued form Matamoros to Monterrey. La Familia sends re-enforcements to assist the Gulf cartel. It is believed that the Sinaloa cartel might also be helping the Gulf cartel attempt to eliminate Los Zetas. The northeast border of Mexico becomes a battle ground in the escalating violence between rivals cartels, military and police officers.
  • March 15, Three people connected to the US consulate in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez were killed. A U.S. consular employee and her husband were gunned down inside their SUV near the Santa Fe International Bridge. The husband of an employee of the U.S. Consulate is also executed within seconds. The executions are attributed to the Juarez cartel armed wing "La Linea" using street gangsters of Barrio Azteca with ties to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. 
  • March 17, President Felipe Calderon makes an unpredented third visit to Ciudad Juarez within 33 days. The Mexican President was in Juarez to share his plan to quell violence and to analyze the comprehensive strategy on security. He was pushed to act by the Jan. 31 massacre of at least 15 mostly young people at a party and the slayings of three people attached to the U.S. Consulate.  He promises that Juarez will not be forgotten and he promised to send economic and security support.
  • March 31, The slaying of an Arizona rancher Robert Krentz by a suspect who apparently fled to Mexico
  • April 20, The Hummer Sentenced to 16 Years.
  • April 23, Mexico Captures Indio.
  • April 29, Drug Lord Extradited to Texas.
  • April 29, Wife of "El H" Abducted and Set Free.
  • May 15, Former Mexico Presidential Candidate Missing.
  • June 28, PRI Gubernatorial Candidate Assassinated in Tamaulipas.
  • July 29, Nacho Coronel Killed in Zapopan, Jalisco.
  • August 17, Mayor Mayor Edelmiro Cavazos is abducted and killed.
  • August 26, Zetas Massacre 72 Illegal Immigrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.
  • August 30, La Barbie Arrested.
  • September 9 – Gunmen killed 25 people in a series of drug-related attacks in Ciudad Juárez, marking the deadliest day in more than two years for the Mexican border city. Two graffiti message's appeared in Ciudad Juárez threatening the Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquin Guzman. One message read: "You are killing our sons. You already did, and now we are going to kill your families."
  • September 10 – In the border city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, 85 inmates — 66 of whom were convicted or on trial for federal charges like weapons possession or drugs — scaled the Reynosa prison's 20-foot (6-meter) walls using ladders. Forty four prison guards and employees were under investigation. Two were missing. So far this year a total of 201 inmates have escaped from prisons in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
  • September 12 - Mexican marines arrest Sergio Villarreal Barragán, a lieutenant of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel.
  • September 16 - In Matamoros, Tamaulipas, over 25 people were killed after a confrontation between the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas, and elements of the Mexican Navy. This was during the eve celebration of the Mexican Independence Day.
  • October 18 – Mexican authorities seized 105 tons of marijuana bound for the U.S., representing the biggest bust in the history of the state of Baja California. Soldiers and police seized the drugs in pre-dawn raids in three neighborhoods. The marijuana was found wrapped in 10,000 packages. The drug had an estimated street value in Mexico of 4.2 billion pesos, about $338 million.
  • October 22 – Gunmen kill 14 people at a boy's birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.
  • October 24 – Gunmen in Tijuana kill 13 people at a drug rehab clinic.
  • October 27 – Gunmen kill 15 people at a car wash in Tepic, Nayarit.
  • November 4 – In Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas, 8 beheaded corpses were found on the trunk of a pickup truck. On top of the corpses, a poster read the following: “This happens for supporting Los Zetas. Here are all your halcones (informants). Sincerely, the Gulf Cartel.
  • November 5 – Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillen, co-leader of the Gulf Cartel, was shot and killed during a gunbattle against Mexican authorities, along with more than 50 of his gunmen, in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Although not confirmed, some local sources reveal that more than 100 people died that day in Matamoros.
  • November 9 – Customs authorities at the International Airport of Mexico City seized 113 kilos of cocaine and two thousand bottles of pills with Risperidone.
  • November 9 – Mayor Gregorio Barradas Miravete was found executed with a note left on him that read: "This is going to happen to all those who continue to support Los Zetas."
  • November 22 - In the rural outsides of Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, drug cartel gunmen threatened a 77 year-old local entrepreneur, Don Alejo Garza Támez, to give away all his property. According to the report, they gave Don Alejo one day to leave his ranch before the gunmen arrived. If not, they threatened to kill him. Instead, Don Alejo made a fortress in his own ranch; setting up traps, and placing rifles on every house window, waiting for the arrival of the gunmen all by himself. When the gunmen arrived, Don Alejo shot and killed 4 of them, and gravely injured 2. Nevertheless, Don Alejo was killed, too, but he was commemorated for his heroic act.
  • December 3 - In Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexican authorities capture Edgar Jiménez Lugo, alias "El Ponchis," a 14 year-old hitman from the South Pacific Cartel. He is the youngest sicario that there is register of in Mexico; "El Ponchis" is well-known for carrying out over 300 violent executions, most of them by mutilation, torture, and decapitation.
  • December 9 – La Familia Michoacana's drug lord, Nazario Moreno González, was killed in a shootout with the federal police.
  • December 18 – In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, 151 inmates escaped a federal prison—58 of them were high-profile criminals—and investigations mention that the convicts left through the front door, which implies that the director allowed them to escape.
  • December 19 - 2010 Puebla oil pipeline explosion: In the state of Puebla, a pipeline owned by PEMEX company exploded after thieves from Los Zetas attempted to siphon off the oil. The explosion killed 28 people, injured 52, and damaged over 115 homes.
  • December 28 – Around 60 gunmen stormed the small, indigenous town of Tierras Coloradas, Durango. The gunmen burned all the houses (40), cars (27), and an elementary school; over 200 natives had to flee the area, others were killed.
  • For 2010, the drug-related deaths reached 15,273.
2011
  • January 8 – 28 bodies were discovered in Acapulco, including the decapitated bodies of 15 young men, with the heads scattered around them, which were found outside the Plaza Sendero shopping center. Media reports say that three messages signed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, were found alongside the bodies. The other bodies include 6 found in a taxi behind a supermarket, 4 riddled with bullets in two residential neighborhoods and 3 others in other locations.
  • February 16 – In San Luis Potosí, the American ICE agent Jaime Zapata was ambushed, shot, and killed on a highway during his trajectory to Mexico City by a group of gunmen, later confirmed to be Los Zetas. The second agent, Victor Avila, was wounded, and is now in the United States. The gunmen involved in the shooting have been apprehended.
  • February 27 – Sergio Mora Cortes, aka "El Toto," is captured by Mexican Marines in Saltillo, Coahuila. Mora Cortes was a leader of Los Zetas in the state of San Luis Potosi, and he was wanted for the murder of the American ICE agent Jaime Zapata and for the murder of a Nuevo Laredo police chief.
  • February 28 – 7 bodies found hanging from bridges in Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Messages left with the corpses alleged that the dead were members of the South Pacific Cartel.
  • March 1 – A mass grave with over 20 bodies was uncovered in San Miguel Totolapan, Guerrero. Other sources, however, mention that more than 70 bodies were exhumed.
  • March 2 – A three-day shooting was registered between the Mexican Marines and Los Zetas in the city of Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas. During these three days, all local businesses and schools closed; a convoy of 50 SUV’s from Los Zetas was seen in the rural highway outside the city.
  • March 8 – 18 killed in gunfights in Abasolo, Tamaulipas. Most of the dead are believed to be operators for the warring Zetas and the Gulf Cartel. Mexican troops were deployed to restore order.
  • March 10 – Jorge Hernández Espinoza, the Director of Public Security for Santiago Tangamandapio, Michoacán, was found dead in his vehicle with one shot once in his head and three times in his chest.
  • March 29 - Police found the bodies of 6 men and 1 woman inside a car abandoned in an exclusive gated community near Cuernavaca.
  • April 2 - In Ciudad Juarez, a group of gunmen attacked two bars with fire bombs and shootings in less than forty-eight hours, killing over 15 people.
  • April 4 - A clash between the police and drug cartel gunmen left 7 dead and 6 people injured in Acapulco, Guerrero. In addition, a whole shopping center was burned down by the gunmen, and a dozen of stores were left in ruins.
  • April 26 - 2011 Tamaulipas massacre: In San Fernando, Tamaulipas, after exhuming more than 40 mass graves, the final body count reached 193 corpses. Although not confirmed, some newspapers mention that the body count surpassed 500, but that the state government of Tamaulipas supposedly censored and prevented such publications.
  • May 1 - MEXICO CITY - The drug-war death toll for Mexico in April was 1,400, the highest of any month since the Mexican government began its war on illicit drug trade four years ago. The previous high was 1,322 in August 2010.
  • May 9 - The Mexican government, along with Sedena, disarm all police forces in the state of Tamaulipas, beginning with the cities of Matamoros and Reynosa.
  • May 14 - 2011 Durango massacres: In the state of Durango, 249 bodies were exhumed from numerous clandestine mass graves. Some sources, however, indicate that the actual body count reached 308 corpses.
  • May 16 – In Guatemala, 27 farmers were killed by Los Zetas; the majority of the victims presented signs of torture and decapitation.
  • May 20 - In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, directly across the border from Laredo, Texas, 31 people were killed in a 24-hour span. In addition, more than 40 people were injured, and 196 drug cartel gunmen were detained.
  • May 27 - In Ruiz, Nayarit, a convoy from Los Zetas ambushed a group of gunmen of the Sinaloa Cartel; 29 gunmen were killed, 3 were found injured.
  • A confrontation between the Federal Police forces and La Familia Michoacana in a ranch at Jilotlán de los Dolores, in western Jalisco, left 11 La Familia gunmen killed and 36 arrested.[213] More than 70 assault rifles were confiscated, along with 14 handguns, 3 grenades, 578 cartridges, 20,000 rounds of ammunition, and 40 bullet-proof vests. It was later discovered that La Familia Michoacana was planning a raid against the Knights Templar.
  • June 3 - In the state of Coahuila, 38 bodies were exhumed from clandestine mass graves.
  • June 9 - The United States government arrested 127 U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who were collaborating with the Mexican drug cartels.
  • June 15 - A total of 34 people were killed in Monterrey, Nuevo León in a 24-hour span.
  • June 21 - José de Jesús Méndez Vargas 'El Chango', leader of La Familia Michoacana, was captured in Aguascalientes.
  • July 1 – In Fresnillo, Zacatecas, during a confrontation between Los Zetas and the Mexican forces, 15 Zeta gunmen were killed, and 17 were arrested; SEMAR notified that 6 marines were wounded.
  • Zacateca's Attorney General, Arturo Nahle García, confirmed that in Fresnillo, more than 250 Los Zetas gunmen confronted elements of the Mexican Navy throughout the whole city.
  • July 4 - Federal Police agents arrest Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar, one of the leaders and co-founders of the Los Zetas drug cartel.
  • July 8 - In the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, a group of gunmen shot and killed 27 people, injured 7, and kidnapped 8 in 'Bar Sabino Gordo.' Presumably, this massacre was from the Gulf Cartel to their rival group Los Zetas.
  • July 9 - Fighting among Los Zetas and other drug cartels led to the deaths of more than 40 people whose bodies were found in three Mexican cities over a 24-hour span.
  • July 11 - Armando Villarreal Heredia, a U.S-born drug lieutenant of the Arellano-Felix drug cartel, is arrested by the Federal Police.
  • July 12 - In Ciudad Juarez, 21 people were killed in different parts of the city by gunmen. This marked the deadliest day for Ciudad Juarez in 2011.
  • July 14 - The Mexican Army discovers the largest marijuana plantation ever found in the country, 320 km (200 mi) south of San Diego, CA., in the Mexican state of Baja California; consisting of 120 hectares (300 acres) that would have yielded about 120 tons, and was worth about USD $160 million.
  • July 15 - In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, 66 inmates escaped a federal prison during a massive brawl, where 7 other inmates were found dead.
  • July 23 – The president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and peace and human rights activists, which included the poet Javier Sicilia, gathered in Chapultepec Castle to initiate a national aired discussion on Mexico's drug war violence and on the country's military-led strategy against the drug cartels.
  • Due to anonymous calls by civilians, the Mexican Army carried out an operation to crackdown operatives from Los Zetas in Pánuco, Veracruz; when the Mexican forces arrived at the place, the gunmen received them with shots, but the Army repelled the aggression and killed 10 Zetas.
  • July 24 - An unidentified group of gunmen disarmed 21 policemen in Michoacán. According to the information given, the gunmen carried out personal inspections to each police officer, disarming them one by one. The cops refused to defend themselves because the gunmen expressed high levels of anxiousness, and they were scared of being executed.
  • July 25 - Inside a prison in Ciudad Juárez, 17 inmates were shot and killed during a brawl between rival drug groups.
  • July 28 - Fortino Cortés Sandoval, the mayor of Florencia de Benito Juárez, Zacatecas, is found dead after a group of gunmen abducted him from his office.
  • July 31 - The Federal Police forces of Mexico captured José Antonio Acosta Hernández, nicknamed "El Diego," supreme leader of La Linea, the armed wing of the Juárez Cartel. According to government sources, "El Diego" had ordered more than 1,500 executions, some of them including government officials.
  • August 4 - The Secretariat of National Defense announced that after the initiation of the 'Operation Lince Norte', an operation focused primarily on destroying the financial and logistic sectors of Los Zetas, more than 500,000 pesos have been confiscated, and more than 30 'Zeta' gumnen killed.
  • August 12 - Óscar García Montoya, alias ‘El Compayito’, supreme leader of the criminal group La Mano con Ojos, was captured. He confessed to have killed over 300 people by himself, and ordered the execution of 300 more.
  • August 20 - In Torreon, Coahuila, a shooting was registered during a Mexican soccer match between Santos Laguna and Monarcas Morelia.
  • The mayor of Zacualpan, Mexico State, Jesús Eduviges Nava, was found dead after being kidnapped by gunmen who interrupted a meeting he was holding in his municipality.
  • August 25 - 2011 Monterrey casino attack: a well-armed group of gunmen massacred 52 people, and injured over a dozen, at Casino Royale. Although not confirmed, some sources mention that 61 were killed in the attack. This attack was the most violent and bloodiest in the history of Monterrey and of the whole state of Nuevo Leon. According to eye witnesses, the gunmen quietly stormed the casino and immediately opened fire at the civilians, and then doused the casino entrances with gasoline and started a fire that trapped the people inside.
  • August 30 - In Acapulco, Guerrero, 140 elementary schools closed and over 600 teachers quit their jobs due to the money threats they have been receiving from the drug cartels. Over 75,000 kids are not attending school. One teacher confessed to have seen on a regular basis men in cars with assault rifles sticking out the windows, just outside school grounds.
  • September 14 - In the small town of Juchipila in the state of Zacatecas, over 80 gunmen—presumably from the Gulf Cartel—took control of the town, its jail, and its city hall for over five hours. They mentioned that their goal was to wipe out any presence of Los Zetas in the area.
  • September 17 - Moisés Villanueva de la Luz, a Mexican congressman, is found dead in Guerrero after being kidnapped for thirteen days.
  • September 20 - Two trucks containing 35 dead bodies are found in Boca del Río, Veracruz. Sources mention that all victims were linked to Los Zetas, and that the executions were performed by the Sinaloa Cartel's armed wing, Gente Nueva. Nevertheless, the criminal group Los Mata Zetas claimed responsibility for this massacre. In addition, 14 more bodies were found around Veracruz two days after this incident, summing up to 49 bodies found in public highways in the last forty-eight hours.
  • October 4 - The Mexican federal government launches the military-led project called Operación Veracruz Seguro to ensure tranquility in Veracruz. Reports mention that Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel, and the Sinaloa Cartel are present in that state.
  • October 5 - In Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexican authorities captured Noel Salgueiro Nevárez, the supreme leader of the Sinaloa Cartel's armed wing, Gente Nueva. In addition, they also captured Martín Rosales Magaña, one of the founders of La Familia Michoacana.
  • October 6 - In Boca del Río, Veracruz, a total of 36 bodies were found by Mexican authorities in three houses. Eight alleged perpetrators of the recent killings in Veracruz have been caught, including the leader of the group Los Mata Zetas. In addition, the Attorney General of Veracruz resigned from his position due to the increasing violence. A day after this incident, another 10 bodies were found across the state of Veracruz. The wave of violence has caused over 100 deaths in the past two weeks in Veracruz.
  • October 14 - Carlos Oliva Castillo alias "La Rana," third-in-command in Los Zetas organization and the mastermind of the 2011 Monterrey casino attack where 52 were killed, was captured in northern city of Saltillo, Coahuila.
  • November 11 – Francisco Blake Mora, Secretary of the Interior in the cabinet of Felipe Calderón, dies in a helicopter accident in foggy weather. Some sources speculate that his death was an assassination, though no concrete evidence suggests this.
  • November 23 – A total of 23 bodies—16 of them burned to death—were located in several abandoned vehicles in Sinaloa.
  • November 24 – Three trucks containing 26 bodies were found in an avenue at Guadalajara, Jalisco. All of them were male corpses. Reports mention that Los Zetas and the Milenio Cartel are responsible for the massacre of these twenty-six alleged Sinaloa Cartel members.
  • December 14 – A convoy of U.S. military members was seen crossing the U.S-Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas into Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The U.S. soldiers were greeted by Mexican military officials at the international bridge, and were escorted to their meeting location south of Matamoros. Reports mention that the meeting between the two military units was to discuss “mutual security” concerns.
  • December 25 – The Mexican army announced that it had captured Guzmán's head of security. The arrest took place in Culiacan, the Sinaloa state capital.
2012
  • January 4 – In a prison brawl in Altamira, Tamaulipas, 31 inmates were killed. According to the witnesses, the brawl was between Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas.
  • January 7 – Mexican police in the northern city of Torreon found the severed heads of five people killed in a suspected outbreak of drug gang violence. Officials were still searching for the bodies. The heads were found in black bags in various parts of the city late on Friday, a spokesman for the ministry of public security in the state of Coahuila said on Saturday. Threatening messages were left with the severed heads – a common feature of killings by drug cartels in Mexico – that suggested the slayings were the result of feuding between local gangs, the spokesman said.
  • February 2 – Two U.S. missionaries from a Baptist Church were killed in Santiago, Nuevo León by drug cartel members.
  • February 19 – In Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, 44 inmates were killed in a prison riot, presumably caused by a brawl between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas.
  • March 19 – While conducting an investigation on the beheadings of ten other people, 12 policemen were ambushed and killed by gunmen in Teloloapan, Guerrero. Eleven other police officers were wounded.
  • March 23 – Thirteen people were killed in a wave of drug violence that swept Mexico a day before the Pope's visit. Seven men were found shot on the side of the road in Angostura, Sinaloa at a spot where locals often purchased contraband gasoline from the cartels. Four decapitated heads were found in an abandoned car in Acapulco. The body of a minor and a cab driver were also found in the town.
  • March 27 – Ten people were reported killed in a shootout in Temosachi in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua, where the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels have been fighting for control over drug smuggling routes into the U.S.
  • April 20 – Gunmen kill 16 people in a bar in the capital city of Chihuahua, Chihuahua. Two of those killed were journalists.
  • May 1 – Armed confrontations between the Mexican military and cartel members in Choix, Sinaloa left 27 people dead.
  • May 4 – In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, 23 corpses—14 of them decapitated and 9 of them hanged from a bridge—were found early in the morning.
  • May 9 – The chopped-up remains of 18 bodies were found inside two trucks near Chapala, Jalisco, just south of the city of Guadalajara.
  • May 13 – The Cadereyta Jiménez massacre occurred on the Mexican Federal Highway 40. The decapitated and dismembered bodies of 49 people were found in Cadereyta Jiménez. The remains were left along the road in Nuevo León state, between the cities of Monterrey and Reynosa. A message written on a wall nearby appeared to refer to Los Zetas drug cartel.
  • June 4 - In the Mexican city of Torreón, Coahuila, gunmen killed 11 people at a rehabilitation clinic.
  • August 12 - A total of 12 decomposing bodies are found inside an abandoned vehicle in Zacatecas.
  • August 14 - Members of the Gulf Cartel storm a bar in Monterrey and kill 10 people.
  • October 7 - Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano is killed by the Mexican Navy.
  • December 19 – A failed prison break and subsequent brawl between inmates leaves at least 23 dead in Gómez Palacio, Durango.

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