Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

US Citizens in Cartel's Cross Fire

Thursday, September 24, 2009 |

On this hazy day afternoon in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico the cracking sound of gun fire was once again heard coming from a motel room of "La Cúpula" located in Paseo de la Victoria and Tapioca. A sound that is too common on the streets of Juarez, a play ground for the battling drug cartels. It is suspected that organized crime was responsible in the slaughter of four people.

Again another senseless execution happening in the daylight hours, in a very public place with many witnesses and in one of the most reputable motels of the city. Government officials from both sides of the border have been warning tourists who visit Juarez to stay in public places, remain vigilant of their surrounding, apt the option to stay in their motels without having to walk the streets and lock their doors. But these safety tips mean nothing, in Juarez today anyone can kill you at any time and nothing ever happens.

The incident happened minutes before 6pm and reported by employees of the establishment. The Unofficial account is that two men and two women were the victims of this recent killing.


Police say a group of heavily armed men ordered employees into one room while they searched for the two men and women they were looking for. According to witnesses the armed men then went inside room numer 27 and opened fire on the four people. The assailants were described as at least two hooded commandos who were traveling in a Suburban. At the scene authorities found at least 40 spent shell casings fired from assault weapons known in Spanish as "cuerno de chivo" or AK-47 style weapons. Investigators managed to collect 26 spent shell casings of 7.62 x 39 mm and three 9mm casings, which were sent to the Forensic Ballistics Laboratory for analysis. It was learned that at least three of the victims received the "coup de grace" or the blow of mercy as is known in Mexico "tiro de gracia." At the scene officials also secured a 2002 gray Honda car to determined if it had been reported stolen


Through a communicative from the Chihuahua state agency the names of the four people executed were released. They were identified as Daniel Ivan Torres Gutierrez 22 years, Jimmmy Albert Moreno Macias 21 years. While the two females were identified as Yolanda Torres Vanessa Fernandez 23 years and Brenda Lissete Fernández Torres 20 years, both of the females appeared to be sisters. Through unconfirmed sources it is believed that the target of the attack was Ivan Daniel Torres Gutierrez who had been in company of the three others who at this point appear to be US citizens. Both of the females were said to be from the state of New Mexico.


According to news accounts by various media outlets this execution brings the number in 2009 to at least 35 murders linked to organized crime against US citizens in Juarez and surrounding areas.



This figure is the highest in recent years and possibly the largest of its kind in the history of this border town. It is worth to mention that according to official records from both countries between 2002 and 2009 at least 70 U.S. citizens have been killed on the Mexican side of the border.

During the most recent 17 months, the number of Americans executed in Juarez related to drug trafficking has soared.

US State Department records note that the number of cases of this type of incident since May of last year when it first saw eight executions related to drug trafficking of U.S. citizens has seen drastic increases. From 2002 to 2009 Ciudad Juarez and surrounding areas has register at least 72 murders of U.S citizens, of which about 47 - 65 percent were reported to be potentially executions linked to drug sales.


As President Felipe Calderon attempts to weed out police corruption and break down drug cartels, there has been a power vacuum among narcotic traffickers - and a new wave of narco-violence in Mexico. In its latest travel warning, the State Department declared in October that "some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have taken on the characteristics of small-unit combat." The reason for the rise in crime is the breakdown of the large cartels. It may be too soon to judge Calderon's strategy of making the criminal syndicates smaller, but, at least in the short term, it hasn't stopped the flow of narcotics through Mexico and has only fueled the violence. The chances of being an innocent bystander or witnessing something bad in Juarez are higher now than ever.


You know the old saying in Juarez, "drugs go north, guns come south." In the mean time blood tarnished shell casings scattered on the ground and smuggled in to Mexico from the US have caused the blood of US citizens to spill on Mexican soil. But not to worry, the La Cúpula hotel re-opened within hours of the masacre and were taking reservations, I hear they accept Visa.

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