El Paso Times
Soldiers patrol near where six men were killed in the Valley of Juarez Wednesday night.
Ciudad Juarez, Chih - Six men were killed in a shooting Wednesday night at a ranch near the village of Praxedis G. Guerrero in the Valley of Juárez.
The gunmen with AK-47s arrived in a truck or a van and opened fire on the victims at "Rancho Nuevo," a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office said today.
Killed were Saul Martinez Rodriguez, 40, his brother Ernesto Martinez Rodriguez, 37, Gerardo Hernandez Rosales, 37, Julio Ruiz, 60, Victor Manuel Rosales, 37, and an unidentified man in his late 20s.
Investigators survey the scene where six men were murdered near the village of Praxedis G. Guerrero Wednesday night.
Investigators counted 30 bullet casings and seized a black Ford Ranger with Texas plates. It is unclear if any of the victims are from Texas.
The valley east of Juárez is a battleground in the war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels for control of a smuggling corridor. The control of that corridor has been a topic raised in a drug-smuggling trial currently in U.S. District Court in El Paso.
Nine Die in Drug-Related Violence in Northern Mexico
At least six people were killed when gunmen attacked a ranch near Ciudad Juarez, a border city in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, while three soldiers were killed and three others wounded in a shootout with gunmen in Nuevo Leon state, officials said.
Rancho Nuevo, located at kilometer 76 of the Juarez-El Porvenir highway and less than 30 minutes southeast of Ciudad Juarez, was attacked Wednesday night, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.
The gunmen entered the ranch and opened fire on eight unidentified men, killing six and wounding two others, then fled, the AG’s office said.
One of the bodies was found next to an SUV and the others were near some stables.
Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, and considered the most dangerous city in Mexico, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when more than 800 people were killed, then it more than doubled to 1,623 in 2008, according to press tallies, with the number of killings soaring to 2,635 last year.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a recent report.
The death toll for this year currently stands at around 400, including 16 people massacred on Jan. 31 while attending a birthday party in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood.
The killings have continued despite the recent restructuring of the joint army-police operation targeting drug traffickers in Chihuahua state.
Police in Nuevo Leon state, meanwhile, said a military patrol was attacked Wednesday on the Monterrey-Colombia highway.
The soldiers were ambushed by gunmen in several SUVs, the shift commander of the police department in Anahuac, a border city in Nuevo Leon, told Efe.
“The incident occurred around noon near the Salinilla highway,” the police spokesman said, adding that the shootout lasted about 20 minutes.
Nuevo Leon Public Safety Secretary Carlos Jauregui confirmed that the shootout happened.
Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence blamed on powerful cartels.
Last year, according to the El Universal newspaper, was the deadliest in Mexico in the past decade, with 7,724 people killed in violent incidents attributed to organized crime groups.