Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

15 Murdered in Mexico

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 |


Fifteen people, including a 7-year-old boy, died in drug-related violence in northern and southern Mexico, state officials said.

Police found the bullet-riddled bodies of five men inside an automobile in Tecpan de Galeana, a city in the southern state of Guerrero.

Two of the bodies were in the passenger compartment and the other three had been stuffed into the trunk of the Nissan Altima, which was abandoned in the city’s Las Antenas section.

The bullet-riddled body of a woman was found in Altamira, a city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the state information office, known as the CIO, said.

A turf war between rival gangs left 39 people dead in the northeastern state in April.

Tamaulipas, which is located on the Gulf of Mexico, has been rocked in recent months by a wave of violence blamed on a push by an alliance of cartels to liquidate the Los Zetas gang.

The Gulf cartel, long in control of organized crime activities in the state, has been battling Los Zetas, a group of former soldiers-turned-hitmen who served as the criminal organization’s armed wing.

The cartel and the Zetas reportedly split in late 2009.

The Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels have joined the Gulf organization in its war on Los Zetas.

The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnappings, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans willing to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.

The death toll from Mexico’s drug war, meanwhile, continued to mount in Ciudad Juarez, which is in Chihuahua state and just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

At least nine people were murdered between Friday and Saturday in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.

A 7-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.

Ciudad Juarez, where more than 5,000 people have been murdered since 2008, 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.

The death toll for this year currently stands at nearly 900, including 16 people massacred on Jan. 31 while attending a birthday party in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood.

The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of the border city.

Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence blamed on powerful cartels.

A classified report provided by the government to senators last month estimated that 22,743 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in December 2006.

Press tallies had put the number of people killed in drug-related violence since Calderon took office at 18,000.

The classified report estimates the death toll for this year, as of mid-April, at 2,904.

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