Organized crime groups have killed 83 police officers this year in Ciudad Juarez so far, Mexico’s murder capital, raising to 214 the number of law enforcement agents murdered in the border city in the past three years, “Joint Operation Chihuahua” spokesman Jaime Torres said.
A municipal police officer was gunned down on Tuesday as he was driving home, Torres said.
Officer Cesar Marquez had just been named earlier in the day to be the operations coordinator of a police station in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
All the police agencies in the border city are on full alert due to the attacks being staged by drug traffickers, Torres said.
Of the 83 officers murdered this year, 28 were municipal officers, 23 were federal law enforcement agents and 10 were state police officers, with the remainder being from the transit police and other agencies, Torres said.
“It’s very hard for an officer, with a rifle and all, to defend himself from a group of around 20 armed individuals who even have grenades,” the official said.
“The hitmen operate with the benefit of surprise and in armed units. They study the victim until they find he is defenseless,” Torres said.
More than 1,750 gangland killings, according to press tallies, have occurred in Juarez this year.
Ciudad Juarez is the scene of a war for control of smuggling routes between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.
The border city, where nearly 6,000 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 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing 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 report released earlier this year.
About 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.