Eight men were gunned down in the past few hours in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, police said.
Gunmen went to a house late Saturday and murdered four men in the border city, municipal police spokesman Adrian Sanchez said.
“Four were killed in the first incident. One of the dead bodies was found inside the residence and three others were inside an automobile parked outside the house,” Sanchez said.
The second shooting occurred less than 30 minutes later at a garage, where four men were gunned down and two others wounded, police said.
The six men were drinking inside the garage when gunmen arrived and fired at least 30 shots at them, Sanchez said.
“The two attacks occurred almost at the same time and a total of eight (people) died in less than half an hour,” the police spokesman said.
Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, 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 Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,754 in 2009.
More than 3,100 people were murdered in the border city last year, making 2010 the worst year since a war between rival drug gangs sent the homicide rate skyrocketing in 2008.
The violence is blamed on a war for control of the border city being waged by the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels with backing from hitmen from local street gangs.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 35,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.