Monday, January 23, 2012

Gunmen Kill Police Supervisor in Ciudad Juarez

A municipal police supervisor in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in northern Mexico, was murdered by gunmen while driving to work, a police spokesman said.

The victim, who unofficial reports identified as Fabian Ramirez, was driving to work with another police officer Saturday morning in his private automobile when the attack occurred.

The officers were cut off by another automobile and several men opened fire on them, police spokesman Adrian Sanchez said.

The two officers were taken to a hospital, but the supervisor died shortly after arrival and his companion is listed in serious condition, Sanchez said.

Three municipal police officers have been killed in Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, since the start of this month by suspected drug traffickers.

Gunmen riding in SUVs attacked a group of police officers on Jan. 10, killing supervisor Pablo Soria and wounding five other officers.

Ciudad Juarez has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.

The Juarez cartel has been battling the rival Sinaloa cartel for control of smuggling routes from Ciudad Juarez into the United States.

The border city, which topped the list of the world’s deadliest cities for three consecutive years, dropped to second last year with 148 homicides for every 100,000 residents.

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 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 in 2010, making it the worst year since the cartel turf war sent the homicide rate skyrocketing in 2008.

About 2,000 people were murdered in Juarez in 2011.

The government said earlier this month that 12,903 people were killed in drug-related violence between January and September 2011 in Mexico, an increase of 11 percent from the same period in the prior year.

The drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to Sept. 30.

The murder total has grown every year of President Felipe Calderon’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels.

Unofficial tallies published in December by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at more than 50,000.