Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

44 Die in Violent Weekend in Northern Mexico

Review for the Weekend

At least 44 people were murdered in a bloody weekend in three northern states where drug cartels are battling for control of territories and smuggling corridors, Mexican officials said Monday.

One city, the border metropolis of Ciudad Juarez, was the scene of 35 killings since last Friday, including those of three police officers, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.

Officials in Juarez, a city of 1.5 million just across the border from El Paso, Texas, have registered more than 950 murders so far this year.

About 30 of the victims have been law enforcement officers, a tally based on figures from the state AG’s office.

The border city is being patrolled by about 5,000 Federal Police officers who took over security duties from army troops originally deployed to stem the wave of violence unleashed by drug cartels and the street gangs on their payrolls.

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

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.

Officials in the Gulf state of Tamaulipas, meanwhile, said at least five people were killed Sunday in separate incidents.

Four men were shot to death early Sunday in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, the state information office, known as the CIO, said.

A shootout Sunday afternoon in the city of Jimenez left one person dead, the CIO said.

A total of 42 people have been murdered in Tamaulipas as of mid-May in incidents linked to the ongoing turf war between the Gulf drug cartel and Los Zetas, the criminal organization’s former armed wing, the CIO said.

Four mutilated bodies were found Sunday in Ciudad Lerdo, a city in Durango state, officials said.

The bodies were found in a pick-up truck along with a message accusing the victims of being the authors of the massacre of eight young men at a bar in Torreon, Coahuila.

Gunmen in four SUVs opened fire early Saturday on a group of young people at a bar in Torreon, killing eight and wounding 15 others.

Police found 106 bullet casings from different caliber weapons at the crime scene.

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