Mexico saw another violent weekend as President Felipe Calderon and the country’s intelligence director, Guillermo Valdes, revised the number of individuals killed in drug cartel violence since Calderon announced a crackdown in 2006: 28,000 higher than the 25,000 reported earlier. The government reports the majority of the dead are involved with the cartels in some form or fashion.
Some of the worse hit areas of those drug wars – Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua, Monterrey in Nuevo Leon and the state of Michoacan – continued to report drug cartel violence and death this weekend.
Ciudad Juarez located in the state of Chihuahua has been deemed the most violent city in Mexico. There are 5,000 federal officers deployed in this city of 1.5 million residents after the military left after a two-year presence. This weekend:
* 200 federal police protested organized crime in the area accusing and detaining one of their own commanders of having drug cartel ties.
* One police officer was assassinated, the assailant remains at large.
In March family members of U.S. consulate employees were killed in an ambush and in July a car bombing, the first act of bombing terrorism, occurred in an attack on federal police. The city is home to the Juarez and Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman worth an estimated $1 billion.
Monterrey located in the state of Nuevo Leon and the richest city in the country with 4 million residents has seen a dramatic rise in violence. This weekend:
• Mexico’s Navy rescued 12 people kidnapped earlier this week by organized gangs.
There have been 284 people killed in the first half of 2010 just as many as were killed in all of 2009. Last month police found a mass grave in the city with 51 bodies. In April, 50 masked gunmen entered a Holiday Inn and kidnapped 5 people. The city is home to the Zetas considered one of the most violent gangs who often display their victims to intimidate enemies.
The state of Michoacan, another hot bed of drug cartel violence reported this weekend:
• 12 local police were locked up in their own jail and 5 of them kidnapped for unknown reasons when 40 men entered the local police station.
Last month 12 federal police officers were ambushed and killed. The majority of the state is home to La Familia drug cartel known for beheading and dismembering their victims.
This is a $39 billion industry which is equivalent to 20% of the Mexican government’s entire budget.