Monday, 09 June 2008 17:05

Mexican Police Fleeing Drug Cartel Assassins

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Mexican PoliceThe escalating violence by Mexico’s various drug cartels has taken a heavy toll on Mexico’s police forces in recent months, with the month of May proving especially brutal. At least four high-ranking police officials were gunned down in May, along with many other police and soldiers. “Drug cartels are sending a brutal message to police and soldiers in cities across Mexico: Join us or die,” reported the Associated Press on May 19.

Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, has been one of the worst hit cities along the U.S.-Mexican border. The AP story notes: “Police who take on the cartels feel isolated and vulnerable when they become targets, as did 22 commanders in Ciudad Juarez when drug traffickers named them on a handwritten death list left at a monument to fallen police this year. It was addressed to ‘those who still don’t believe’ in the power of the cartels. Of the 22, seven have been killed and three wounded in assassination attempts. Of the others, all but one have quit.”

“These are attacks directed at the top commanders of the city police, and it is not just happening in Ciudad Juarez,” Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said at the funeral of the latest victim, police director Juan Antonio Roman Garcia. “It is happening in Nuevo Laredo, in Tijuana, in this entire region,” he said. “They are attacking top commanders to destabilize the police force.”

More than 1,100 lives have been taken in the wave of narcoterror so far this year. The cartels have become more brazen, even attacking with machine guns and hand grenades in full daylight in public venues. And they have begun attacking Americans, as well as Mexicans. On May 19, Reuters news service reported that the bodies of four Americans, three men and a woman, were found near the popular beach town of Rosarito, across the border from San Diego, California. They had been shot in the head and their bodies dumped in a notorious drug-smuggling area near the California border.

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