Posted Oct 08, 2008 06:47 pm CDT
A “raging drug war” between Mexican authorities and traffickers has resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people there so far this year, as violent gangs seek to intimidate with brutal killings of both government officials and competitors who block their illegal trade.
The recent murder, by hooded assassins, of Salvador Vergara Cruz, the 34-year-old mayor of a well-known resort town outside Mexico City, brought pleas by a dozen other mayors for protection against the death threats that they say they, too, have received, reports the Los Angeles Times. “One of them reportedly said he had already confessed to his priest to prepare for death.”
As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, police officials and lawyers also have been targeted in assassinations that reportedly may have been drug-related. Meanwhile, the situation has also sparked a spike in kidnappings for ransom, both in Mexico and in nearby areas of the United States, as criminals look for safer alternatives to the drug trade.
“Drug cartel hitmen have massacred some 70 people in the past 10 days in Tijuana on the U.S.-Mexico border, once a freewheeling city serving Americans tequila, cheap medicines and sex that is being devastated by the war,” reports a Reuters article about the escalation of “vicious killings” in the drug war.
The country’s dangerous situation has also sparked a demand for bulletproof cars and homes in El Paso, across the U.S. border in Texas, where Mexicans feel they will be safer, other Reuters articles note.
Although El Paso and Ciudad Juarez are just a short walk apart, there have been about a dozen murders in the U.S. city this year, compared to some 900 in its Mexican counterpart, Reuters reports.
ABAJournal.com: “Kidnappings for Ransom, Both Real and Fake, Are Increasing”
ABAJournal.com: “Teen’s Murder Spurs Mexican Police & Legal System Reform Efforts”
ABAJournal.com: “Are Criminals Winning the Mexican Drug War?”
ABAJournal.com: “6 Slain at Mexican Law Firm, 7th Victim Dies Later”