CHIHUAHUA, Mexico — The latest hot zone in the country's unending drug wars is El Paso's neighbor, Ciudad Juárez.
The border city has claimed the bulk of Chihuahua state's nation-leading 150 gangland slayings in the first 21/2 months of the year.
The tally was boosted by the discovery there last week of 33 bodies at a property federal authorities have linked to the Juárez narcotics cartel. Most of them were buried about five years ago, they said.
But it was the more recent bloodshed last week that was prodigious even by Mexican standards.
A shootout in Chihuahua City left six alleged cartel gunmen and one soldier dead.
In Guadalajara, seven people were shot dead Thursday at the office of a law firm whose principals counted accused drug gangsters and corrupt officials among their clients.
Two men were discovered shot to death Friday afternoon on a downtown Juarez street, their bodies left in a truck bearing Texas license plates.
Chihuahua state's death count remains nearly double that of the next-highest state toll, according to Reforma newspaper.
This year is on pace to set a nationwide record, with close to 600 killings in under three months despite President Felipe Calderón's deployment of thousands of soldiers to violence-prone regions.
In January, a floral arrangement with a list of police targeted by drug gangs was found at the base of a statue dedicated to fallen officers in Ciudad Juárez, according to media reports.
At least nine police officers have been killed in attacks in the city this year, including a lieutenant on Friday, according to news reports.
March 16, 2008
The Washington Post ran a story on the narco madness in Mexico, laying a good part of the blame on the corrupt cops (or at least quoting people who do), and this story about the death toll in Ciudad Juarez is pretty nuts --making 600 dead in Chihuahua in three months. (Also see this story specifically on the mass grave) The flower arrangement for the cops was a nice touch: