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4 Dead, 17 wounded in attacks on bars in western Mexico

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mexico City, Apr 1 (EFE).- Four people, including a U.S. citizen, were killed and 17 others wounded in attacks staged by gunmen on two bars in Guadalajara, the capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco, state officials said Monday.

The first attack occurred Sunday night when a gunman fired shots and threw a grenade into the Ruta 66 bar in Guadalajara's Cristobal de Oñate district, the Jalisco Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The Gol bar in the San Jacinto neighborhood was attacked about 15 minutes later, the AG's office said without specifying whether the incidents were related.

Hugo Rodriguez Espinoza, a 28-year-old customer, and Vicente Rojas Valdivia, a 30-year-old employee, died in the attack on Ruta 66.

Jeff Lydell Comer, a 45-year-old American, and Julio Cesar Chavez Gonzalez, 20, were killed in the attack on the Gol bar, the AG's office said.

Authorities closed the bars, both located on the east side of Guadalajara, so investigators could gather evidence.

No arrests have been reported.

A Mexico City newspaper reported Monday that 1,025 people died in drug-related violence in March, making it the deadliest month since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office.

A total of 3,919 people have been killed in drug-related incidents since Dec. 1, 2012, the day Peña Nieto took office, the Milenio newspaper said.

The death toll was 982 in December, 956 in January and 956 in February, the newspaper said.

An average of nearly 33 people a day died in drug-related violence in March, Milenio said.

Chihuahua was once again Mexico's most violent state, with 186 murders, followed by Sinaloa, with 108, and Mexico state, with 86.

A total of 29 security forces members, including 15 municipal police officers, seven Federal Police officers, four soldiers and three state police officers, were killed last month.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.

Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has continued the strategy implemented by Calderon of taking on the cartels, but he has also called for bolstering intelligence capabilities and attacking criminal organizations' entire structures, not just kingpins.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130401/4-dead-17-wounded-attacks-bars-western-mexico