The market for illegal drugs globally is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with profits flowing mainly to drug traffickers. In 2006, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon declared war on his own country's powerful cartels. As Mexican forces pursued them, rival gangs clashed over territory, and civilians were caught in the crossfire. Meanwhile, emboldened, cartels have expanded into Central America. As long as demand for drugs remains high, there's incentive to provide the supply.
COALCOMAN — “The problem started when they began messing with the population: extortion, rapes, killings," this county's mayor, Rafael Garcia, says of the Knights Templar cartel. "We were terrified. We are still terrified.”
MEXICO CITY — President Enrique Peña Nieto says he wants to soften Mexico's bloody, military-led offensive against its criminal lords with a brainier, more preventive strategy. Well, wish him luck with that. This week, he had to put boots on the ground again.
SALTILLO, Mexico — Burly as a linebacker, Rogelio Elizondo remained dry-eyed as he described scouring websites devoted to Mexico's gangland savagery, hoping to somehow recognize his long-missing son amid photos of fresh victims or decayed remains pulled from clandestine graves.
A Mexican prison riot in which 44 people were stabbed, strangled or beaten to death was originally mourned as just another Latin American prison tragedy, days after a fire in a Honduras jail killed more than 350 inmates.
In perhaps a final affront to the United States today, Mexican President Felipe Calderón unveiled a billboard with the words, “No more weapons,” facing north of the border in Ciudad Juárez, one of the world’s most violent cities ravaged by drug crime.