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Drug violence reduced by Mexico arrests

April 26, 2010 at 6:07 PM

TIJUANA, Mexico, April 26 (UPI) -- Drug-related violence in Tijuana, Mexico, has decreased in the past months since the arrest of top members of a notoriously violent drug gang, officials said.

The drop in the number of gang-related killings follows the arrest of Teodoro Garcia Simental, his brother Jose Manuel Garcia Simental, and top deputy Raydel Lopez Uriarte, leaders of a gang blamed for more than 300 homicides, including those of dozens of police officers, The San Diego Union Tribune reported Monday.

Since those arrests, authorities say, organized crime figures in the city have kept a lower profile.

"They want to handle themselves with greater discretion," Fermin Gomez, Baja California's deputy attorney general for organized crime, said. "We're not seeing the previous modus operandi, with very dramatic conditions, with mutilated bodies, cut up and beheaded."

Killings have not stopped but they are less frequent and done out of the public eye, and police have not been targets, officials said.

But one expert says authorities should not be overconfident.

"The patterns of violence and peace tend to reflect the dynamics among the cartels more so than the effectiveness of law enforcement," David Shirk, a University of San Diego professor who has studied drug-related violence in Mexico, said.

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