Drug cartels improve skills against police

June 16, 2010 at 8:17 PM

MEXICO CITY, June 16 (UPI) -- Mexican drug cartels are becoming more skillful at ambushing and trapping police in commando-style raids, officials say.

Attacks on police and government soldiers have resulted in record numbers of deaths this year, fueling fear cartels are not only outgunning but out-strategizing authorities, The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

"These are war-fighting tactics they're using," Javier Cruz Angulo, an expert on crime at the Center for Economic Investigation and Education in Mexico City, said. "It's gone way beyond the normal strategies of organized crime."

Including an unrelated clash between prison drug gangs that killed 29, ambushes have led to 95 drug-trade-related deaths -- the highest level since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown in December 2006, the report said.

"This is not beginner stuff," Samuel Gonzalez Ruiz, a law professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said. "They're getting more sophisticated and spending more time training."

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