53 killed in 72-hour period in Juarez

Feb. 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM
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JUAREZ, Mexico, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Drug traffickers are suspected in most of the 53 slayings logged in a bloody, 72-hour period in Juarez, Mexico, officials say.

The outbreak of violence started Thursday with 14 killings, followed by 20 Friday and 19 Saturday, CNN reported. Four police officers were among the victims.

Gunmen also killed 13 taxi drivers in the resort town of Acapulco.

"This is the worst violence we've seen this year," said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office.

In the first 40 days of 2011, there were about eight killings daily in Juarez, causing overcrowding in the city's morgue.

In Saturday's violence, a police officer was shot 10 times by a driver he had just ticketed in the middle of the day.

The Juarez cartel and the Sinaloa cartel have been fighting over smuggling routes and Juarez has become one of Mexico's deadliest cities, police said.

More than 7,600 people have been killed since a turf war started between the cartels in 2008, the El Paso Times reported.

Last year, 3,112 people were murdered in Juarez.

Authorities arrested four people in connection with the killings in Acapulco, where police found a human head and a body near a burned vehicle.

The violence in Juarez led to speculation that Mayor Hector "Teto" Murguia would name a new police chief Monday. But municipal police spokesman Adrian Sanchez told CNN he had received no confirmation that would occur.

"At this time we continue serving our current boss until we are given new orders," Sanchez said.

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