Mexico's drug war moves to the interior

Jan. 19, 2012 at 8:08 AM
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MEXICO CITY, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Mexico's 6-year-old drug war, which has killed some 47,000 people since it began, spreading from border areas into the interior of the country, officials said.

Two decapitated bodies were found last week near the entrance to high-end shopping mall in Mexico City, which had previously been considered a refuge from drug violence, The New York Times reported Thursday. Violence has also spread to Guadalajara, where 26 bodies were dumped late last year, and to Veracruz, where 35 bodies were dumped in September.

The entire Veracruz police force was fired last month after state officials said the officers were too corrupt to patrol the city, the newspaper said.

David A. Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, said the drug war appears to have come down to a battle between the Sinaloa drug-trafficking cartel, considered the most powerful in the country, and Los Zetas, considered to the most violent. A third group, the Gulf Cartel, is also involved at times, the newspaper said.

Analysts say central and southern Mexico are regions where the two main drug-trafficking groups have not previously fought each other so violently. Shirk told the newspaper it appears to be a reversal of the trend that started six years ago when violence that started in southern Mexico moved north over drug-trafficking route. Homicides are down along the northern border with the United States although analysts say that may be due to the defeat of one group by another.

Mexican Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna has said it could take five more years before there is a significant decrease in drug violence but insisted the government is making progress. He said the rate of violence is slowing.

"You have to give the process more time to measure its efficiency," he said.

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