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April 2nd, 2009
11:31 AM ET

As Mexico battles cartels, the army becomes the law

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/03/25/mexico.political.asylum/art.juarez.afp.gi.jpg caption="Mexican federal police recently began patrolling Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas."]

Steve Fainaru and William Booth
The Washington Post

President Felipe Calderón is rapidly escalating the Mexican army's role in the war against drug traffickers, deploying nearly 50 percent of its combat-ready troops along the U.S.-Mexico border and throughout the country, while retired army officers take command of local police forces and the military supplies civilian authorities with automatic weapons and grenades.

U.S. and Mexican officials describe the drug cartels as a widening narco-insurgency. The four major drug states average a total of 12 murders a day, characterized by ambushes, gun battles, executions and decapitated bodies left by the side of the road. In the villages and cities where the traffickers hold sway, daily life now takes place against a martial backdrop of round-the-clock patrols, pre-dawn raids and roadblocks manned by masked young soldiers.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Mexico
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Gilbert Martinez

    The Mexican Government needs to bring back the death penalty for convicted murderers. As it stands right now, convicted killers are sent to overcrowded and corrupt prisons. From there they threaten and even kill anyone brave enough to testify against them, even police and government officials.

    April 2, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    In for a penny--in for 10 billion--another war zone that has emerged--best of luck to the winner!

    April 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm |