May 28th, 2009
09:29 PM ET

The drug war shifts – people keep dying

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/28/art.mexico.girl.jpg caption="Tania Lozoya was shot dead in Juarez, Mexico earlier this month."]

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

Earlier this week, Mexican government officials announced a major corruption bust. Ten mayors and 17 other officials were arrested, suspected of having ties to one of Mexico’s most violent drug syndicates. It was a shift from what we have seen in Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s war on drug cartels. Until recently, we have seen much of the war fought by military force and beefed up police forces, but little done on the actual corruption of many in local governments who are rumored to be bought off by Mexican Drug cartels.

Yet, despite the military force in border towns and arrests of government officials, people continue to die. In one sad case, an innocent, promising 15-year-old girl was killed.

Tania Lozoya was shot dead in Juarez, Mexico earlier this month. She wasn’t over the border partying, she wasn’t doing anything she wasn’t supposed to be doing. She was not involved with the drug cartels. She was with family celebrating a cousin’s baptism when a gun battle broke out between suspected drug traffickers near the party. A stray bullet hit Lozoya in the neck and she was killed.

She was a freshman at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, just minutes from Juarez, Mexico. She was an honor roll student and a star player on the high school girls’ softball team. Her family says she had plans to go on to college and perhaps law school. She was described by teachers and students as a leader both on the field and in the class room with a bright future. She was enrolled in advanced placement classes and was active in student government. Now, she is another victim in killings over drugs.

So many times people say, it’s just drug traffickers killing other drug traffickers, but there are innocent victims in the drug war. There are good people like Tania Lozoya who are taken from their parents long before she was supposed to.

How many more Tania’s will die before the drug was is over?

Filed under: 360° Radar • Ismael Estrada • Mexico
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. SAKIS

    Two sides of the border. From this side people indulge themselves with narcotics corrupting their spirit and impairing their morals. On the other side unscrupulous individuals destroy their country and disrespect fellow honest and hard working citizens. All in the name of a quick fix and a easy buck

    May 29, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  2. Annie Kate

    So if pot was made legal do we really think that the drug war would be over? Or would it just shift the focus of the drug war to the harder drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc. I think the war would shift and perhaps grow because of the higher prices for the other drugs. Making marijuana legal does not seem to be any kind of solution to me.

    May 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  3. jc smoots in tulsa

    and furthermore..

    As a member of the Drug Policy Forum of Oklahoma we promote medical uses of marijuana. My wife and I can't afford to buy it illegally because we're both disabled but the plan facts are the whether it's for treating my chronic pain (botched heart surgery) or my wife's extreme anxiety attacks (post traumatic stress) it works much better than the powerful narcotics they give us without the multiple side effects, believe me we've lived with both treatments and the pot is better. The only major side effect that it has is alienation by the right wingers and of course jail time.....

    May 28, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  4. TruthBaby

    Truthfully, Mary Jane needs to be legal!! that will create money in it's many diffrent way of being used and will also stop alot of the violence. Also, lets be frank,.. Alcohol dispite what alcohol causes way more harm and death then the whole drug cartel. It's the year w2009 not 1960.. this is the future we live in not the pass we have to adapt to the change of time. God Bless her....

    May 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  5. Randall

    To answer your last question; unfortunately, the number of "Tania's" will not only continue, but escalate, along with all the other drug crime and violence that's now setting new records. Despite recent reports of cartel activity expanding in the US, drug law remains not only unchanged, but a largely taboo topic, So, until enough people come to the hard and unpleasant realization that prohibition is the real problem, join the minority of legalization proponents and start writing their lawmakers or at least making a little more noise, don't expect any harm reduction anytime soon. All the kings horses and all the kings might...have so far been unable to even slow down drug violence. How much more money is it going to take before the war on drugs as it is being fought will be won? The printing press will malfunction first. Legalization, as with alcohol, is the only common sense solution left to try. Sorry you had to hear that.

    May 28, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  6. Amber

    I agree with the above post. If u criminalize something, it will just go underground and then the powers who sent it underground will blame the thing they criminalized for all the problems fighting it caused. They say "drink responsibly" but PSA's over marijuana want you to believe you can't "smoke responsibly". Drunks are more dangerous than stoners..that's a fact. Why can't they teach responsible use of marijuana or whatever rather than preaching "drug abstinance" because you know abstinance-only education can backfire in some horribly unfortunate ways. But why would govt care when they pull in more profits off "busting" drug possession than legalizing it and reducing all the violence caused by allowing gangs to be in control of the majority of the trade. Anything that's widely consumed & made illegal will create a violent underground market. So who are the geniouses who think we're dumb enough to keep believing that drugs, not the prohibition of them, is killing our children?

    May 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  7. jc smoots in tulsa

    Once again we see the effect the drug war has had. The intolerably stupid policies of both governments has brought this on by making criminal cartels the only way that something as helpful and safe as pot available to the u.s.. The right wingers scream about our appetite for drugs when 30% of us think pot isn't near as harmful as beer (see dui deaths as one for instance). The thought numbing propaganda we've seen since the 70's blinds too many. Make pot legal and at least 80% of the drug violence goes away, we know that but now they say this and that about how harmful it would be to our society while ignoring the millions who use it responsibly daily. I have known more people without motivation who didn't use it than those who did. Most who do use it, use it to handle their frustrations with a society that denies advancement to anyone not interested in taking advantage of other for their own profit.

    May 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  8. Megan

    Funny how criminalizing substances generally consumed by consenting adults has a way of increasing (if not creating) gang activity (Prohibition, anyone?).

    May 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm |