Attrition: The Bloody Border With Mexico


January 17, 2008: During 2007 there apparently were nearly 2,800 drug "gang war"-related homicides in Mexico. That's separate from casualties as a result of police or military action, or drug-related crimes that end up involving murder (e.g., buy gone bad, etc.).There do not appear to be comparable figures for drug gang war-related homicides in the U.S. (which has three times the population), but American drug-related murders run to over 12,000 a year. This is mostly criminals killing criminals. It's rare for police or government officials to be targeted. Not so in Mexico.

Mexico's problem is that the drug related murders are concentrated in a few towns along the U.S. border. In an attempt to stem the violence, the Mexican government sent 3,500 troops and federal police to the border town of Rio Bravo late last year. This was mainly in reaction to the murder of the former mayor there, along with four federal police acting as his bodyguards. The government has basically declared war on the drug gangs, and has troops and police patrolling the, heavily armed, and in large numbers. There have been more gun battles, and many arrests. The gangs are not fleeing, but apparently staying to fight.


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