Mexico: At Tepito You Can Do It, We Can Help


June 30, 2010: The violence which flared in the Ciudad Acuna area (on the Rio Grande river) appears to have abated. Locals are telling other Mexicans and Texans that normalcy has returned. However, Acuna remains off-limits to U.S. airmen based at Laughlin AFB, across the Rio Grande in Del Rio. Small businesses have witnessed a sharp drop-off in sales and tourists have all but disappeared. This has happened in the other border cities; legitimate businesses suffer when violence occurs. A number of workers had already been laid off by U.S.-owned factories operating in Acuna. It was a combination of recession and some jobs moved to southeast Asia. Recession is one thing, but Mexicans, like many U.S. citizens don't understand the shift off-shore. Mexican businesses argue they can ship by rail and truck and do not need to ship by sea carriers. But the crime and violence increase costs as well.

June 29, 2010: Mexican media recently conducted a survey of the illegal arms business in Mexico City, focusing on the historic Tepito market in the Cuauhtemoc area. Tepito claims it has been a market area since Aztec times. The claim goes that if you want anything (yes, anything) someone in Tepito can get it for you. The media found that reporters could buy hand grenades, handguns, and rifles. It was also possible to rent a motorcycle and a weapon as a package deal. Motorcycle drive-by slayings are a common form of attack used by drug cartels and other criminal gangs. A brand new automatic pistol will sell for around $1,000. An automatic rifle (AK type) might go for $1,200. Prices are approximate. The real stunner is the claim that some of the firearms available for sale have been seized in raids by security forces and corrupt security officers have sold them to clandestine dealers. Corruption kills, then kills again.

June 28, 2010: The U.S. Border Patrol reported that it now has 22,800 agents on duty. This is about five times the number on duty in the early 1990s. Around 17,000 of these agents are deployed along the U.S.-Mexican border or on what the agency calls Southwest corridors (routes leading from the border to the interior of the U.S.). That is about twice the number on duty in the region in 2003.

June 27, 2010: Gunmen murdered nine people in an attack on a drug rehabilitation clinic in the town of Gomez Palacio (Durango state).

June 25, 2010: Police in the town of Mexicali (Baja California state) reported the arrest of Manuel Garibay, a key commander in the Sinaloa cartel. Authorities claim he is a major cartel operator and is responsible for liaison with Colombian drug gangs. The Mexican Navy killed six cartel gunmen in two different firefights in the Matamoros area (across the Mexico-Texas border from Brownsville, Texas). Gunmen murdered, execution-style, five people in the town of El Carizzo (Sinaloa state).

June 22, 2010: Police in the U.S. (Arizona) received death theats from what they suspect is a Mexican drug cartel. The threats occurred after police form the city of Nogales, Arizona seized a large shipment of marijuana. The threat said off-duty policemen would be targeted.

June 15, 2010: In Guerrero state town of , soldiers engaged a group of armed men in a firefight and killed at least 15.

June 14, 2010: Members of two criminal gangs engaged in a deadly fight in a prison in Mazatlan (Sinaloa state). 28 inmates were killed in the incident. Most of the dead were shot when one group of armed gang members entered a cell block containing inmates from a rival gang (Los Zetas) and began firing.

Ten federal police officers were slain when cartel gunmen ambushed their convoy near the town of Zitacuaro (Michoacan state).


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