Mexico: Rewriting The Rule Book


May 12, 2011: President Felipe Calderon continues to wage war against the bad habits that led to the current bloody struggle with drug gangs. Calderon argues that Mexico’s deep structural and institutional problems permitted the unchecked expansion of drug cartel power. Breaking the cartels means modernizing Mexico. The military side of the Cartel War gets the headlines, but Calderon insists that winning means continuing a long term struggle. Mexico must reform its police forces (from local to federal). Mexicans don’t trust the judicial system, and with good reason. They have seen so many politically-connected criminals escape justice – what Mexicans call the culture of impunity. This is why the government is devoting a lot of attention to judicial reform.

May 10, 2011: The government claims the drug cartels are now deeply involved in prostitution and sex slaving. This happened in Balkans. Guerrilla groups, in league with criminal gangs, made a lot of money from human trafficking. They moved illegal migrants and some of the illegal migrants were basically sold as prostitutes. According to the government, that’s happening in Mexico. Police have evidence Mexican drug gangs primarily focus on Central American migrants moving through Mexico and heading for the U.S.

May 9, 2011: Police in the city of Durango (Durango state) found six headless bodies dumped outside of a school. The police said a group of cartel gunmen were responsible for the murders.

May 8, 2011: Mexican marines killed 12 members of Los Zetas drug cartel in a spectacular operation. The marines attacked a base camp on an island in Falcon Lake (on the border between Texas and Tamaulipas state). A sailor was also killed in the gun battle. The government reported that the Zetas were storing marijuana for shipment to the U.S.  The Marines also seized at some two-dozen weapons. Falcon Lake is where a U.S. citizen was ambushed and murdered while jet-skiing in September 2010. From time to time, Mexican Navy helicopters patrol Falcon Lake.

May 5, 2011: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency announced that it is opening seven more inspection booths at the World Trade International Bridge (Laredo, Texas). The bridge currently has eight booths. The bridge feeds truck traffic into warehouse and staging areas near Interstate 35. Customs says there are two reasons for the new booths. First, over 3,000 Mexican trucks cross the bridge every day and current capacity is overwhelmed. Second, is the counter-smuggling angle. Inspectors have not had the manpower or capacity to do thorough inspections of the big rig cargo trucks. Inspectors could only do thorough checks of a handful of trucks. The drug cartels know the odds are in their favor, so they hide drugs inside containers of legal goods. Customs wants to change those odds.

April 29, 2011: Mexican officials have let the U.S. extradite the leader of the Arellano Felix cartel, Benjamin Arellano Felix. He will now face trial in the US (likely in San Diego). The Arellano Felix cartel is based in Tijuana and is sometimes referred to as the Tijuana cartel. Mexico arrested Arellano Felix in 2002. The U.S. wants him on several charges, including money laundering.

April 27, 2011: The U.S. State Department issued new travel warnings to U.S. citizens visiting Mexico. The warning mentions ten Mexican states where travel is considered dangerous: Sonora, Jalisco, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, Durango, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Coahuila. The State Department believes 111 Americans were murdered in Mexico in 2010.




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