Violence Spikes on the "Other Side" of the Border
Increasingly, there is concern that the spike in violence on the "other side" of the border continues, despite the promised crackdown by Mexican President Calderon. In fact, some attribute the upsurge in violence to a reaction by the drug cartels to the government efforts.
Edgar Millan is a federal law enforcement official in Mexico. At a press conference he said Mexican President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on crime could cause more violence as drug cartels retaliate. But, he says the country will not back down in its war on drug cartels.
Yesterday, a gun battle broke out in an upper class neighborhood of Tijuana as Mexican federal agents raided a house that sheltered armed drug traffickers suspected of being members of the Arellano Felix drug cartel. Following a three hour gun battle that included military and law enforcement, authorities found six slain kidnap victims. All of the victims were male and found shot execution style in the head. Whether the victims had been kidnapped for ransom or were members of a rival gang remains under investigation.
In an almost surreal pronouncement, Osuna Millan, Governor of Baja California told reporters, "we're winning the battle."
Shortly after the arrests yesterday afternoon, Tijuana's City Hall, police station and other city buildings were evacuated. Someone broadcast bomb scares on the police radio frequency. Local media report someone also said they'd hunt city officials and their families. Then the person played narcocorridos, songs that celebrate drug traffickers.
This isn't the only violent activity going on in Mexico.
● last week, gunmen killed two federal agents and a civilian in the central state of Michoacan.
● also, two other federal agents were killed and three were injured during a shootout in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas.
● before the Reynosa shootout, three suspected criminals were killed and 10 federal agents and soldiers wounded in a shootout in the town of Rio Bravo, across the border from Donna, Texas.
● Ten people, including three U.S. residents, suspected of having ties to the powerful Gulf cartel were arrested the next day.
● In the central Mexican state of Hidalgo on Wednesday, assailants killed the director of public safety for the town of Tulancingo was shot more than 20 times;
Why is this important to Americans? The flow of illegal immigrants and narcotics across the porous Mexican border to the United States remains a continuing issue of debate. I watch things very closely these days. Laredo is just a day-trip away, where the drug violence has already more than once crossed over the border from Nuevo Laredo. In 2007, drug violence claimed more than 2500 lives. Already this year, one estimate the count at 148 people who have died in the continuing war. Take a close look at the map of border areas. There are a number of "sister" or "twinning" cities that include San Diego-Tijuana Metro; Tecate, California – Tecate; Baja California, Calexico; California – Mexicali, Baja California; El Paso, Texas – Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; Laredo, Texas – Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas; McAllen, Texas – Reynosa, Tamaulipas;Brownsville, Texas – Matamoros, Tamaulipas (the list is alot longer). Human smugglers use the same routes as the narcotics cartels. This represents a continuing threat.
UPDATE: As a reminder of the effect the porous Mexican border has on us, a Border Patrol officer was killed when he was runover by a "rogue vehicle" as he attempted to stop it after it ran a checkpoint in Yuma California.