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Terrorism & Security

Mexico drug violence intensifies

A spike in violence between rival drug gangs and police has exacerbated concern about security – and may lead to questions about a key US aid package.

June 2, 2008

Mexican Federal Police arrived at Culiacan airport to reinforce the surveuillance operation against the drug trafficking in the Sinaloa state. Seven federal officers were killed in Culiacan during a gun battle with three men working for a drug cartel, according to police.

Omar Torres/AFP/NEWSCOM

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As gang violence flares in Mexico and concerns rise on both sides of the border over Mexico's stability, a debate is intensifying over a Bush administration aid package to the Mexican government.

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The concerns come as 10 drug-related killings were reported across Mexico last week. It's the latest episode in an alarming uptick of violence as drug cartels battle for control of the world's largest narcotics market, Agence France-Presse reports.

Ten people were found shot execution-style in 24 hours of drug-related warfare in northern Mexico, the Juarez prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

Drug cartels in Mexico have increasingly targeted policemen in various parts of the country. Seven other policemen were killed last week, as The New York Times reported.

Seven federal police officers were killed in Culiacán during a gun battle with three men working for a drug cartel, the police said.
The officers were the latest victims in a conflict between the cartels and the police that has claimed the lives of more than 30 federal agents and 170 local police officers in the last 18 months.

Many on both sides of the border are beginning to wonder if the stability of the Mexican state is at stake – and with it, the national security of the United States, The Washington Post columnist Neal Peirce wrote in an editorial.

"This could have a snowball effect, even leading to the risk of ungovernability," Mexico City sociologist Luis Astorga told The Washington Post.
Talk about a national security issue for the United States! We share a 2,000-mile border with Mexico; it's our second-largest trade partner, especially huge in agriculture. Millions of families are related across the border; thousands of Mexicans regularly cross over for work.

The Mexican newspaper, Reforma, says this week that a "majority of Mexicans believe the government is losing its escalating battle against drug gangs, according to a poll published Sunday, reports the Associated Press.

"Some 53 percent of Mexicans surveyed by the Mexico City newspaper Reforma said cartels are defeating security forces engaged in a nationwide crackdown. Only 24 percent said the government is winning, and 23 percent had no opinion."
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