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Terrorism & Security

Kidnapping wave in Mexico linked to drug trade

To allay public outcry, the government announces anticrime reforms and solicits citizen involvement.

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The same conference highlighted that Mexico's drug violence thrives on a vicious trade cycle. According to a recent investigation by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as drugs flow up to the US, guns flow down into Mexico, reports USA Today.

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Nearly all illegal guns seized in Mexico come from the United States, the head of the [ATF] said Monday.
ATF acting director Michael Sullivan said investigators have traced 90 to 95% of the weapons found in Mexico to the U.S. Generally, only law-enforcement officers or military personnel can legally possess guns in Mexico....
The weapons tracking program is only part of the U.S. effort to help curb drug violence in Mexico and in the U.S., Sullivan said.

As the turf war escalates, so too have high-profile kidnappings in Mexico's capital and other cities, prompting an outcry from the public, reports the BBC.

Some reports suggest as many as 435 people were abducted last year, a 35% increase on 2006, although official figures suggest the number is closer to 134.
More chilling, 59 people ... have been murdered by kidnappers in the two years since President Calderon came to power.

In response, the government has announced on Monday antikidnapping reforms, which will solicit citizen involvement, reports the Associated Press.

Stung by the kidnap-killing of a 14-year-old boy, the Mexico City government on Monday announced a program of anti-crime reforms, including more citizen involvement.
Mayor Marcelo Ebrard announced the city will create a new police investigative agency to replace its old, corruption-ridden detectives' unit....
In addition to overhauling its detective unit, the city hopes to name as many as 300,000 neighborhood anti-crime representatives in this metropolis of 8.7 million....
The city also will set up an anti-kidnapping hot line, and offer rewards of up to 500,000 pesos (US$49,400) for people who provide information leading to the capture of kidnappers, Ebrard said.
The federal government, meanwhile, is establishing five national anti-kidnapping centers and pushing for a cleanup of police forces.

According to the BBC, many now consider the two organized-crime trends of drug trafficking and kidnapping to be linked.

Kidnapping has become as organized as the country's other insidious crime activity, drug smuggling....
As President Calderon has increased pressure on the drug cartels by deploying thousands of troops against them, it appears some of those gangs are turning to kidnapping to supplement their illicit incomes.

Public rallies are planned for later this month to protest the increased criminal activity, reports Voice of America.

Eleven citizens' organizations have announced massive nationwide marches to condemn Mexico's crime wave. Organizers say the August 30 marches will represent a demand by the citizenry for effective government action against kidnappers and other violent criminals.

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