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Terrorism & Security

Journalists targeted in latest Mexico drug violence

A newspaper editor, a columnist, police officers, and bar patrons are among those killed in separate acts of violence this past week.

By David Montero / October 13, 2008

As drug-related violence continues to worsen across the border in Mexico, journalists are being increasingly targeted.

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Mexico's widening war with drugs has claimed more than 3,000 lives this year alone. On Sunday, assailants opened fire on the US consulate in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, reports the Associated Press. Nobody was injured in that attack, but on Saturday gunmen killed six young men at a family party in the gang-plagued Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, reports AP.

Saturday night's mass shooting was the second in the border state of Chihuahua in less than a week. Just before midnight Thursday, gunmen opened fire in a bar in the city of Chihuahua, killing 11 people.

The most recent violence underscores yet another frightening dimension in the violence: the targeting of journalists, the San Antonio Express reports.

A newspaper editor, a columnist, police officers, and bar patrons were among those killed in separate acts of violence this week in the unrelenting drug war that has claimed 3,500 lives across the country this year.
Miguel Angel Villagomez, the editor of La Noticia de Michoacan newspaper in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific coast, was kidnapped late Thursday after leaving the newsroom, said a Michoacan police spokesman.
David Garcia Monroy, a columnist at El Diario de Chihuahua newspaper, was among the 11 people killed by gunmen in a bar in the northern city of Chihuahua late Thursday, said Chihuahua police spokesman Eduardo Esparza.
The killings were the latest acts of aggression against Mexican journalists, who are increasingly pressured by narcotics cartels to tone down coverage of the country's brutal drug war.

Behind the surging violence is a shift in the way drugs are delivered to the United States, away from Colombian distribution channels to networks in Mexico, the Atlanta Constitution Journal points out.

The transformation of narcotics trafficking to the Mexican networks started shifting in the 1990s.... Increased interdiction of the Colombian-Cuban delivery routes and the opening of the United States' border to trade handed the Mexicans an opportunity.
The Colombians realized they could hire them out [to transport drugs] and reduce the risk," said Jim Martin, a federal prosecutor in Atlanta who has handled drug cases for nearly 30 years.

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