Mapping Mexico’s deadly drug war

July 1, 2015

07/01/15 Science

mexican drugsOn 11 December 2006, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón deployed troops to fight the country’s increasingly powerful drug cartels, plunging Mexico into a war in which more than 100,000 people have been killed or disappeared. Now, a new study uses statistics and complex networks analysis to reveal the patterns by which violence spread across the country between 2007 and 2011—the last year for which records are available. The results may contribute to the debate about how effective the government’s policy of attacking cartel leaders has been in reducing violence, experts say.

This approach “represents an attempt to reveal the actual dynamics of drug violence [and demonstrates] how the conflict actually unfolds and evolves,” says Michael Lawrence, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Waterloo in Canada, whose work has focused on the application of complexity science to issues of conflict and security and who was not involved in the research.

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‘The Cartel’ Is Your Annual Reminder that the War on Drugs Isn’t Over

June 26, 2015

6/26/15 Newsweek

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008Sitting across from crime novelist Don Winslow, I’m finding it hard to reconcile this soft-spoken, bespectacled man of 61 with the scene I keep replaying in my head: a drug kingpin throwing two children off a bridge to send a message to a rival. I’ve had nightmares about this scene.

The kingpin is Adán Barrera, heir to a Mexico-based international drug syndicate and a main character in Winslow’s 2005 novel, The Power of the Dog, which documented the birth of the Drug Enforcement Administration and its much-maligned War on Drugs. In The Cartel, the hefty sequel that came out in June, Winslow revisits that war and America’s role in it, while Barrera revives his longtime enmity with DEA maverick Art Keller—the so-called “Border Lord”—and everyone from local dope boys to corrupt police officers to prostitutes-turned-traffickers gets caught up in their blood feud, or killed. Often both.

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Top Mexican Drug Cartel Leaders Captured or Killed in Recent Years

February 27, 2015

The Associated Press, U.S. News and World Report, 2/27/2015

hands in handcuffsMEXICO CITY (AP) — Recent captures or killings of top Mexican drug cartel leaders:

— Feb. 27, 2015: Authorities say federal police capture Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, one of the world’s most-wanted drug lords who once terrorized Michoacan state as leader of the Knights Templar cartel.

— Oct. 9, 2014: Mexican officials announce the arrest of Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, purported leader of the Juarez cartel.

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Servando ‘La Tuta’ Gomez, Mexico’s Most Wanted Drug Lord, Captured: Officials

February 27, 2015

Raul Torres and Erin McClam, NBC News, 2/27/2015

Getty Images

Getty Images

One of the most wanted drug lords in Mexico has been captured, authorities said Friday.

Servando Gomez, known as La Tuta, the leader of the Knights Templar cartel, was arrested overnight, Mexican authorities told Telemundo.

Gomez was the target of a push by President Enrique Peña Nieto to regain control of the state of Michoacán, which has been wracked by clashes between the cartel and heavily armed vigilantes trying to oust them.

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Mexico Complains About Remarks Attributed to Pope Over Drug Image

February 24, 2015

Reuters, 2/23/2015

Reuters/Tony Gentile

Reuters/Tony Gentile

aid on Monday it would send a letter to the Vatican to complain about remarks attributed to Pope Francis about the risk of Argentina suffering a criminal “Mexicanization” due to the spread of drug gangs there.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade said his government had expressed concern that the country was being “stigmatized” as a land of drug traffickers in an email attributed to Francis published in Argentina over the weekend.

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Mexico Removes Security Envoy From Troubled Michoacan

January 23, 2015

ABC News, 1/22/2015

LimesThe federal security commissioner appointed a little over a year ago for the troubled western state of Michoacan confirmed Thursday that he is being withdrawn by Mexico’s government.

Security envoy Alfredo Castillo will be replaced by an army general, Felipe Gurrola, who will play a more limited role leading federal security forces in Michoacan, a largely agricultural state known for its limes and avocados but also social unrest and drug gang violence.

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Mexico Increases Number of Missing to 22,322

August 22, 2014

08/21/14 ABC News

mexico-securityThe Mexican government has increased its calculation of the number of people who have disappeared since the start of the country’s drug war in 2006 and now lists 22,322 as missing, officials said Thursday. It had said in May that 8,000 people were missing.

Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez said 12,532 people went missing during the 2006-12 administration of President Felipe Calderon, who declared war on drug traffickers. An additional 9,790 have disappeared since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office on Dec. 1, 2012.

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