Drug war claims 3,000 lives in Mexican city
Updated: 2010-12-15 14:46
MEXICO CITY - This year's death toll in drug-related violence in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, the hardest hit by Mexico's drug war, rose to 3,000 Tuesday after two men were shot dead on a street, authorities said.
Ciudad Juarez has seen its homicide rate rise to one of the highest in the world after vicious turf battles broke out between gangs representing the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels in 2008.
That year, 1,623 people were killed in drug-related violence, and the toll increased to 2,763 deaths in 2009.
More than 28,000 people have died throughout Mexico in the four years since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels when he took office in December 2006.
The US Embassy touted Mexico's increased cooperation in anti-drug efforts, noting in a statement that on Tuesday Mexico extradited 14 suspects wanted in the United States on drug, organized crime, money laundering, weapons and homicide charges.
The extraditions "represent another victory in our joint fight against organized crime," the embassy said.
And touting Mexico's own successes in the offensive, Calderon said Tuesday that a big party led to the demise of a drug cartel chief, who was killed in a shootout with federal police.
The La Familia gang invited hundreds of people to a party last week in the western city of Apatzingan and didn't bother to keep it a secret, Calderon said in an interview with W Radio.
Federal police learned about it and the shootout broke out when they arrived to investigate, he said. The government says that La Familia leader Nazario Moreno, nicknamed "The Craziest One," was killed in battles that lasted two days and spread to key parts of Michoacan state, with gunmen blockading roads with burning vehicles.
"What happened those days is that we gave La Familia cartel the biggest blow in its history," Calderon said. "With a certain amount of insolence, they organized a party, a gathering of hundreds of their people...Everyone found out about the party."
The government says cartel gunmen fled with their dead during the shootouts, and Moreno's body has not been recovered.
After Calderon spoke, the lower house of Mexico's Congress voted 384-2, with 21 abstentions, to rescind the congressional immunity from prosecution of a fellow legislator accused of links to La Familia.
Congressman Cesar Godoy Toscano has denied the accusations, although tapes have surfaced in which he allegedly chats with a man identified as a leader of the cartel.
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