Friday, May 9, 2008

Chief of Mexico's Police killed

As a follow up to earlier posts on the drug wars in Mexico, there's this story in the New York Times:

The acting chief, Edgar Millán Gómez, was ambushed by several men wearing rubber gloves and carrying weapons as he entered his apartment building in the Guerrero neighborhood of Mexico City with two bodyguards at 2:30 a.m. He was hit eight times in the chest and once in a hand. He died a few hours later at Metropolitan Hospital.

Commander Millán was the highest ranking official to be killed since Mr. Calderón’s campaign against drug dealers began. Intelligence officials said it was highly likely that he was killed in retribution for the arrest on Jan. 21 of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, one of the leaders of a cartel based in Sinaloa State.

Hell of an event. NPR commentators mentioned that it seemed like an inside job. An ambush of this nature would almost have to be. For US readers, this is equivalent to the killing of someone like the Director of the FBI.

CNN notes the US State Department has issued a travel warning for Mexico:

The violence in Mexico appears to be worst in the north, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning for American citizens.

"Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades," said the warning issued last month.

"Armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez," it said.

The State Department noted that the attacks are "aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials and journalists."

"There is no evidence, however, that U.S. citizens are targeted because of their nationality," the warning stated.

Even with that last line, it's hard not to think that the violence won't head north.

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