Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mexican president targets organized crime

In his first weeks on the job, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has tackled the issue of organized crime by sending thousands of federal police and military troops into the country's drug-dominated states of Michoacan and Baja California, according to a report by James C. McKinley Jr. of the New York Times.

The forces are attempting to combat rampant corruption in local police forces. They have disarmed police suspected of underworld involvement, burned marijuana crops and arrested those believed part of drug gangs. Four alleged top members of the Valencia drug gang have been taken into custody.

Critics point out that the move of federal forces into the region has done little to slow the gang-related violence there. An estimated 21 people were killed during the last three weeks of December, and a mass grave was found containing what appeared to be seven victims of gang hits.

A special target of Calderon's efforts is Tijuana. In that city, the entire police force was ordered to turn over its weapons, and more than 2,700 soldiers and federal police were called in. Three hundred people, including 25 police officers, were killed in Tijuana last year. Most of those deaths have been linked to drug gangs.

The family of Arellano Felix is still believed to control much of the drug traffic through Tijuana.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.