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CrisisWatch Database

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Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2016

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Clashes between police and supporters of dissident teachers’ union 19 June left at least nine civilians dead and dozens of protestors and police injured in southern state Oaxaca. Police were reportedly trying to clear street blockades set up by protestors opposed to educational reforms; how gunfire started and its source still under investigation. Major opposition parties National Action Party (PAN) and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) 5 June defeated ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in seven of twelve state elections. PRI lost governor’s seat to PAN-PRD alliance candidate in two historic Gulf Coast strongholds, Tamaulipas and Veracruz states, where corruption and insecurity are major issues. Senate 16 June approved two anti-corruption laws, one enabling National Anti-Corruption System, creating an independent prosecutor, strengthening federal auditors and establishing special courts for fraud cases; the other requiring public officials to reveal assets, prove they pay taxes and expose potential conflicts of interest. Officials 25 May began exhuming remains of more than 100 people found in mass grave in central Morelos state. Constitutional reforms passed ten years ago came into force 18 June obliging states to adopt new accusatory justice system, aimed at improving transparency, impartiality and efficiency.

Mexico

  |  1 Jun 2016

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Two federal judges 11 and 16 May accepted separate U.S. requests from California and Texas district courts, for extradition of cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán; process still requires approval from foreign ministry and could be appealed by Guzmán’s lawyers. Citizen-led brigades searching for missing persons continued to find clandestine graves: “Siempre Vivos” committee 12 May discovered remains in Chilapa municipality, Guerrero state, where drug gang kidnapped over a dozen people in May 2015; similar efforts have found remains of over 100 people around city of Iguala, Guerrero; relatives of missing students 22 April also found fifteen clandestine graves containing burnt remains in Gulf-coast state of Veracruz. National Human Rights Commission 11 May released report showing country’s internally displaced population exceeds 35,000; urged govt to take national census along with measures to protect victims’ rights and guarantee their access to social services. Ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and opposition National Action Party (PAN) traded accusations of links to organised crime ahead of 5 June regional elections: PRI 7 May expelled three mayors from party citing alleged links to organised crime; PAN responded alleging PRI had history of association with organised crime in Tamaulipas.

Mexico

  |  2 May 2016

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International experts 24 April released their final report on govt’s investigation into 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero state, detailing errors and inconsistencies and possible torture of suspects. The team, named by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at Mexico’s request, also accused govt of blocking its investigation by withholding evidence and refusing access to military officers stationed where abductions took place. Authorities mid-April said they will not ask for extension of team’s mandate, which ended 30 April ; team’s departure leaves unsolved one of most serious crimes in recent Mexican history, enforced disappearances of students from Ayotzinapa teaching college reportedly by municipal police acting in league with criminal gang. Panicked residents of Pacific resort Acapulco, Mexico’s most violent city plagued by gang battles, shuttered businesses and schools after armed gangs launched simultaneous attacks 24 April on federal police. President Peña Nieto 21 April proposed legalising marijuana-based medicines and relaxing restrictions on personal use.

Mexico

  |  1 Apr 2016

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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) 2 March published report saying country is suffering “severe crisis of violence and impunity”; highlighted issue of forced disappearances carried out with “participation, acquiescence or tolerance” of state agents. Govt rejected findings, said problems were “localised”. Speaking at govt-sponsored debate on marijuana use, secretary of govt 8 March said war on drugs based on bad diagnosis, poor strategy and led to major escalation of violence.  Secretary of Defence Salvador Cienfuegos 16 March said armed forces should not have entered fully in fight with drug traffickers, said military not prepared to carry out police functions. Guerrero state governor and member of ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Héctor Astudillo 11 March proposed legalising opium poppy farming for medical use and promoting alternative development by funding roads and crop substitution.

Mexico

  |  1 Mar 2016

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Independent forensic team 9 Feb said physical evidence from Sept 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa did not support federal prosecutors’ conclusion that students’ bodies were incinerated there; echoes findings of previous Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) report. Same team 21 Feb alleged federal prosecutors were leaking misinformation, blocking their access to important testimony and evidence. Murders and disappearances reported in Veracruz state throughout month including 8 Feb discovery of two bodies of men reportedly abducted by state police weeks earlier and 9 Feb discovery of body of journalist Anabel Flores Salazar. Three other young people remain missing after state police allegedly turned them over to Jalisco Nueva Generación drug gang in Tierra Blanca; town’s police chief and six other officers still in custody following mid-Jan arrest in connection with case. Riot erupted 11 Feb at overcrowded Topo Chico state penitentiary in Monterrey Nuevo León state, some 49 prisoners killed; Governor Jaime Rodríguez attributed riot to rival factions linked to Gulf and Zeta cartels.

Mexico

  |  1 Feb 2016

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Marines 8 Jan arrested Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa state, following his July 2015 escape from maximum security prison. Officials 22 Jan said legal process underway to extradite Guzmán to U.S., where he faces drug and murder charges. Violence and kidnappings in Guerrero state persisted: gunmen 9 Jan attacked group in Arcelia, two killed and nineteen kidnapped; gunmen 11 Jan attacked school in Ajuchitlán, four teachers and director kidnapped. Authorities 15 Jan said 21 victims had been released, two died. Gunmen 2 Jan killed Temixco Mayor Gisala Mota Ocampo in Morelos state, hours after she took office; state officials blamed “Los Rojos” gang operating in neighbouring Guerrero, with whom she allegedly refused to make a deal. Police 31 Jan arrested 24 members of Sinaloa drug cartel in city of Sonoyta, Sonora state during joint border operation with U.S. Spanish police 15 Jan arrested former governor and ex-president of ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Humberto Moreira, who faces charges of money laundering and embezzlement in U.S.

Mexico

  |  1 Feb 2016

Mexico

  |  4 Jan 2016

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Prosecutors in Guerrero state 15 Dec reported discovery of some seventeen bodies in ravine. Govt early-Dec deployed about 200 additional police to Tierra Caliente region in NW Guerrero in attempt to control rising violence. Group of experts appointed by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to review investigation into Sept 2014 student disappearance 7 Dec said satellite photos appear to contradict prosecutors’ claim that bodies of missing students were incinerated at municipal dump. Court 31 Dec charged Cesar Penaloza Santana, former mayor of Cocula town (Jalisco state) linked to students’ disappearance, of ties to organised crime. President Peña Nieto 14 Dec sent legislation to Senate to harmonise and toughen sanctions for crime of disappearance and torture; proposal would establish national protocols requiring police and other officials to mobilise searches within hours of reported disappearance. Govt 22 Dec issued first licenses permitting cultivation and possession of marijuana for personal use; only four plaintiffs who won favourable Supreme Court ruling eligible for permits.

Mexico

  |  1 Dec 2015

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Federal investigators early-Nov reportedly found five bodies in three unmarked graves near Carrizalillo, Guerrero state, where criminal gangs compete for control of extortion and kidnapping rackets. Discovery follows interior minister’s 27 Oct announcement on new security strategy for Guerrero state, including new anti-kidnapping unit for Acapulco and construction of highway connecting coast to isolated states with strong criminal activity. “Narcomanta” (narco banner) draped from pedestrian bridge over highway in Tlalpan borough of Mexico City 6 Nov threatening more “hangings” if police did not stop protecting rival criminal groups, amid fears powerful criminal groups may now be operating in capital. Supreme Court criminal chamber 4 Nov ruled individuals should be allowed to grow and distribute marijuana for personal use; govt said it will respect ruling, called for national debate on drug use.

Mexico

  |  2 Nov 2015

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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) 2 Oct called for appointment of special prosecutor to take over missing students case; said case reflected “pattern of human rights violations”. UN rights chief Zeid 7 Oct highlighted widespread impunity in country, urged govt to take urgent action to investigate rights violations. Govt 20 Oct reached agreement with IACHR experts to extend their mandate and expand cooperation: case to be transferred to new team of prosecutors in human rights office who will cooperate with experts on planning investigation and opening new lines of inquiry. Govt also promised to coordinate with experts on new forensic study of dump where students’ bodies were allegedly incinerated. Escaped prisoner Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán reportedly narrowly escaped marines during 6-9 Oct manhunt on border between Durango and Sinaloa states; hundreds of residents reportedly fled military operations; authorities deny human rights violations. Prosecutors charged nine people for aiding Guzmán’s July escape from prison, including pilot who allegedly flew him to his home state Sinaloa, and defence lawyer accused of planning scheme.

Mexico

  |  1 Oct 2015

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Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), appointed by Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) to monitor investigation into Sept 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, issued report 6 Sept finding errors, omissions and inconsistencies in federal investigation; called on govt to pursue new lines of investigation and continue working to clarify students’ fate. Experts rejected federal prosecutors’ assertion that criminals working with local police killed and incinerated students at local dump; cited multiple flaws in investigation; also presented evidence federal military and police aware of attacks on students but failed to intervene. Federal official 14 Sept said govt would ask IACHR to extend GIEI mandate for six months; 24 Sept said govt would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate cases of disappearances throughout country, but refuses to consider all international commission prosecutors. Federal police 16 Sept captured Gildardo López, alias “El Gil”, senior member of Guerreros Unidos gang that allegedly collaborated with municipal police to kidnap students; López alleged to have ordered students’ killing and incineration.

Mexico

  |  1 Sep 2015

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President Peña Nieto 27 Aug reshuffled cabinet, replacing six ministers, including national security commissioner. Midway through his six-year term, President’s approval ratings continued to drop as govt grapples with stagnating economy, conflict of interest scandals and high rates of regional violence. Interdisciplinary Group of Experts (GIEI), appointed by govt and Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) to monitor Sept 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, 17 Aug said govt denied its request to interview military personnel; also noted mishandling and destruction of evidence. Federal judge 18 Aug sentenced army second lieutenant to over 30 years’ prison for a forced disappearance, marking first time a military official has been sentenced for this crime. Prosecutors 6 Aug charged suspect for 31 July killing of photojournalist Rubén Espinosa in Mexico City. Investigators in case facing criticism for allegedly dismissing political motivation for murder; 500 journalists, writers and advocates 15 Aug sent open letter to President Peña Nieto demanding thorough investigation into Espinosa’s death. Police data showed 2015 increase in homicide rate in Guerrero state, with highest murder rate in 2014: 943 murders reported in first half of 2015, compared to 780 in first half of 2014.

Mexico

  |  3 Aug 2015

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Powerful drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán, alias “El Chapo” escaped from federal maximum-security prison 11 July; prison director fired, federal court opened proceedings on three prison employees charged with aiding escape. Rights activists 2 July said army issued orders to “take down” presumed criminals in night-time operations; allegation raised further questions about June 2014 shooting of 22 suspected kidnappers in Tlatlaya municipality, Mexico state. International groups of experts appointed by Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, investigating Sept 2014 disappearance of 43 students, faulted govt for failing to provide access to military officers stationed in city of Iguala at time of abductions for investigation into disappearances. Attorney general’s office 26 July confirmed 129 bodies found in over sixty clandestine graves in Guerrero state following investigation into students’ disappearance.

Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2015

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Mid-term elections 7 June saw President Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) maintain control of lower house along with Green Party allies. Independent candidate won a campaign for governor for the first time with victory of Jaime Rodriguez, “El Bronco”, in Nuevo Leon. Over twenty killed, including at least four candidates, in campaign-related violence, particularly acute in Guerrero state, where demonstrators burned ballots in two municipalities prior to vote, and one student was shot dead in Tlapa town on election day. Human rights groups 16 June reported that armed men attacked over 100 migrants late-May in Sonora state near U.S. border; at least thirteen escaped, others remain missing, authorities 2 June reportedly discovered three bodies. Rights groups 18 June denounced another attack on Central American migrants in southern state Veracruz; over 40 escaped, including one who had been shot.

Mexico

  |  1 Jun 2015

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Defence minister 1 May initiated “Operation Jalisco” mobilising 6,000 military forces, federal police and prosecutors in fight against Jalisco Cartel-New Generation. Cartel same day launched series of coordinated attacks, setting fire to banks and petrol stations, using flaming cars and buses as roadblocks at over 30 locations. National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido 2 May reported several soldiers killed when Jalisco Cartel-New Generation gunmen shot down army helicopter with rocket-propelled grenade. Cartel also reportedly launched attacks in neighbouring Michoacan, Guanajuato and Colima states. Federal police 22 May killed 42 presumed cartel members on ranch in Michoacán near border with Jalisco, following what authorities described as three-hour gun battle; one police officer killed. Govt human rights commission 26 May said it had launched inquiry, amid questioning from analysts and relatives of dead over lopsided death toll. Authorities 27 May arrested senior Jalisco Cartel-New Generation operative Victor Manuel Garcia Orozco. Campaigning continued ahead of 7 June elections to choose 500 federal deputies, seventeen state legislatures, nine governors and over 300 mayors; three candidates killed during month in Michoacán, Tabasco and Guerrero states.

Mexico

  |  30 Apr 2015

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Cartel-related violence increased in Jalisco state: fifteen state police officers killed 6 April when convoy attacked by members of Jalisco Cartel, New Generation; gunmen same day murdered municipal police chief in Zacoalco de Torres. Security forces 17 April captured José Tiburcio Hernández Fuentes, alias “El Gafe”, leader of Gulf Cartel in border city Reynosa; federal authorities same day announced arrest of Jesús Salas Aguayo, alias “El Chuyín”, leader of Jáarez Cartel in northern Chihuahua state. Investigative journalist report published 18 April alleged police killed 16 during Jan protest by former vigilantes demanding payment from govt for incorporation into Rural Police force in Apatzingán town, Michoacán state. Congress 21 April approved new National Anticorruption System, designed to give greater authority to investigative bodies against diversion of public funds; opposition criticised law for failing to assure new entity’s independence.

Mexico

  |  1 Apr 2015

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President Enrique Peña Nieto 2 March said capture of Knights Templar cartel leader Servando “La Tuta” Gomez in Michoacán state late Feb confirmed govt’s security policies were working. Violence in region continued: councilman from leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) found 1 March in municipal garbage dump, two weeks after disappearing; navy admiral killed 4 March in port city Lázaro Cárdenas. Judge 11 March ordered release of two rival vigilante group leaders arrested Dec 2014 in Michoacán state; both vowed to keep fighting if attacked by rival group. Federal forces 4 March captured Omar Treviño aka Z-42, leader of “Los Zetas” drug cartel, in wealthy Monterrey suburb. Govt troops 5 March arrested some 14 federal police officers on charges of kidnapping in Ciudad Victoria, capital of Tamaulipas state. PRD leader running for mayor of Ahuacuotzingo, Guerrero, found decapitated 10 March, day after kidnap by armed group. Five members of elite gendarmerie unit killed 19 March in ambush in western Jalisco state. Hundreds of farmworkers arrested in clashes over ongoing strike for better conditions in border state Baja California. UN report published early-March concluded use of torture to obtain confessions remains widespread among Mexican security forces. Senate approved nomination of Eduardo Medina Mora to Supreme Court; critics said appointment of controversial former intelligence chief would undermine judicial independence.

Mexico

  |  2 Mar 2015

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UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances 13 Feb criticised authorities for failing to prevent or investigate forced disappearances including kidnappings linked to police and military forces. Tensions in Guerrero state over Sept disappearance of 43 students continued, including clashes with police 24 Feb in resort town Acapulco that left one person dead. Over 30 reportedly died in first three weeks of Feb in shootouts between security forces and rival criminal gangs in Tamaulipas state. President Peña Nieto 3 Feb appointed political ally Virgilio Andrade Martinez as head of civil service, functions include overseeing investigations into corruption and conflicts of interest including current scandals involving president’s family and finance secretary. Police 28 Feb arrested Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, leader of Knights Templar drug cartel, in Michoacan state.

  • Crisis Group Latin America Report N°54, Back from the Brink: Saving Ciudad Juárez, 25 Feb. 2015. For lessons on crime prevention, Mexico can look to the example of Ciudad Juárez, the world’s “murder capital” in 2008-2010. Government and citizens worked together to bring violence down by strengthening local law enforcement and addressing socio-economic inequalities. These initiatives should be monitored, refined and expanded if Mexico is to overcome its country-wide crisis of confidence at all levels.
  • “UN report criticizes Mexico on enforced disappearances”, AP, 13 Feb. 2015.

Mexico

  |  2 Feb 2015

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Federal forces 6 Jan clashed with vigilante groups who had taken over city hall of Apatzingán, Michoacán, leaving nine dead. Soldiers 12 Jan used tear gas to disperse parents and protestors trying to enter military base near Iguala, Guerrero in search for students from Ayotzinapa teaching college, missing since Sept. Attorney General Murillo Karam 27 Jan officially declared all 43 students dead, said confessions, witness testimony and physical evidence showed that members of criminal gang had killed them, incinerated bodies and then bagged and thrown ashes in river. Mass graves continue to be found elsewhere in Guerrero region, including ten bodies and eleven decapitated heads 6 Jan. Six dead and eleven wounded 21 Jan in Tamaulipas state during clashes between gunmen and state police. Journalist Moisés Sanchez found dead 24 Jan after being abducted from his home in Veracruz; former municipal police officer confessed to involvement, allegedly at request of mayor.

Mexico

  |  5 Jan 2015

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Protests in Guerrero following Sept disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers college continued, including takeovers of state’s electoral institute, radio stations, several highways and police academy. Mexico City police chief resigned 5 Dec amid criticism over handling of protests in capital. Scientists dispute prosecutors’ claim that students’ bodies were incinerated at local dump. Investigation by magazine Proceso published 14 Dec claimed federal police knew about attacks while they were happening but did nothing to stop them. Shootout between rival vigilante groups in La Ruana town, Michoacán state 16 Dec left 11 dead. Those involved included members of rural police force created by govt in April under agreement to disarm “self-defence” groups, and who blocked highways two days earlier demanding authorities to take action against criminal gangs. New ties emerged 11 Dec between finance minister Luis Videgaray and govt contractor at centre of influence-peddling allegations. Raúl Salinas de Gortari, brother of former president, cleared of embezzlement charges 12 Dec. Alleged leader of Jalisco New Generation Cartel Omar Espejo arrested 18 Dec in connection with Nov 2013 disappearance of two federal police.

Mexico

  |  1 Dec 2014

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Amid anger over alleged involvement of local officials in disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers college who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero 26 Sept, President Peña Nieto 27 Nov announced security policy overhaul that would dissolve municipal police forces, placing them under control of state govts. Other proposed measures included legislation allowing federal govt to take over municipalities infiltrated by organised crime. Tens of thousands of protestors marched through Mexico City 20 Nov demanding justice for students. Protesters and relatives of students blame Peña Nieto’s govt for failing to curb corruption and violence. March mostly peaceful, though some clashes with police. Anger over disappearances sparked further marches, vigils and protests throughout country. Protestors in Guerrero and Michoacán states attacked and occupied municipal buildings, ransacked party HQ, 10 Nov shut down Acapulco airport. Attorney General Murillo Karam 7 Nov announced that members of Guerreros Unidos gang admitted killing of students after they were turned over to gang by police; bodies still missing. Over 70 suspects including three dozen police arrested. Prosecutors say Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca, who allegedly has ties to criminal gangs, ordered police to detain students; Abarca fled but arrested 4 Nov in Mexico City. Eleven decapitated bodies found 27 Nov in city of Chilapa, some 160km from place where Ayotzinapa students went missing.

Mexico

  |  1 Nov 2014

Deteriorated

Federal authorities 19 Oct took over policing in thirteen municipalities in Guerrero and Mexico states. In Guerrero, federal forces, local police continued to search mountains for 43 students who disappeared 26 Sept from Iguala town after being arrested by police allegedly in league with organised crime; authorities discovered 11 mass graves with 38 bodies, identification ongoing. 36 local police, dozens others including members of criminal group Guerreros Unidos arrested; Guerrero governor resigned, authorities 22 Oct issued arrest warrants for Iguala mayor, wife and police chief. Case sparked protests, condemnation by human rights organisations, accusations govt response too slow: thousands 17 Oct demonstrated peacefully in Acapulco; protesters 22 Oct set fire to Iguala’s city hall. Six killed, four arrested in clash between army and civilians in Luvianos State 30 Oct. Govt 1 Oct announced Héctor Beltrán Leyva, reported leader of Beltrán Leyva cartel, arrested; Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, “The Viceroy”, reported leader of Juárez cartel, arrested 9 Oct. Nineteen suspected cartel gunmen killed 21 Oct by police in Tamaulipas state. Two gunmen 11 Oct killed local activist Atilano Román Tirado in Sinaloa state; physician who tweeted updates about criminal violence kidnapped and killed 15 Oct in Tamaulipas state.

Mexico

  |  1 Oct 2014

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300 members of the newly created Gendarmerie, elite mobile federal police force, sent 8 Sept to Tierra Caliente, Michoacán, to bolster federal forces and a recently created rural police force led by former self-defence militia members. Attacks on journalists continued: assailants 2 Sept opened fire in house of reporter Ignacio Domínguez in Veracruz; reporter Víctor Pérez found dead 3 Sept in Ciudad Juárez; reporter Karla Silva assaulted 4 Sept in Silao, Guanajuato. Federal Congressman Gabriel Gómez Michel kidnapped 22 Sept in Guadalajara, found dead 23 Sept in Zacatecas. Opposition PAN party Gen Sec in Guerrero, Braulio Zaragoza, killed 28 Sept. 8 soldiers arrested 26 Sept over killing of 22 suspected kidnappers in June, charged with military disobedience and breach of duty, 3 of them charged with homicide. Shootout between rival gangs 26 Sept killed 11 suspected gang members near town of Guachochi, Chihuahua. 6 killed 27 Sept when police and unidentified armed men opened fire during clash with students in Iguala, Guerrero; 58 students reported missing following clash; 22 police officers arrested.

Mexico

  |  1 Sep 2014

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President Peña Nieto 22 Aug unveiled new unit of federal police known as “Gendarmerie”, a 5,000-strong rapid-response force that will be used to protect key economic interests from outbreaks of violent crime. Dalia Santana Pineda, Mayor of Huetamo, Michoacán, arrested 14 Aug on charges of homicide and extortion, reportedly collaborated with Knights Templar cartel. New 500-member “citizen” police squad inaugurated in Michoacán 18 Aug will take over local law enforcement in state capital and 2 other municipalities, eventually replacing municipal police throughout Michoacán. News editor Octavio Rojas Hernández killed 11 Aug in Oaxaca. Authorities reportedly began rounding up undocumented Central American migrants along southern border.

Mexico

  |  1 Aug 2014

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President Peña Nieto 7 July announced joint border program with Guatemala designed to safeguard human rights, combat crime along border; Mexico to create “integrated attention centres” to coordinate flow of goods and people, facilitate legal migration for Guatemala and Belize citizens. Leader of governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Nuevo Urecho, Michoacán state, killed 25 July by suspected drug cartel gunmen. Senate late July passed 4 bills to reform national oil company Pemex and state-owned power company CFE, set up regulatory bodies to oversee direct foreign investment in energy sector. Over 30 police officers arrested 26 July in Michoacán, accused of links to organised crime.

Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2014

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Ongoing insecurity in Michoacán region: rural policeman and ex-self-defence militia member found murdered along with family 19 June; masked men 5 June kidnapped and killed local Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) leader in Erongarícuaro town. Another PRI leader murdered in neighbouring Guerrero state 15 June. Michoacán Governor Fausto Vallejo 18 June announced resignation due to health problems, days after media circulated photo purportedly showing son with top drug trafficker. Secretary of Govt Osorio Chong 9 June said security strategy implemented last month in north-eastern state of Tamaulipas already reduced crime, violence in state. Authorities 18 June announced police arrested alleged Gulf drug cartel leader Juan Manuel Rodríguez in Reynosa, and marines captured alleged Zetas leader Ricardo Iván Santillán Trejo in Ciudad Mante. Security forces 30 June killed 22 gang members, allegedly from La Familia Michoacana cartel, in SW Mexico state.

Mexico

  |  1 Jun 2014

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Some 450 former vigilantes sworn in as rural police officers in Michoacán 10 May; federal security envoy Alfredo Castillo said govt received over 3,000 applications from former vigilantes, announced self-defence groups registered about 8,000 firearms under 14 April agreement requiring them to put down weapons or join official security forces. Some vigilantes reportedly intend to continue patrols, maintain checkpoints. Govt Minister Osorio Chong 12 May announced security plan for Tamaulipas state, where surging violence since early April has killed approx 100; Tampaulipas intelligence chief and 2 bodyguards died 5 May in shoot-out. Zapatista movement leader Subcomandante Marcos 25 May announced stepping down from public leadership.

Mexico

  |  1 May 2014

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Federal envoy Alfredo Castillo 14 April announced deal with 20 “self-defence” leaders whereby vigilantes would disarm by 10 May or join legal security forces; unclear whether groups will have to register or turn over weapons, but accord appears to bar open display of weaponry in armed patrols. Authorities 21 April reported they arrested dozens of criminals posing as members of vigilante groups. Security forces 15 April arrested Arnoldo Villa Sánchez, second-in-command of Beltrán-Leyva cartel, in Mexico City. Senate 24 April amended military justice code so that armed forces members who commit crimes against civilians can be tried in civilian courts.

Mexico

  |  1 Apr 2014

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Govt 9 March confirmed Nazario Moreno González, leader of Knights Templar cartel in Michoacán state, killed in shootout with federal forces; authorities said fingerprint analysis confirmed identity of Moreno, who was also reported dead in 2010. Authorities said federal forces seized 119,000 tons of illegally-obtained iron ore since taking over port of Lázaro Cárdenas Nov 2013; illegal mining a main source of cartel income. State officials 11 March arrested key “self-defence” leader Hipólito Mora in Michoacán for allegedly murdering 2 members of rival vigilante group. National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, who oversees federal police forces, resigned 17 March citing “personal reasons”. Tanhuato mayor Gustavo Garibay shot dead in Michoacán state 22 March.

Mexico

  |  1 Mar 2014

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Federal authorities 4 Feb said army in Michoacán state registered 523 “self-defence” militia members and 813 weapons. Under pact signed with federal govt, some “self-defence” leaders promised to join rural and municipal police, others rejected agreement. Prosecutor’s office 10 Feb confirmed investigation into human remains found in Coahuila state near U.S. border; media reported mass graves possibly contain hundreds of corpses. Clash between armed groups 21 Feb reportedly left at least 20 dead in S Guerrero. Govt 22 Feb announced arrest of world’s most wanted drug lord, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, in Mazatlán. 

Mexico

  |  1 Feb 2014

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Interior Minister Osorio Chong 8 Jan vowed to reestablish order in Michoacán state, where local vigilante groups have clashed with alleged members of Knights Templars drug cartel since early 2013; Chong said federal and state forces would jointly patrol Tierra Caliente region. Soldiers sent to disarm vigilantes in Antúnez town reportedly opened fire 13 Jan, killing at least 2. Govt 14 Jan named federal commissioner Alfredo Castillo to coordinate security in Michoacán, 27 Jan said federal forces had arrested 110 people in 12 days, including Knights Templar leader Dionisio Loya Plancarte aka “El Tío”. Govt and self defence groups 27 Jan signed agreement to integrate vigilantes into legal security units called Rural Defence Corps. Army and police forces early-month retook control over prison in Guerrero state after gunfight left 9 people dead. Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office 15 Jan announced arrest of Ángel Salvador Taboada Villanueva aka “el Conejo” in connection with March 2011 murder of Juan Francisco Sicilia, son of poet-turned-activist Javier Sicilia. Govt 28 Jan announced creation of Anti-Kidnapping Unit to coordinate efforts at local and federal levels. Security forces 30 Jan captured Jalisco New Generation drug cartel’s second-in-command Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez aka “El Menchito”.

Mexico

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Attorney General revealed names of 69 top drug traffickers arrested or killed in President Peña Nieto’s first year of govt from list of 122. Human Rights Commissioner Raúl Plascencia 17 Dec warned local vigilante groups gaining strength in Pacific state of Guerrero, armed groups operate in over half of state’s municipalities. New guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces-People’s Liberation (FAR-LP) appeared in Guerrero early month, demanded release of “political prisoners”, asked people to take up arms against “oppressive govt”. Authorities continued to find bodies buried near border between Jalisco and Michoacán states; 64 bodies found so far in search initiated to find 2 federal agents who went missing early Nov; 10 burned bodies found 14 Dec inside car in indigenous community troubled by land disputes in Oaxaca state; 5 decapitated bodies found in Michoacan state 28 Dec, believed to be victims of Jalisco New Generation drug cartel. 4 municipal officers from Arcelia town, Guerrero killed in clash with army 6 Dec. Mayor-elect of San Pedro Totolapan town, Oaxaca state killed by gunmen outside city hall 5 Dec. Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza, alias El Macho Prieto, high-ranking leader of Sinaloa Cartel killed 18 Dec in shoot-out with security forces in northern Mexico resort.

Mexico

  |  2 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 4 Nov took control of Lázaro Cárdenas, major seaport in Michoacán considered hub for importing chemicals to make methamphetamines. Takeover came week after assailants attacked gas stations and power plants in Michoacán, leaving half a million people without electricity; authorities suspected attacks were carried out by members of Knights Templar cartel, though no claim of responsibility. Troops 7 Nov arrested entire police force in Vista Hermosa municipality during investigation into disappearance of 2 federal agents, found mass graves containing over 53 bodies in border between Michoacán and Jalisco. Mayor of Santa Ana Maya kidnapped, tortured, found dead in car 7 Nov. Supreme Court 6 Nov ordered release of Israel Arzate Meléndez who claimed he was tortured into confessing his involvement in 2010 massacre of 15 people in Ciudad Juárez.

Mexico

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

National Public Security Council 16 Oct extended by one year deadline for purging and certifying local and federal police officers, second extension. Authorities early Oct arrested 18, including 13 federal police, suspected of involvement in Acapulco kidnapping ring. Gunmen 18 Oct killed Francisco Arrellano Félix, former drug cartel leader. 7 inmates killed in prison riot in Tamaulipas state 26 Oct. Clashes between self-defence groups from Michoacán state and Knights Templar drug cartel 26-27 Oct triggered shoot-out in centre of Apatzingán and attacks on regional power stations leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity; at least 1,000 soldiers deployed to region. Mexico 23 Oct underwent Universal Periodic Review by UN Human Rights Council; urged to rein in security forces and investigate disappearances.

Mexico

  |  1 Oct 2013

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Security forces 1 Sept arrested alleged leader of Juárez Cartel, Alberto Carrillo Fuentes alias “Ugly Betty”, in Nayarit state; 9 Sept arrested alleged leader of Los Rojos gang Leonor Nava Romero alias “La Garra” in Guerrero state. Tens of thousands joined protests against education and energy sector reforms in Mexico City; police 14 Sept used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters, 31 people arrested. 3 local lawmakers from leftist Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) killed 10-13 Sept in separate attacks in Oaxaca and Michoacán states. Authorities 24 Sept arrested 3 more police suspected of involvement in May abduction and killing of 12 Mexico City bar patrons.

Mexico

  |  1 Sep 2013

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Security forces 17 Aug captured suspected leader of Gulf cartel Mario Armando Ramírez Treviño alias El Pelón or X-20 in Tamaulipas state; reinforced security along country’s north-eastern border. Army 23 Aug captured Gregorio Abeja Linares, suspected leader of Knights Templar cartel in Michoacán state. U.S. 14 Aug requested extradition of Rafael Caro Quintero 5 days after court overturned his 40-year sentence for killing of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. 40 members of self-defence group from Aquila, Michoacán arrested 14 Aug on weapons charges. Sandra Ávila Beltrán, alias Queen of the Pacific, deported 20 Aug from U.S. to Mexico to face money-laundering charges. Authorities 17 Aug found 16 bodies in Guerrero state, including 5 wearing military-style clothes; another 9 bodies with signs of torture found same day in Michoacán state. National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragón y Kalb 27 Aug announced Gendarmerie will begin operations July 2014.

Mexico

  |  1 Aug 2013

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State and municipal elections held in 14 of 32 states 7 July saw violence against candidates, reports ahead of polls of attacks on campaign HQs and thefts of ballot boxes. Spate of attacks on federal police in Michoacán 23 July left at least 22 dead, including 2 police and 20 gunmen; 2,000 security agents sent to back up forces deployed in May. Navy 15 July arrested Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales alias Z-40, leader of Los Zetas criminal cartel, near U.S. border. Authorities 17 July rescued 81 Central American migrants kidnapped in Tamaulipas; same day found body of El Imparcial newspaper reporter; 18 July found 5 men burned to death inside abandoned truck on Saltillo-Monterrey highway; 29 July arrested 3 alleged members of Knights Templar drug cartel wanted for killing high-ranking navy officers. At least 7 human heads found 2 July in plastic bags on outskirts of Guadalajara.

Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2013

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Bodies of 3 left-wing activists, including local leader of Party of Democratic Revolution, found along road in Guerrero state 3 June. Armed group 4 June killed mayor in southern state Oaxaca. Mayoral candidate from ruling PRI party found dead 12 June, 2 days after being kidnapped. Gunmen in Oaxaca 27 June killed leader of left-wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) Nicolas Estrada, 29 June critically injured PRI politician Rosalia Palma. Mob burned 3 men alive in Chiapas state 4 June. Security forces 4 June rescued 165 migrants in Tamaulipas state and 58 migrants 12 June in Sonora state. Army 20 June took control of public safety in several municipalities in Durango state. Interior Secretary Osorio Chong said gendarmerie to have 5,000 members, half number previously reported.

Mexico

  |  1 Jun 2013

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President Peña Nieto met with U.S. President Obama 2 May to discuss security, trade and education; Obama pledged to continue cooperation despite recent restriction of access to drug intelligence for U.S. agents. Army and federal police 20 May arrived in Michoacán state in security operation against self-defence groups, organised crime. Attorney General Murillo Karam and Interior Minister Osorio Chong 17 May pledged to create special unit for missing persons. Attacks on press continued: gunmen 7 May killed press officer Cuauhtémoc Sánchez Arreola in Nayarit; El Mañana suffered cyber-attacks; author of Blog del Narco known as “Lucy” fled country following threats. Murders attributed to organised crime continued: 6 bodies found 4 May along highway in Sinaloa; 7 bodies found 5 May inside car in Mexico City suburb; 4 killed 9 May in attack against public security director Jesús Carrasco in Sinaloa; 6 killed during shoot-out at car dealership in Chihuahua 14 May; 2 men found hanging in Limón de Luna community, Michoacán.

Mexico

  |  1 May 2013

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Violence continued unabated, including 2 bar shootings in Guadalajara city 31 March leaving 6 dead; 9 peasants found decapitated in Tamaulipas state 31 March; 7 bodies found in Cancún 14 April. Undersecretary of Prevention and Citizen Participation announced further details on public security strategy: said 250 high-crime zones with populations of 60,000-100,000 will be part of social development initiative. Number of vigilante groups continues to grow in response to cartel violence; some reported to have joined forces with radical members of teachers’ union in Guerrero state who 24 April attacked offices of 4 major political parties to protest education reform. Govt reported drug-related killings Dec-April fell 14% compared to same period last year. At least 13 killed in fight between rival inmates at San Luis Potosi jail.

Mexico

  |  1 Apr 2013

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President Peña Nieto’s govt 17 March announced details of crime prevention plan to be implemented by Manuel Mondragon y Kalb as new head of National Security Commission; both this body and Mondragón’s functions still to be specified. Govt´s secretariat absorbed competences and resources of Public Security Secretariat, including management of Federal Police. As reports of gruesome violence continued to make headlines, attacks against journalists in north continued, with Ojinaga Noticias journalist shot dead 3 March, media offices in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua attacked 6 March. Unknown gunmen 9 March killed Jalisco State tourism minister. Hundreds of vigilantes took control of town Tierra Colorado, Guerrero state, after group leader killed late month.

Mexico

  |  1 Mar 2013

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President Peña Nieto 12 Feb unveiled new crime prevention strategy based on funding of social programs in 251 of country’s most violent towns; stressed that prevention is key to combating organised crime, not just “more sophisticated weapons, better equipment, more police, a higher presence of the armed forces”. Peña Nieto 16 Feb visited Michoacán for official launch of new strategy with talks between Federal Police and state govts. Human Rights Watch accused govt of hundreds of forced disappearances. Govt and ICRC signed agreement 21 Feb to cooperate in search for disappeared; govt 26 Feb said 26,122 people have gone missing since Dec 2006.

 “Unabated violence poses challenge to Mexico’s new anticrime program”, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2013.

Mexico

  |  1 Feb 2013

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President Peña Nieto 9 Jan signed General Victims Law designed to provide assistance and compensation to crime victims, including relatives of estimated 70,000 people killed in drug-related violence over past 6 years. Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong 14 Jan confirmed govt plans to create new intelligence agency as part of effort to better coordinate fight against organised crime. Wave of violence in Mexico City and surrounding areas left 22 people dead 12-13 Jan. Police found 16 dismembered bodies in Toluca, Mexico state 14 Jan. Security forces early Jan killed 12 suspects in gun battle in Zacatecas state. Bar shootings in Torreón, Coahuila state, left 9 dead 6 Jan. Former PAN mayoral candidate murdered in Tlaquiltenango, Morelos state, 16 Jan along with wife and son. Authorities 27 Jan pulled 17 bodies from well in Nuevo León state; 14 identified as members of Kombo Kolombia music band.

Mexico

  |  30 Dec 2012

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Violent protests as President Peña Nieto took office 1 Dec; 65-70 people arrested, prompting protests calling for their release. Also 1 Dec major parties signed “Pact for Mexico”, including proposals on security, justice, corruption and democratic governance; Peña Nieto 17 Dec unveiled 6-point anti-crime plan, including creation of new 10,000-member security force to be deployed in country’s most violent regions. At least 24 people killed during 18 Dec attempted jailbreak in Gómez Palacio, Durango state. 9 bodies found 2 Dec in Coahuila state, 7 of them decapitated. 13 mutilated bodies found 7 Dec in Tamaulipas state; 4 people found dead same day in Saltillo, Coahuila state capital. Gunmen 24 Dec killed 7 police in separate drug-related attacks in Michoacán, Jalisco states. Several thousand Zapatista National Liberation Army supporters marched in Chiapas state 24 Dec to commemorate 1997 mass killing of indigenous Zapatista backers.

Mexico

  |  1 Dec 2012

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President-elect Peña Nieto took office 1 Dec; has proposed strategy focusing on reduction of homicide, kidnapping and extortion, and creating National Gendarmerie body with military training but under civilian rule. Peña Nieto 30 Nov named cabinet, including close ally Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to head interior ministry. Former mayor of Tiquicheo, Michoacán María Santos Gorrostieta, found beaten to death days after going missing. Authorities 9 Nov charged 14 federal police officers in Aug attack against 2 CIA agents and a Mexican marine in Tres Marías, Morelos; 12 Nov arrested Gen Pacheco Salgado on suspicion of giving false information about case. 20 bodies found 26 Nov in mass grave in Chihuahua state.

Mexico

  |  1 Nov 2012

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Security forces 3 Oct arrested 2 suspected of killing U.S. border agent; 7 Oct reportedly killed leader of Los Zetas cartel, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano alias “El Lazca”, in Coahuila state; same day arrested Salvador Alfonso Martínez Escobedo, suspected of planning killings of dozens of Central and South American migrants; 23 Oct killed 7 alleged Zetas in Zacatecas state. UN human rights chief Pillay criticised U.S. border patrol for “excessive use of force” following 10 Oct shooting of Mexican teen. Amnesty International reported “alarming increase” in use of torture by authorities.

Mexico

  |  1 Oct 2012

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Security forces 27 Sept arrested Zetas cartel commander Ivan Velazquez Caballero “El Taliban”; 26 Sept killed 10 in “gang shoot-out” in Guerrero State; 12 Sept captured Gulf cartel leader Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez “El Coss”; 3 Sept captured Gulf cartel leader Mario Cárdenas Guillén. Authorities 22 Sept found 7 burned/dismembered bodies along highway in Michoacán State; 16 Sept discovered dismembered bodies of 17 men in Jalisco State; 10 Sept found 16 bodies in vehicle in Guerrero State; 14 Sept found 16 bodies dumped in Tamaulipas; 6 Sept found 4 bodies hanging from bridge in San Luis Potosí. 2 Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) officials killed mid-Sept near Mexico City, Ciudad Obregón. Presidential runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador 9 Sept said leaving Democratic Revolution Party to set up new party. 131 inmates escaped from prison in Coahuila state 17 Sept.

Mexico

  |  1 Sep 2012

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Army 15 Aug announced deployment of 1,000 additional federal forces to Michoacán state following clashes between criminal gangs, police, killing 10; 6 shot dead 8 Aug in Nezahualcoyotl; mass graves uncovered mid-month in Tuxpan; 2 photographers found killed near Ecuandureo 19 Aug. In San Luis Potosi: 14 bodies discovered 10 Aug; gunmen 12 Aug shot dead mayor-elect of Matehuala, campaign manager. Gunmen 13 Aug killed 9 in Monterrey. Over 40 killed 18-19 Aug throughout country, including 12 in Acapulco. 3 bodies discovered 21 Aug, 11 bodies found abandoned 26 Aug on highway in Guerrero. Prosecutors 1 Aug filed charges against 2 retired, 1 active army generals accused of links to Beltran-Leyva cartel. Authorities 14 Aug arrested Supreme Court clerk for allegedly selling information to Sinaloa cartel. Presidential runner-up López Obrador 31 Aug rejected court ruling confirming Peña Nieto as president-elect, called for mass demonstration.

Mexico

  |  1 Aug 2012

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Opposition parties 19 July accused President-elect Peña Nieto of overspending, widespread vote-buying in run-up to 1 July poll which saw him elected with 38% of votes; PRD leader López Obrador asked electoral court to annul vote; decision to be adopted 6 Sept. Leaders of “#Yo soy 132” student movement 5 July said evidence of around 1,000 irregularities given to electoral authorities and prosecutors; thousands rallied 22 July in Mexico City to protest election results. Daily Proceso 19 July reported Zetas split into hostile factions led by Heriberto Lazcano or “El Lazca” and Miguel Angel Treviño or “Z-40”; navy 26 July arrested alleged Zetas chief Mauricio Guizar Cárdenas or “El Amarillo” in Oaxaca. Prosecutors 31 July charged 4 high-ranking army officers over suspected ties to Beltran-Leyva cartel.

Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2012

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2 political figures shot dead 11 June in Guerrero, Chiapas. 90,000 protested 10 June against presidential front-runner Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City. Constitutional amendment 6 June passed making attacks on press federal offence; Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte early month announced plans to establish special commission to protect journalists. Journalist Víctor Chinos found killed in Xalapa 14 June. 14 dismembered bodies discovered 8 June in El Mante, Tamaulipas State; 14 mutilated bodies found 12 June, Veracruz; remains of 11 people found in mass grave in Lerdo de Tejada, Veracruz; 14 bodies discovered 23 June in Mante, Tamaulipas. At least 8 killed 2 June in separate attacks in Acapulco. 11 killed 3 June in armed attack on drug rehabilitation centre in Torreon. 25 June shootout in Mexico City airport left 3 policemen dead; 29 June bomb in Nuevo Laredo injured 7; 30 June shootout with police in Xalapa left 1 dead. U.S. 12 June arrested senior Zetas drug leader José Morales, 6 others; army 14 June arrested alleged top figure of Zetas cartel Gregorio Villanueva.

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