Drug-related violence in Mexico killed 2,682 people across Mexico since the start of the year, more than all of 2007 (2,673), with nearly half occurring in northern Chihuahua state, El Universal daily reported Saturday.
Bordering the United States, Chihuahua saw 1,026 drug-related murders this year, or 38.2 percent of the country’s total. In one 20-day period alone, July 15-August 5, there were 326 slayings in the state.
Within Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez — across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas where local drug gangs are battling the powerful Sinaloa cartel — had the highest murder toll, with 780 so far this year, according to an AFP count.
Overnight Friday, seven people were killed in the city, including two children, one of them the nephew of a police commander, the state deputy prosecutor’s office said.
In other states, drug-linked violence so far this year killed 516 people in Sinaloa, 159 in Baja California, 134 in Guerrero and 117 in Michoacan.
“Despite the government’s tough offensive against organized crime and drug trafficking violence in general, this year murders have increased to the point that in just eight months we’ve surpassed the 2,673 murders we had all of last year,” El Universal said.
Federal authorities since early 2007 have deployed more than 36,000 soldiers across the country, including 2,500 in Ciudad Juarez, in an effort to combat drug trafficking and related violence. Nevertheless, the murder rate has climbed dramatically in two years, from 1,410 in 2006.