Mexico Under Siege: 2009

Since June 2008, Los Angeles Times reporters and photographers have chronicled, from both sides of the border, the savage struggle among Mexican drug cartels for control over the lucrative drug trade to the U.S. The conflict has left thousands dead, paralyzed whole cities with fear, and spawned a culture of corruption reaching the upper levels of the Mexican state.

Covina arrests mystify a neighborhood

After two Mexican federal agents and two others were arrested in July on drug-related charges, little has emerged about the case and residents are puzzled.

In a Mexico state, openness is the new order in the courts

Families want answers from man who says he dissolved 300 people

Phoenix, kidnap-for-ransom capital

Phoenix, kidnap-for-ransom capital

Police officer, 10 relatives killed in attacks in Tabasco

Gunmen hit the homes of Carlos Reyes Lopez and extended family; a 2-year-old nephew and five other children are among the dead. Reyes Lopez was a member of an elite force.

Border drug war is too close for comfort

Tiny Columbus, N.M., a haven for baby boomer retirees seeking cheap living, small-town values and solitude, can't quite believe that a bloody brawl has broken out on its doorstep.

Ciudad Juarez police chief quits after killings of officers, threats

Mexican town fed up with violence turns to army

In the state of Zacatecas, residents of Villanueva demanded that the military take over. The soldiers came, but drug war violence got worse.

Mexico to send up to 5,000 more troops to Ciudad Juarez

The increase would triple the law enforcement presence in the border city, which has been racked by drug violence. Its police chief quit recently and its mayor has received threats.

A side of Cancun not seen during spring break

The killing of a newly-hired security official and two others raises questions about the drug trade's impact on the popular resort, especially with suspicions falling on the ex-police chief.

Mexico's drug war creates new class of refugees

Mexican business owners, law enforcement officers, journalists and other professionals are among those seeking asylum in the U.S. -- even when it means sitting in jail.

20 killed in riot at Ciudad Juarez prison

It takes security forces three hours to contain the unrest among members of three gangs. All of the dead are gang members, authorities say.

Rosarito Beach regulars won't stay away despite Mexico's drug war

Mexico drug cartels buying public support

Drug cartels' new weaponry means war

Narcotics traffickers are acquiring firepower more appropriate to an army — including grenade launchers and anti-tank rockets — and the police are feeling outgunned.

Mexican drug figure's son is arrested

In Tijuana, opera offers a refuge from violence

On the streets, drug smugglers and gangs are fighting a war. But inside a modest cafe, the drama is make-believe and accompanied by sweet music.

Abuse allegations rise against Mexican army

Since President Calderon's deployment of troops in the war against drug trafficking, allegations of illegal searches and arrests, rape and torture have risen, rights groups say.

Drug cartels raise the stakes on human smuggling

Exploitation of illegal immigrants has become worse, officials say, and the failure of U.S. agencies to work together has hindered efforts to stop the organizations.

Family members allegedly ran heroin smuggling ring

Police arrest 48 suspects, members of a Oaxacan Indian clan, who allegedly brought the drugs in from Mexico, selling 15 to 20 pounds a week to gangs in East Los Angeles.

U.S. shares blame for Mexico drug violence, Clinton says

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on a two-day visit to Mexico, accepts that the U.S. market for narcotics and a cross-border trade in U.S. guns contribute to Mexico's drug violence.

Mexico arrests suspected No. 2 in Juarez drug cartel

Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of the late kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes, is arrested in Mexico City.

Mayors on front line of the drug war

Mayors say they are the ones personally confronting the toll of drug violence on the streets. Yet they lack any meaningful role in the federal government's battle against organized crime.

Drug cartels keep Catholic officials in fear

In one case, Archbishop Hector Gonzalez calls attention to a drug trafficker in his neighborhood and accuses the government of ignoring the situation. The prelate later apologizes for his comments.

7 police officers die in Tijuana attacks

The bold assaults by heavily armed gunmen are said to have been aimed at intimidating the force.

Sinaloa cartel may resort to deadly force in U.S.

Authorities say Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, the reputed leader of the Mexican cartel, has given his associates the OK, if necessary, to open fire across the border.

A trip to Mexico's Museum of Drugs

The museum, which is used to educate soldiers and is closed to the public, offers powerful testimony to the inventiveness and huge resources that traffickers continue bringing to the fight.

Pursuing smugglers, border agents become trackers

New fencing and high-tech devices make it difficult for drug traffickers to cross the border. So smugglers hoist packs and take to the desert on foot. Agents use century-old tracking skills to follow.

Mexico sees inside job in prison break

Reputed up-and-coming Mexico drug cartel figure held

Rodolfo Lopez Ibarra and 12 other people with him were seized by soldiers when he stepped from a plane in Monterrey, where he allegedly was assigned to take over cartel operations.

Mexico senator takes leave amid scandal

Senator Ricardo Monreal of Zacatecas steps down temporarily to clear his name after an official acknowledges an investigation into a family property where tons of marijuana were found.

10 mayors, other Mexico officials detained

The sweep targets local officials in the state of Michoacan, home to La Familia, a fast-growing group of drug traffickers.

Mexico's detention of local officials marks shift in anti-drug efforts

Calderon had been focused on a military offensive targeting drug figures and corrupt police. Now officials are being questioned to see how far the cartels have penetrated 'local political elites.'

Mexico drug traffickers corrupt politics

The cult-like La Familia Michoacana has contaminated city halls across one state, federal officials say. It sometimes decides who runs and who doesn't, who lives and who dies.

Mexican national arrested trying to smuggle marijuana ashore on surfboard

The suspect was spotted paddling north about 200 yards off Imperial Beach, near the Mexican border. Agents went into the water to make the arrest.

Gun flow south is a crisis for two nations

A report says the U.S. failure to curb smuggling has strengthened drug cartels.

Mexico moves quietly to decriminalize minor drug use

Drug war on another border: Canada

Bentley driver's slaying in L.A. might have cartel link

Calderon's drug offensive stirs 'wasp nest'

12 slain in Mexico were federal police officers

Fugitive politician is tied to gang targeting police

Drug cartels imperil immigrants in the desert

Mexico violence is actually down, the numbers show

8 killed at street party in Mexico

18 killed in Juarez clinic for addicts

The shooting in the violent border city points at the growing domestic drug market and abuse problem.

One Mexico border city is quiet, maybe too quiet

Mexicali is an oasis from violence, but some U.S. officials suspect that the peace comes at a high price.

Mexico's 'narco-lawyers' risk everything

In drug trafficking hub, artist is in demand

Between mansions for the living and mausoleums for the dead, there is work to be had in the Sinaloa capital for painter and sculptor Jose Espinoza, who says of his patrons: 'I don't probe.'

Grim glossary of the narco-world

Song banned, band pulls out

Los Tigres del Norte are initially barred from playing their latest drug-trade lyrics.

Fixing Mexico police becomes a priority

Mexico tightens security at U.S. border crossings

Staged photos of slain drug lord stir controversy