Dozens dead in attacks in Acapulco, San Luis Potosi, Mexico City
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MEXICO CITY -- Fourteen bodies were found in a truck Thursday in the state of San Luis Potosi, at least 17 people have been killed since Sunday in the port of Acapulco, and 12 others were reported killed in 24 hours in metropolitan Mexico City.
The string of bloody reports grabbed headlines in Mexico, reminding the public that drug-related violence continues unabated as the six-year mark approaches in the federal government’s declared war on drug cartels.
The bodies found Thursday were in a truck left near a gasoline station on the highway between the city of San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas state. Authorities said in initial statements that all the victims were male and had come from the neighboring border state of Coahuila. (link in Spanish)
Body dumps along highways are a fixture of the conflict between Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, Sinaloa and the Zetas. San Luis Potosi, however, until recently had not seen the same level of violence as other parts of the country.
In Acapulco, where smaller rival drug-trafficking groups are still locked in a struggle for control, the victims of an attack on a family included a pregnant woman and a 3-year-old boy, El Sol de Acapulco reported, accompanied by graphic images.
They were killed along with a man and two other women in an early Wednesday morning attack on a ‘humble house’ in a low-income neighborhood called Colonia Ampliacion 5 de Mayo, the newspaper said. At least 12 other people have been killed in Acapulco since Sunday.
In Mexico City, seen as a relative haven from the drug-related violence that besets many other regions of the country, 12 people were killed in the metropolitan zone on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Four men were shot to death during a neighborhood street festival in the populous borough of Iztapalapa on Tuesday afternoon. (link in Spanish)
In Colonia Country Club, an upper-class neighborhood in the Coyoacan district, one suspected criminal was killed in a gunfight when federal authorities served a search warrant on a house. The federal prosecutor’s office said two Colombians and one Israeli were arrested, but they were not identified.
Early Wednesday, the owner and five employees of a bar in the suburb of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl were slain by armed men, reports said. (link in Spanish)
The Mexico City tabloid La Prensa reported that a local crime group that calls itself ‘The Business’ killed the six victims because the bar, La Pachangona, would not pay an extortion fee.
Later, a real estate businessman was gunned down as he left his offices in the middle-class central district of the capital. Jaime Quiroz Gutierrez, 59, was shot three times on New York Street in Colonia Napoles as his two bodyguards watched, some reports said.
With a population of 20 million spread over the Valley of Mexico, the capital’s enormous size often means multiple violent attacks can have little effect on daily life, yet the drug war has not been absent from the urban zone.
Scores have been killed in Mexico City and the neighboring state of Mexico since the government’s offensive against cartels began in December 2006, official figures show (link in Spanish). Violence against women has surged in the state recently governed by President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, The Times reported.
President Felipe Calderon told the National Security Council on Aug. 2 that drug-related homicides had dropped by 15% nationally in the first half of the year over the same period last year. Homicides overall have dropped 7%, Calderon said. (link in Spanish)
The federal government’s drug war death toll remains tallied only until September 2011, at 47,515. Peace activists and some independent analysts say the toll now surpasses 60,000, with at least 10,000 missing.
Other grim stories were circulating in Mexico on Thursday. Four women were found tortured and strangled to death in the northern city of Torreon. In the western state of Sinaloa, armed men killed seven ranchers on Wednesday. (links in Spanish)
-- Daniel Hernandez
Photo: A photograph made available by Pulso newspaper shows authorities investigating a vehicle containing 14 bodies in the state of San Luis Potosi on Thursday. Credit: Teodoro Blanco Vazquez / Periodico Pulso / EPA