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Mexico’s Fox Vows ‘Crusade’ Against Drugs

From Associated Press

With a city plagued by drugs and violence as a backdrop, President Vicente Fox on Wednesday declared a nationwide war on narcotics trafficking and organized crime.

“Today we initiate this great crusade,” Fox said in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa, a Pacific coast state long considered the cradle of Mexico’s extensive drug trade. “I pledge a war without mercy.”

Fox promised a complete overhaul of the nation’s corrupt prison system and strict adherence to a Mexican Supreme Court ruling last week that removed the last barriers to the extradition of Mexicans for trial in the United States.

His announcement came five days after the escape of one of Sinaloa’s drug bosses, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, from a maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco--allegedly with the help of bribed prison officials.

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Fox said his government will do everything in its power to end corruption in prisons. He did not say how it would be done.

Among those accompanying the president was Alejandro Gertz, a new Cabinet minister appointed to fight organized crime and drug trafficking.

Gertz said his office will begin official operations next week, but he did not provide details.


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