Mon, May 12, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Top Mexican police officer slain across border with Texas

AP , CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO

The No. 2 police officer in a Mexican border city across from Texas was shot dead on Saturday, the latest high-ranking official killed in an onslaught of attacks blamed on gangs resisting a crackdown.

Gunman sprayed Juan Antonio Roman Garcia’s car with bullets outside his home in Ciudad Juarez, officials said. The attack came months after his name appeared at the top of a hit list left at a monument for fallen police officers.

Mexico has been shaken by a wave of drug-related violence as gangs battle security forces and each other for control of trafficking routes north.

The son of suspected Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin Guzman was killed in a shootout on Thursday in another northern city. The same day, Mexico’s acting federal police chief, Edgar Millan Gomez, was gunned down in front of his Mexico City home.

Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, said on Friday that the attacks against police showed weakened gangs were trying to counter his fight against drug trafficking. Since taking office in 2006, Calderon has sent more than 25,000 soldiers into states throughout Mexico to combat drug gangs.

More than 200 people have been killed this year in Ciudad Juarez, a Chihuahua state city of 1.3 million across from El Paso, Texas, that is home base for the Juarez cartel. The government deployed more than 2,500 soldiers and federal police to Chihuahua in March.

Several people on the hit list have been killed, and none of the perpetrators have been caught. Government officials displayed video footage of the list at a news conference on Saturday, with Roman Garcia’s name at the top.

His death has plunged the city into mourning because he was an exemplary officer with an impeccable 20-year record who fulfilled his duties until his last breath, despite the dangers,” Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said.

Although he vowed his government would not be intimidated, Ferriz said all police officers had been ordered to take added precautions.

“We know that organized crime will keep up the violence,” he said.

More than 2,500 people have died across Mexico this year in crime and drug-related violence.

Joaquin Guzman’s son, Edgar, was shot dead in the Sinaloa State capital of Culiacan on Thursday, said an official with the federal Attorney General’s office who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

Mexican media reports said gunmen opened fire on Edgar Guzman in the parking lot of a shopping center. About 500 bullet casings from AK-47 rifles were found at the site, El Universal and Reforma newspapers said.

Also killed in the attack was Arturo Meza Cazares. Meza is the son of Blanca Margarita Cazares, whom the US has identified as a key money launderer for the cartel.

Joaquin Guzman escaped from prison in 2001 and allegedly started a turf war that has killed hundreds of people. He is one of Mexico’s most-wanted fugitives.

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