Tue, Feb 08, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Seventeen killed in northern Mexican drug violence binge

AFP, CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO

At least 17 people were killed in drug-related violence in northern Mexico this weekend, nine of them in restive Ciudad Juarez, the state attorney general’s office said on Sunday.

In Mexico’s crime capital Ciudad Juarez, which is just across the border from El Paso, Texas, gunmen opened fire on Saturday and killed three young students at a used car dealership.

A teenager, a woman and a 40-year-old man died in a second attack by unidentified gunmen elsewhere in Juarez, a statement from the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office said.

A third triple homicide at a garage left a 13-year-old boy among the dead. Another three people were killed in separate shooting incidents in Ciudad Juarez, which has a population of 1.3 million and saw 2,900 murders last year.

Five men were also killed overnight in other parts of Chihuahua state, the official statement said.

Meanwhile, in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, the mutilated bodies of five men were found on Sunday dumped on the side of a road. They were found in the town of Los Ramones.

The day before, authorities recovered the dismembered body of Francisco Martinez Ramirez, the chief of guards at a Monterrey prison who was dragged out of his house by armed men on Friday. His body was found in a car in Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city.

Northern Mexico has suffered in the bloody war between feuding drug cartels that has left over 34,200 people dead since December 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a nationwide crackdown that has failed to stem the tide of violence.

Separately, Mexican soldiers have shot dead 13 suspected gang members in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, including six gunmen who were killed in a town near the US border, military officials said.

Three other suspected gang members were arrested during patrols over the past week.

Tamaulipas has seen an escalation of violence recently between the rival Gulf and Zetas cartels as they vie for control of the lucrative trafficking routes to the US.

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