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Mexico again sees deadliest month in June, as drug-related murders reach highest level in two decades

July 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexico again sees deadliest month in June, as drug-related murders reach highest level in two decades

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The spiraling violence in Mexico reached new levels with 2,234 killings in the month of June, which has been the country’s most violent month in at least two decades.

Murders increased in states ranging from the tourist hotspot of Baja California Sur to the Gulf coast state of Veracruz and in Mexico City, which was long deemed a haven from cartel-related violence. In the first half of 2017, officials across Mexico reported 12,155 homicide investigations, which is a 31% increase compared to the 9,300 that occurred during the same period in 2016.

On Friday, the same day the data was published, a marine and four others were killed when armed forces fought the head of a fuel-theft group in the state of Puebla, Time Magazine reported.

The scene of an execution on July 18 in Sinaloa. Photo: Juan Carlos Cruz

Four of the individuals killed were purported members of “Los Bukanas,” a violent group that sells stolen gasoline stolen from illegal taps in the pipelines of government oil companies. It’s an enterprise that has been estimated to cost the government $1 billion every year and has grown more violent as authorities fight to combat it.

Additionally, on Friday, the top prosecutor in the state of Jalisco, Eduardo Almaguer, said police recovered two drug cartel training camps where they allege that roughly 40 people had been trapped and trained after being duped by fake online job ads. An unknown number of remains were also discovered.

The victims were purportedly enticed by job offers for private security or municipal police and were forced to build their shelters from wood and branches and train in strategy and shooting – using paintball guns – while under watch by gang members.

The probe that led to the discovery of the camps began with six similar reports of missing individuals in June.

Scene where two off-duty police officers were executed in the Gulf state of Veracruz last month

On Thursday, an area on the south side of Mexico City was engulfed in gunfire, and eight people were slain as marines tried to apprehend the head of a gang that managed street-level drug sales in the city. The gang’s semi-automatic firearms and burning vehicle barricades established to block police were similar to what is often seen in Reynosa.

These incidents reflect the growing struggles between or against drug cartels across the country.

Homicides remain high in states that have often struggled with violence such as Guerrero and Mexico state. However, they have also increased in states unaccustomed to such violence, such as Baja California Sur – which is the location of the Los Cabos tourist resorts – along with the Pacific coast state of Colima.

The border state of Chihuahua, which experienced some relief from the violence that peaked in 2010, has found its murders in 2017 running about 55% ahead of where they were in 2016.

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