Narco-violence claimed 39 lives in two northern Mexico states June 11. In Chihuahua, up to 30 gunmen stormed a drug rehabilitation center in the state capital Chihuahua City near midnight and executed 19 men and wounded four others. The victims, all reportedly addicts being treated by the clinic, were forced to lie face down in a hallway and were then shot, witnesses told local media. Rehab centers are reportedly being used as fronts by drug gangs who recruit “mules” among the recovering addicts, and have been a target in the warfare between rival cartels. One day earlier, unidentified assailants killed one man and wounded another at a rehab center in Ciudad Juárez. More than 60 people have died in mass shootings at Mexican rehab clinics in a little less than two years.
The remaining victims of the June 11 violence were in Tamaulipas state, where the Gulf Cartel is battling its former ally the Zetas. In Ciudad Madero, a suburb of coastal city Tampico, with most residents inside watching their national team’s World Cup match with South Africa, killers dumped the tortured bodies of 20 victims on residential streets. Some were handcuffed and all had been shot with heavy caliber weapons. (London Times, Houston Chronicle, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, June 12)
Gunmen also attacked the police headquarters in the Tamaulipas border city of Matamoros June 9, sparking a four-hour battle that left several dead and wounded, with some officers apparently kidnapped. While officials are not speaking about the incident, Mexican media report that the Zetas were behind the attack. The Zetas also reportedly burned homes and businesses and kidnapped residents in nearby Ciudad Mier on June 4. (KGBT, Harlingen, TX, June 11)
In another case of bandit attacks on the operations of Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company, officials confirmed local media reports that an armed gang had seized a natural-gas well in Tamaulipas and kidnapped several workers. (WSJ, June 12)