Nearly 7,000 Mexican soldiers and federal police arrived in Ciudad Juárez this week in a bid to restore order amid an escalating bloody turf war between rival drug cartels. Masked soldiers are patrolling the streets in long convoys of military vehicles and conducting traffic checkpoint. Another 1,500 soldiers are expected to join the 3,500 that rolled into the northern border city earlier this week. “They’ll stay as long as necessary,” said Juárez police spokesman Jaime Torres Valadez. Surveillance cameras will be installed throughout the city to help police stem executions and assassinations in the streets. (CNN, March 6)
A prison riot March 4 at a Chihuahua state prison in Juárez left 20 dead and 15 wounded—all inmates, according to authorities at the Cereso Estatal de Ciudad Juárez. (Cereso, the generic name for Mexico’s high-security prisons, is an acronym for the Orwellian appellation of “Social Readaptation Center.”) Authorities called in 200 federal police agents and 50 army troops to help put down the riot; two helicopters and an airplane also were employed. Chihuahua state authorities said the fighting began when rival gangs clashed at the end of conjugal visits. The gangs were identified as Los Aztecas and Los Artistas Asesinos, or the “Assassin Artists.” (CNN, El Paso Times, Feb. 5)
See our last posts on Mexico’s narco wars.