Monday, September 29, 2008

Drug war tally: 1,000 slain so far this year in Mexican city just two miles south of El Paso, Texas

A 24-year-old man slumped over inside a Chevrolet Silverado in west Juárez last Thursday, just one of seven murdered that day in the city of 1.5 million just two miles south of El Paso, Texas.

Organized crime has turned the streets of Juárez into a battleground, leaving more than 1,000 dead so far this year in a war between the Juárez and the Sinaloa drug cartels. Law enforcement officials say that nearly 80 percent of the slayings in Juárez this year are believed to be linked to organized crime

August 2008 had about 227 homicides and was among the bloodiest months in what has been a record-shattering year for homicides. In all of 2007, there were 309 reported homicides in Juárez, and in all of 2006, there were 242.

Just in the month of August, 2008, 1,700 vehicles were stolen in Juárez. By comparison, about 1,900 vehicles have been stolen through the eight months of 2008 in El Paso.

"There is no law," said El Pasoan Fernando Apodaca, 47 who survived a recent carjacking in Juarez. "It's like the Wild West over there. I want people to be aware. ... My business in Juárez is pretty much done."

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