Juarez Murders Tied to Success of Border Drug Enforcement

Success at inhibiting the flow of drugs from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas, and other U.S. border towns may be fueling turf wars within the Mexican city, the Wall Street Journal reported May 22.

Faced with a supply surplus, gangs have turned to doing more trade within Juarez, with accompanying violence as groups vie for territory and control.

Murder rates had fallen from nine per day in the city to just two after Mexican President Felipe Calderon added 5,000 troops (in addition to the 5,000 already occupying) to bring the city under control in 2009. The success was short-lived, however. By the end of the year, the homicide rate had shot up to a record 12 per day.

Two groups, Barrio Azteca and Los Mexicles, are believed to be at the center of the local conflict. Last year ended with 2,750 drug-related deaths, up from 1,600 in 2008; 996 deaths have been reported so far in 2010.

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