Mexican troops find 18 bodies near United State border
CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO: Mexican soldiers found 18 bodies buried on a ranch near the Texas border on Monday, and gunmen killed a female police chief in the latest bout of unrelenting violence in northern Mexico.
Troops acting on information obtained from several captured drug hitmen dug out 18 bodies from 11 graves in the town of Palomas in Chihuahua state, just across from the Big Bend National Park in Texas, police said. It was not immediately clear who was buried in the graves and how long the bodies had been there.
The grisly discovery came hours after suspected drug hitmen killed Hermila Garcia, the 36-year-old police chief of the town of Meoqui in Chihuahua state-a rare deadly attack on a female Mexican law enforcement official-the Chihuahua state attorney general's office said. Garcia was killed early on Monday as she drove her SUV through the town, in what could be a warning to a string of other women who have recently taken on senior police jobs in Chihuahua. The state is home to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent drug war city.
The drug violence that has killed more than 31,000 people across the country since December 2006 is tarnishing the country's international image and worrying Washington and some investors. Women, including a 20-year-old student and two housewives, have come forward in recent months to run local police departments in Chihuahua as many men are too scared to take the jobs.
Chihuahua has become Mexico's most violent state since President Felipe Calderon launched his drug war four years ago. In and around Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, some 7,200 people have died in drug violence since January 2008, when Mexico's top trafficker Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman made a push to control the city and its lucrative smuggling routes.
Despite the arrest of thousands of suspected gang members in Chihuahua, the crackdown on cartels has provoked a wave of violent crime, as jobless young men fight over local kidnapping, narcotics and extortion rackets in Mexico's homegrown drug market. -Reuters
VIENNA: Austrian Finance Minister Josef Proell (L) delivers his speech on the budget for 2011 in the parliament. -Reuters