Mexico’s Drug-Related Violence Continues to Escalate
The Mexican government’s stepped-up efforts to clamp down on the drug trade are causing drug-related violence to explode in the country. Ioan Grillo of GlobalPost accompanied the Mexican army on some of its drug-fighting operations and describes them here.
Grillo traveled with the army to the “Golden Triangle” in northwest Mexico, a key area in drug production, including marijuana, opium for heroin and methamphetamines. On one such operation, the military scorched a field of marijuana discovered in the mountains.
In the military’s compound, Grillo also got a taste of the scope of the items seized from drug gangs, including weapons caches, hundreds of vehicles and at least 100 light aircraft.
“You think they’ve got 100 aircraft captured, how many do they not have captured? And that gives some kind of indication as to the kind of money and the size of the operation these drug cartels are dealing with,” he said. Hear more of his description:In Mexico, the drug-related violence is worsening. In 2008, there were nearly 6,000 drug-related murders, and this year, the number has already surpassed 7,000, Grillo reported. It’s been three years since President Felipe Calderon mobilized the entire armed forces against drug cartels, and since then, said Grillo, fighting among the drug gangs, between the military and gangs, and even tensions between the police and military are intensifying. “There’s other questions about Mexico’s political system, its system of law and order, its justice system that are coming into play here,” he said. Grillo explains more here:Last spring, the U.S. administration ratcheted up its role in the drug war, issuing an [interagency plan](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/north_america/jan-june09/border_03-24.html) to help Mexico attack the problem to try to prevent violence from spilling across the U.S. border. And in an [April meeting with Calderon](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/north_america/jan-june09/mexicoreport_04-16.html), President Barack Obama expressed the need for the two countries to work together under the Merida Initiative to increase training, equipment and intelligence-sharing. **Related stories on GlobalPost:** [Drug Cartels to Mexican Businesses: Pay Up](http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/mexico/091124/mexico-protection-rackets) [Putting the War Back in 'Drug War'](http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/mexico/090717/drug-war-tet-offensive)