America’s neighbor Mexico: 18 dead. Rival drug cartels in brutal turf warfare

The ongoing and never ending story of war between the drug cartels in Mexico receives scant attention in the American media.  Which is strange.  Mexico is America’s neighbor to the south and much of the drugs being produced in Mexico are destined for the American consumer.

The closest Americans come to geting a view of the drug cartels are through movies and books.  Films such as Traffic directed by Steven Soderbergh(2000) and Sicario directed by Denis Villeneuve (2015) come to mind.  Books by Don Winslow. The Power of the Dog (2005) and The Cartel (2015) closely examine the war on drugs and its connections with American law enforcement.

Deutsche Welle 6.26.2021

The bullet-ridden bodies  (photo above) of the cartel members were discovered in the north-central state of Zacatecas. Earlier this week, two missing police officers were found hanging from a bridge in the same area.

Eighteen bodies were discovered Friday after what appeared to be a shootout between members of rival drug gangs in northern Mexico. The deadly incident occurred in a remote area in the northwestern state of Zacatecas, and came days after a similar shootout in a town close to the US border.

Local media reported several similar shootouts this week in the same area.

What happened?

Mexican Drug Gangs III 6.26.2021
Drug cartel victim of shootout

State security department spokeswoman Rocio Aguilar said there was evidence the shootout resulted from a confrontation between gunmen from the Sinaloa and Jalisco criminal cartels over drug trafficking routes. Three vehicles, one of them burned out, were also found at the scene.

On Wednesday, seven people were also shot to death in a neighboring city in the state.

On the same day, the bodies of two abducted police officers were found hanging from a bridge in the state capital.

Gunmen from cartels often hang bodies to send out a message to either authorities or rival members, but they seldom target law enforcement officials.

Aguilar said authorities have not found a link between the discovery of the officers’ bodies and the latest gun battle.

What triggered the shootout?

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Bullet ridden vehicle

The state of Zacatecas, once dominated by the old Zetas cartel, has been the scene of many inter-cartel battles.

The township of Valparaiso, where the shooting occurred, borders Jalisco state, a stronghold of a powerful cartel called Jalisco Nueva Generacion (Jalisco New Generation). Authorities said cartel members have been waging a violent campaign to dominate drug trafficking routes.

Several other groups, like Sinaloa, Gulf and Northeast drug cartels are also involved in violent turf battles in the area. Mexico’s drug wars have claimed more than 300,000 lives since 2006, when the government started deploying federal army troops to fight the country’s powerful cartels.

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Mexican police on the scene of drug cartel shootout