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Mexico drug violence "boiling over": U.S. official

Reuters | September 15, 2006
By Greg Brosnan

MEXICO CITY - Violence between rival Mexican drug cartels is "boiling over" as a wave of grisly murders shocks even hardened law enforcement agents, a senior U.S. anti-narcotics official said on Thursday.

The warning came as the U.S. Embassy in Mexico cautioned Americans about a sharp increase in drug-related murders and kidnappings in border towns.

Brazen killings by Mexican cartels fighting to control smuggling of cocaine into the United States are not new, but narco hitmen have recently carried out a string of particularly gruesome murders.

In one bloody episode last week, masked gunmen in the western state of Michoacan -- a key drop point for U.S.-bound cocaine and Mexico's newest murder flashpoint -- rolled five human heads onto a dance floor along with a written warning.

"It certainly seems to be at a point of violence boiling over," the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Asked if the violence was escalating, he said: "It seems to be moving in that direction. It seems to be a developing trend that we have not seen before."

Days after the severed heads appeared, police found the corpses of six men with their throats slashed outside Uruapan.

As in areas on the U.S. border, the Uruapan killing spree is thought to stem from a feud between Mexico's two major smuggling gangs, the Gulf cartel from northeastern Mexico and an alliance of narcos from the western state of Sinaloa.

Authorities attribute beheadings earlier in the year in the Pacific resort of Acapulco to a group know as the Zetas, a renegade military unit that broke from the army to serve the Gulf cartel.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement on Thursday warning Americans to be careful in Mexico, particularly in the northern state of Tamaulipas and the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

"Violence in the U.S.-Mexico border region continues to threaten our very way of life, and as friends and neighbors, Mexicans and Americans must be honest about the near-lawlessness of some parts of our border region, " said U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza.

 

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