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Toll of drug war rises in Mexico

An anti-narcotics official is gunned down, two journalists are abducted and an army captain ends up dead.

May 15, 2007|Hector Tobar | Times Staff Writer

Calderon has made the war on drugs the centerpiece of his presidency. Last week, he created the Corps of Federal Support Forces, an army unit specializing in anti-drug efforts. The unit will answer directly to his office.

Calderon sent army troops to Michoacan and Guerrero not long after taking office in December. The army is seen by many here as one of the few security institutions still relatively immune to infiltration by drug traffickers.

At least 11 army troops have been killed this year. Five soldiers were killed in an ambush in the town of Caracuaro, Michoacan, this month.

"The sacrifice of these patriots will not be in vain," Calderon said at an event marking Cinco de Mayo. "In honor of their memory, their deaths will not go unpunished and we will redouble our offensive against the enemy."

The latest victim, Lugo Felix, had been on the job just a few weeks, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said.

"To be honest, I think he was still getting his boxes unpacked," the spokeswoman said.

Carlos Martinez of The Times' Mexico City Bureau contributed to this report.

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