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MEXICO UNDER SIEGE

Women play a bigger role in Mexico's drug war

Addiction, the economy and the lure of living well have sucked many into the narcotics underworld. The trend threatens the foundations of Mexican society.

November 10, 2009|Tracy Wilkinson

She went to the police and the courts, but no one helped. After one particularly bad beating, she gathered up her two children and moved in with her sister.

But her husband followed her, threatened to burn the house down and shot out the outside lights. The goons who worked with him menaced Teresita and her family.

Teresita, a 28-year-old brunet with large, almond-shaped eyes, had known her husband since she was 16. Her sister had married his brother. But drugs and the business had changed him.

She finally became convinced that he would kill her and kidnap the children and found her way to the agency that runs the shelter. There she has remained with her children, trying to learn how to use a computer and other skills that will help her rebuild her life.

But most of the women who have left narco-husbands have to be transferred out of the state and sometimes out of the country to really be safe.

Teresita has a simple wish: "I just want to be in a place where I am not afraid to walk outside."

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wilkinson@latimes.com

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