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WORLD
September 1, 2011 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Araceli Rodriguez felt a jab of dread when her son, Luis Angel Leon, a federal police officer in Mexico City, announced that he was going on a mission in the western state of Michoacan. "I told him that Michoacan is very dangerous and that I didn't want him to go," Rodriguez recalled. Leon, 24, with two years on the force, said he could use the extra earnings. On Nov. 16, 2009 — a Monday — Leon climbed into a civilian SUV with six other officers and a driver. The group has not been heard from since.
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WORLD
June 1, 2011 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
"The Team" aired for three short weeks and never scored high ratings. It proved one thing, though. Amid sharpening divisions over Mexico's drug war, even a mediocre cop drama can be fuel on the fire. The TV series debuted on the private Televisa network in early May and ended Friday, capping 15 prime-time episodes. But the controversy around it may outlast the reruns. Was the series, featuring a coed team of elite (and muy attractive!) federal officers on the trail of drug traffickers, just an ordinary crime drama?
WORLD
March 27, 2011 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
When the highway shootouts and roadblocks by gunmen in her hometown finally became too much, Karla Garza found sanctuary in the unlikeliest of places: the big, bad capital, Mexico City. Garza, a 21-year-old marketing student, switched campuses in December after her parents decided that even with its rampant robberies and kidnappings, Mexico City was safer than their home in Monterrey, a once-quiet northern city that for months has served as a battlefield for warring drug gangs. "Ten years ago, my parents never would have imagined sending me to live in [Mexico City]
WORLD
November 30, 2010 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Mexican authorities Tuesday said they had arrested a regional boss of La Familia drug gang, which dominates the western state of Michoacan with violence and a cult-like authority. The trafficking group recently hung banners suggesting a truce with Mexican government forces, but authorities dismissed the move as a ploy and said they wouldn't negotiate anyway. Federal police said the man arrested Monday, Jose Alfredo Landa Torres, was recently named to head La Familia's operations in the state capital, Morelia.
WORLD
November 24, 2010 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Mexican authorities Wednesday announced they had arrested the new leader of the drug gang formerly run by suspected kingpin Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal. The arrest late Tuesday of Carlos Montemayor marked a fresh blow against the remnants of the once-formidable Beltran Leyva gang, battered by arrests, deaths and vicious internal fighting. Mexican federal police said Montemayor took over the faction once led by Valdez, a U.S. citizen arrested in August. The in-fighting has stoked months of killings and beheadings across the states of Morelos and Guerrero, home to the resort city of Acapulco.
WORLD
November 6, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
The kidnapped brother of a former state attorney general who was forced to make a video accusing the official of cartel crimes has been found slain, authorities announced Friday. Eight suspects were arrested in the kidnap-homicide of Mario Gonzalez, brother of Patricia Gonzalez, who until last month was the top prosecutor in Chihuahua, Mexico's most violence-ridden state. The suspects said the killing was ordered by a local police officer working for the Sinaloa cartel. Several of the suspects were paraded before television cameras Friday morning wearing what appeared to be the same camouflage clothes they had worn in a video in which they were seen forcing Mario Gonzalez at gunpoint to "confess.
WORLD
October 21, 2010 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Mexican authorities Thursday announced the arrest of a gang leader who allegedly directed the fatal car bomb attack in Ciudad Juarez last summer that stoked fears of a dangerous escalation in the drug war. Fernando Contreras Meraz, identified as a regional boss of an armed gang known as La Linea, was arrested Wednesday in the northern city of Chihuahua with 13 other suspects, federal police officials said. Contreras is accused of overseeing the July 15 blast that killed four people, including a police officer, on a busy Juarez street.
WORLD
August 31, 2010 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
About 3,200 Mexican federal police officers, nearly a tenth of the force, have been fired this year under new rules designed to weed out crooked cops and modernize law enforcement, officials said Monday. The housecleaning is part of President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on drug cartels, which includes overhauling the 34,500-strong federal police force. An additional 465 federal officers have been charged with breaking the law, and 1,020 others face disciplinary action after failing screening tests, officials said.
WORLD
August 30, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Mexico announced the capture Monday of one of its most wanted alleged drug lords, a Texas-born figure accused of unleashing a wave of brutal slayings near Mexico City as part of a ruthless battle with rivals. Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known by the improbable nickname "La Barbie," was seized by federal police in the state of Mexico, the region surrounding Mexico City, the Public Security Ministry said in a statement. Valdez allegedly served as the top enforcer for Arturo Beltran Leyva, a major kingpin killed by Mexican marines in December.
WORLD
July 17, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Four are killed in what officials call a well-planned trap near a federal police headquarters. It appears to be the first time traffickers have used a car bomb since the start of a military-led offensive against drug cartels. Drug traffickers have added a powerful weapon to their arsenal, employing a car packed with nearly 20 pounds of explosives to kill police officers, Mexican authorities said Friday. Four people were killed — including a police officer and a doctor lured to within a few feet of the bomb — in what authorities said was a well-orchestrated trap.
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