November 18, 2010 |
One minute you're shaking it on a dance floor throbbing with happy wedding guests. The next you're navigating darkened, forlorn streets, hoping the bad guys have the night off. Such is the fractured feel of life in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where the death of a drug lord has intensified months-long fighting between rival cartels and left residents in a dread-filled state of limbo. They know something awful is going on around them, but usually little more than that.
August 1, 2010 |
Mexican federal police on Saturday rescued two of four journalists kidnapped five days earlier by a drug gang in northern Mexico, authorities said. The case highlighted the dangers faced by journalists in Mexico, where criminal gangs often seek to silence news coverage or slant it in their favor. The captors had demanded the airing of homemade videos that linked a rival gang to corrupt police in the states of Durango and Coahuila. Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said intelligence work led to a predawn operation that freed cameramen Javier Canales of Multimedios Laguna and Alejandro Hernandez of Televisa from a house in Gomez Palacio, Durango.
May 5, 2010 |
The Almanzas slowed down as they drove their black pickup past what they believed to be an army checkpoint in violent northeastern Mexico. They rolled down their windows, they say, so the soldiers could see they were a family. But the masked men in uniform instead opened fire, and two Almanza children, aged 9 and 5, were killed. Fifteen days earlier and just 100 miles away, two promising university students were killed at the gates of their school during an army battle with drug traffickers.
March 18, 2010 |
Residents of this scruffy border town thought they had seen the worst of the violence five years ago, when rival drug gangs staged wild gunfights in the streets and a new police chief was slain just hours after being sworn in. The warfare gave way to an uneasy calm after one of the warring groups took de facto control. The number of deaths here ebbed, even as violence soared out of control in other border cities, such as Ciudad Juarez, about 500 miles to the northwest. Now, like a recurring nightmare, dread again hangs over Nuevo Laredo amid a new bloody feud that has ignited widespread fear of a return to the earlier carnage.
September 16, 2009 |
In Tijuana, schoolchildren get lessons on how to duck during gangland shootouts. Ciudad Juarez cops patrol with military escorts, and the morgue there is spilling over with gunshot victims. But here in Mexicali, people fear the desert sun more than drug hit men. The city of 700,000 has a homicide rate comparable to that of Wichita, Kan., and one of the biggest police deployments is Operation Beat the Heat, in which officers haul blocks of ice to shantytown residents. There hasn't been a bank robbery in Mexicali in 18 months, or a reported kidnapping in a year.
March 25, 2009 |
Critics are protesting a Border Patrol plan to poison vegetation along a 1.1-mile stretch of the Rio Grande riverbank to eliminate dense foliage used as hiding places by illegal immigrants and smugglers. Some opponents of the action compare it to the Agent Orange chemical spraying program during the Vietnam War. The $2.1-million pilot project is due to begin this week.
November 23, 2006 |
The top cop in this unhinged border city has 300 openings on a 600-member police force, and his fearful greeting gave a big clue why. "Please, please don't use my name or take a photograph," the interim chief begged. One police chief was killed last year, a second quit in the spring, and no one else appears brave enough, or foolhardy enough, to work this side of the law in Nuevo Laredo.
April 23, 2006 |
Here, it's better not to know. Information can be poison in this border city. Hard-boiled police reporters would rather you didn't tell them the names of certain criminals. When there's a shootout downtown, even the most ambitious radio reporter will not necessarily rush to the scene. So it went the day last month that four undercover federal police officers were ambushed and killed in thick lunch-hour traffic on the city's busiest street.
August 9, 2005 |
The U.S. Consulate in this violence-racked border city reopened Monday, a week after the U.S. ambassador to Mexico ordered it closed, citing concern over the safety of employees and visitors to the facility. Security had been tightened at the consulate and two Nuevo Laredo police officers kept watch on people waiting in line. Four other municipal officers circled the building on bicycles, and federal agents and troops drove by repeatedly. U.S.
July 30, 2005 |
The United States is closing its consulate in this border city for a week in the wake of a shootout in which assailants used machine guns, grenades and a rocket launcher to attack a home, the U.S. ambassador said Friday. In a statement from Mexico City, Ambassador Tony Garza said that "in light of this alarming incident and continued violence along the border, I have decided to suspend all operations except for emergency services for American citizens" for one week beginning Aug. 1.