Drug-Related Violence in Mexico on the Rise
In a series of tragic events, eleven months after her term as mayor of Tiquicheo, Mexico ended, Maria Santos Gorrostieta’s body was found this past week. Gorrostieta was the mayor in the state of Michocan, a small, yet drug-congested town full of violence. Gorrostieta had experienced several brushes with death during her term as mayor; in 2009, her husband was murdered and then again in 2010 when she was shot. Other attempts were made on Gorrostieta’s life and no clear motives were established, but investigators suspect all the attempts are linked to the drug-trafficking which takes place around Tiquicheo.
It was reported that Gorrostieta was kidnapped while on her way to drop her daughter off at school. Evidence of trauma to the brain and a blow to the back of Gorrostieta’s head were discovered, and her hands bound. During her career, Gorrostieta put the interests of her town over those of the various cartels, of which, have established strong political influence. Due to these facts, Marco Aguilera the deputy attorney general, told CNN that, “investigators are not ruling out any possible motives– political, personal or criminal — in her killing.”
Drug related violence and gangs are no strangers to some parts of Mexico and have become increasingly troublesome to many. Edgar Valdez Villarreal, an American-born drug lord, though arrested in 2010, still has a great deal of influence in the Mexican government. While not connected to Gorrostieta’s death, Villarreal represents a larger piece of the problem in Mexico. From his prison cell, Villarreal has been accused of bribing and blackmailing top security officials. Genaro Garcia Luna, head of Mexico’s federal police, has been under fire recently and is suspected to have some connection to these acquisitions.
Unfortunately, Villarreal may not face justice for his uncountable acts of violence, bribery, arms possession, and drug trafficking in Mexico, though the possibility exists that he may be extradited to the United States to face charges of money laundering and drug trafficking, specifically cocaine. Over 128,000 arrests have been made within the past few years since Mexico has cracked down on the drug trade.
In another tragically related story, Maria Susana Flores Gamez, a beauty pageant queen was killed over the weekend in a shootout between soldiers and drug traffickers. The shootout occurred on Saturday, the 24th, in Guamuchil, when gunmen opened fire on the patrol of soldiers. Gamez was reported to have been used as a human shield during the fight and had a gun in her hands. Investigators are still trying to figure out if Gamez fired any rounds from the gun, because, historically speaking, beauty queens have been frequently involved with drug lords since the 1990s. The battle itself lasted for several hours, ending with the apprehension of several gang members and seizure of weapons and drugs.
This increase of violence has raised concerns on both sides of the boarder and has left in its wake numerous woes. Despite all of the success in the war against the drug cartels, victory seems to be out of reach for authorities as government corruption persists and the gangs themselves continually grow in size and rank.