Investigators at a murder scene in Chihuahua. Investigators at a murder scene in Chihuahua.

Renewed violence for crystal meth market

October homicides in Chihuahua highest in four years

A renewed wave of crime and violence in the state of Chihuahua is a cruel reminder of the still fresh scars left by the battles of warring drug cartels earlier this decade.

But today the battles involve smaller players and a different product: crystal meth.

At 207, the October homicide total is the highest since May 2012 when there were 224. During the worst period of violence in the state, in August 2010, there were 406 homicides reported.

With 101 homicides in Ciudad Juárez and 71 in the capital city of Chihuahua, the two cities recorded 82% of what authorities call execution-style murders.

Violence then, as now, was caused by the war for territorial control between the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels. Back then, it made Ciudad Juárez the most violent city in the world.

Officials blame the uptick in homicides on executions committed by narcos who are are now trying to control the crystal methamphetamine market. In previous years the battle was over moving marijuana, cocaine or heroin.

The state Attorney General told the newspaper Milenio that this time the battle involves low-level, retail drug dealers who want to become independent and control sales themselves.

The mayor of Ciudad Juárez agrees and says that “over 95% of the recent executions reported in the city are related to crystal narco-retail.”

“The link to low-level drug dealers is constant. In all, or almost all cases, [those executed] are consumers, dealers or distributors,” said Armando Cabada.

With just a month in office, the new governor of Chihuahua, Javier Corral, blames his predecessor, César Duarte, for the climate of insecurity in the state, and the state Attorney agreed.

“Such conditions of insecurity as the ones we’re currently experiencing cannot be caused in one or two months; this is an issue that has been in gestation for a long time,” said César Peniche.

Attorney General’s office figures are clear in this respect. Homicides have been constantly increasing this year, beginning with 90 reports in January and culminating with over 200 in October.

“This increase in violent homicides is recent, and we don’t want it to progress into the next stage: extortion, kidnappings and violent car robberies. We don’t want that,” said the president of the National Chamber of Commerce in Ciudad Juárez, Alejandro Ramírez.

In what was once the murder capital of the world, they’ve seen it all before.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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