Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily-armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades. Confrontations have taken place in numerous towns and cities in northern Mexico, including Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California, and Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua. The situation in northern Mexico remains very fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements there cannot be predicted.Here's a relevant chunk of news ripped from the headlines: Mexican town caught in crossfire of drug cartels, [By James C. McKinley Jr., International Herald-Tribune, April 15, 2008]
Armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007. Public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near shopping areas.[Mexico Travel Alert—April 14, 2008]
CIUDAD JU??REZ, Mexico: One sign of the desperation to end organized crime in this border town is that the good guy on the police recruitment posters is not a clean-cut youth in smart police caps, but a menacing-looking soldier wearing a black mask and a helmet and carrying a heavy machine gun. [...]
A turf war between drug cartels has claimed more than 210 lives in the first three months of this year, more than twice the number of homicides for the same period last year. Several mass graves, hiding a total of 36 bodies, have been discovered in the backyards of two houses belonging to drug dealers.
At the height of the violence, around Easter, bodies were turning up every morning, at a rate of almost 12 a week. The mayor and the governor of Ciudad Ju??rez asked the federal government to intervene