June is shaping up as one of the grisliest months in Mexico's drug war
For nearly an hour Tuesday, gunmen and Mexican soldiers were locked a battle that left at least 14 dead near the picturesque mining town of Taxco, The Times reported. The dead were all alleged gunmen, and authorities believe they were tied to a drug suspect named Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as "La Barbie." Valdez's group operates in Guerrero state, where Taxco is located.
The popular tourist spot, with its steep hills, narrow cobbled streets and world-famous silver work, has increasingly been a "scene of cartel turf battles," noted the Associated Press. Late last month, police discovered bodies in an abandoned mine near Taxco and eventually recovered 55, presumed victims of the drug wars. Among those identified, as noted in The Times' report, was Daniel Bravo Mota, a state prison director who had gone missing.
Earlier this month near the resort city of Cancun, authorities discovered six bodies in a cave, some reportedly with their chests cut open and their hearts removed.
President Felipe Calderon went on national television Monday night to plead with Mexicans for their support the government's campaign against the cartels. June is already close to being the deadliest month in Calderon's three-year war on drugs, news reports said.
And the grisly news keeps coming.
The AP reported that six decapitated bodies were found last week in the state of Durango. The news agency added: "Three more victims with severed heads were found by police in the central state of Morelos. A note left at the scene threatened people with ties to alleged drug trafficker Edgar Valdez Villareal, who authorities say is fighting Hector Beltran Leyva for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel."
In Nayarit state, where a record 32 people were killed over the weekend, the governor decided to end the public school semester on Friday, three weeks early.
On Wednesday, six people were reported killed at a rehabilitation clinic in Ciudad Juarez, the second attack on such clinics since Thursday, when 19 were killed in the city of Chihuahua.
-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Video credit: Associated Press