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Gunmen Kill 5 Taxi Drivers in Northern Mexico

 

Gunmen killed five taxi drivers Tuesday in the streets of the northern Mexican industrial city of Monterrey, the Nuevo Leon state Security Council said. “The attack happened at around 10:00 a.m. in the Solidaridad neighborhood” in the northern part of Monterrey, a council spokesman told Efe. Several men aboard an SUV opened fire on a taxi stand at a busy shopping center located at the intersection of Cabezada and Luis Donaldo Colosio avenues. The gunmen managed to get away, leaving the streets covered with bodies. The security forces cordoned off the area, with soldiers guarding the crime scene investigators sent to gather evidence. The shootings occurred just hours after three suspected Gulf cartel members – two men and a woman – were murdered at Monterrey’s Topo Chico prison by two killers from the rival Zetas drug cartel. On Sunday, Zetas gunmen massacred 44 Gulf cartel members imprisoned at the penitentiary in Apodaca, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area, while 30 Zetas members escaped with the assistance of several guards. Monterrey and its suburbs have been battered by a wave of drug-related violence that has left about 2,500 people dead since March 2010. Los Zetas has been battling an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels, known as the Nueva Federacion, for control of the Monterrey metropolitan area and smuggling routes into the United States. Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel. After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories. Mexico’s drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to Sept. 30. The murder total has grown every year of President Felipe Calderon’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels. Unofficial tallies published in December by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at more than 50,000

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