Drug Wars Get Serious Down South
"TIJUANMexico drug gangs threaten cops on radio, kill themA, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican drug gangs near the U.S. border are breaking into police radio frequencies to issue chilling death threats to cops which they then carry out, demoralizing security forces in a worsening drug war.
"You're next, bastard ... We're going to get you," an unidentified drug gang member said over the police radio in the city of Tijuana after naming a policeman.
The man also threatened a second cop by name and played foot-stomping "narcocorrido" music, popular with drug cartels, over the airwaves.
"No one can help them," an officer named Jorge said of his threatened colleagues as he heard the threats in his patrol car.
Sure enough, two hours later the dead bodies of the two named policemen were found dumped on the edge of the city, their hands tied and bullet wounds in their heads.
Cartels killed some 530 police in Mexico last year, some of them corrupt officers who were working for rival gangs. Others were killed in shoot-outs or murdered for working against the gangs or refusing to turn a blind eye to drug shipments.
Violence has hit shocking levels in Tijuana, over the border from San Diego, since President Felipe Calderon launched an army crackdown on traffickers in late 2006, stirring up new wars between rival cartels over smuggling routes.
The drug war is scaring tourists and investors away from northern Mexico, forcing some businesses to shutter just as the country heads into recession this year.
Badly-paid Tijuana municipal police, often accused of collaborating with rival wings of the local Arellano Felix cartel, are badly demoralized, senior officers say.
"These death threats are part of the psychological warfare that organized crime is using against officers," said Tijuana police chief Gustavo Huerta.
"Before, the gangs began infiltrating the radio after a police execution, which was bad enough, but now they are doing it beforehand and the force feels terrorized," he said."
"AUSTIN -- Texas officials are working on a plan to respond to a potential collapse of the Mexican government and the specter of thousands fleeing north in fear for their lives after recent reports indicated the country could be on the verge of chaos."