US: Mexico A Huge Security Risk
A TIMELINE OF VIOLENCE
President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on Mexican drug traffickers, launched in December 2006, has become more violent in recent months. Notable incidents:
Aug. 16, 2008 Gunmen attack a party in the northern city of Creel, killing 14 people, including a 16-month-old toddler who was in his father's arms. The Chihuahua state prosecutor calls it a "settling of accounts" by drug traffickers.
Aug. 28 Police find 11 headless bodies near Mrida, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. All the corpses were handcuffed. One was nude and showed signs of torture.
Sept. 12 Police find 24 bodies, 15 of them decapitated and many with signs of torture, in a forest west of Mexico City. Most have gunshots to the head.
Sept. 15 Attackers throw grenades into the crowd at an Independence Day celebration in the central city of Morelia, hometown of President Calderon. The blasts kill seven people and wound 103.
Oct. 1 Eight bodies with gunshots to the head are dumped next to an elementary school in Tijuana. A note, apparently directed to a rival drug gang, says: "Here are your people, 'Bricklayer.' Come get them!"
Dec. 21 The heads of eight soldiers and a former state police commander are found next to a Sam's Club in the western city of Chilpancingo. A note says, "For each one of mine you kill, I'll kill 10 soldiers."
Dec. 29 Sixteen bodies are dumped in vacant lots in Tijuana, 12 in one lot and four in another.
Jan. 24, 2009 Police in Tijuana arrest Santiago Meza Lopez, who state prosecutors say disposed of more than 300 bodies for drug traffickers by dissolving them in caustic soda. Mexican newspapers dub him "The Stewmaker."
Feb. 3 A newly retired army general and his two bodyguards are tortured, killed and dumped near the resort city of Cancun. He is the highest-ranking soldier killed since Calderon's offensive began.
Feb. 10 A drug gang's attack on the northern town of Villa Ahumada and an ensuing battle with soldiers kills 21 people.
Sources: USA TODAY research based on police reports, Mexican army, Mexican attorney general's office, news reports Ref. Source 3