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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Drug-Related Mexican Violence Soars, As US Policy Bolsters Cartels -- News from Antiwar.com

Drug cartels are tightening their grip in Acapulco, where civilian communities attempt to resist

by John Glaser, August 31, 2011
As of early August, 650 people had been killed in Acapulco, Mexico in 2011, making it one of the the bloodiest cities in Mexico, due primarily to the drug war.
As a key passageway for South American cocaine, the city has long attracted drug gangs, with agents of the Sinaloa Cartel battling the Zetas as far back as 2005. Both gangs are targeted in America’s war on drugs, which unfortunately has bolstered their capacities in various ways as they expand their dominance in the black market.
Men from the Zetas gang are suspected of having terrorized and burnt down a crowded casino last week, killing over 50 people.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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