Eight police officers have been assassinated this year in Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, report McClatchy Newspapers. The city is like a battle zone. More than 2,000 soldiers and federal police officers have been deployed to the state of Chihuahua in the past two weeks. Convoys of masked soldiers drive through. Troops with assault weapons guard the streets and U.S. fast-food restaurants. Soldiers set up roadblocks throughout the city and began patrolling neighborhoods in search of local organized-crime figures, including corrupt police officers.
It hasn’t stopped the violence. Drug gangs have infiltrated local police and government offices. They’ve silenced journalists with death threats. One local paper no longer publishes drug investigations. U.S. drug enforcement officials considers Mexican drug gangs the greatest threat to U.S. efforts to block the flow of illegal drugs into the country. Juarez, with a population of about 1.5 million, is an important business center for Mexico and the U.S. It supplies dozens of U.S. businesses with auto parts, electronics and other manufactured goods. U.S. students and residents used to visit the city’s bars for cheap drinks and big parties. As the violence spilled onto the street, and threat of kidnappings loomed, U.S. citizens stopped coming.