Juarez, Mexico, Under Siege By Drug Lords

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Drug traffickers in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, vowed to kill a police officer every 48 hours until Police Chief Roberto Orduña Cruz resigned, which he did last month after four officers were killed, says the New York Times. With the surrounding state of Chihuahua under siege by heavily armed drug lords, the federal government last week sent 5,000 soldiers to take over the police department. Chihuahua, already with 2,500 soldiers and federal police on patrol, had almost half the 6,000 drug-related killings in all of Mexico in 2008 and is on pace for an even bloodier 2009.

Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, 46, said he was not going to allow criminals to run the city, despite the inroads they are making. Introducing a nationwide police recruitment campaign, the mayor has raised salaries and benefits enough that he is attracting new recruits to replace the many officers being fired for their links to organized crime. Bodyguards holding assault rifles who cling close to him make it clear that Juárez remains a city under siege.

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