The number of killings in Mexico’s drug wars has spiked to unheard-of levels in Nogales, across the border from Tucson, during the past two months as a powerful cartel tries to seize control of the valuable corridor, the Arizona Daily Star reports. The 98 people killed in the Mexican border city since Dec. 1 are more than the total number of homicides for 2006 and 2007 combined, according the El Imparcial newspaper.
There’s no evidence that drug traffickers are targeting visiting U.S. citizens or Mexicans not involved in the trade, but officials worry that the risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time has increased. The killings don’t seem to follow any patterns – they occurred in 16 different neighborhoods last year and almost equally in morning, daytime, evening and overnight. The bloodshed was triggered by the Dec. 17 killing of drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva, the leader of a cartel, by Mexican naval special forces in a city south of Mexico City, said the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Anthony Coulson in Tucson.