As narcotics addiction soars in Mexico, drug rehabilitation centers have become killing zones and recruitment centers in the escalating drug war, McClatchy Newspapers report. In central Mexico, a cartel given to religious fanaticism is thought to run its own drug centers, weaning addicts off narcotics only to convert them into killers. Hired guns from cartels also have taken to using rehab clinics as hideouts after committing brutal crimes, making the centers targets of revenge for rivals.
Almost every month, heavily armed squads break into a rehab center somewhere in Mexico and gun down those who are thought to be rivals from competing narcotics syndicates, along with innocent patients. In one of the grisliest cases, assailants with AK-47 automatic rifles broke into the Faith and Life clinic in Chihuahua City, a desert hub about 220 miles from El Paso, Texas, lined up 19 people and executed them. The killers left a banner after the June 10 attack: “This is what happens to rapists, robbers, scum and pigs.” About a dozen violent attacks on drug treatment centers have occurred in the past year in Durango and Chihuahua states.