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Edited by Robert A. Donnelly and David A. Shirk


Book Review by: Dennis Moore

January 13, 2010 (San Diego’s East County)--Yajaira Mota Orozco,a San Diego mother of two children, lost her life while eating at a restaurant in Tijuana. During December, she became the 88th victim of alleged gang and drug violence in a single month, underscoring the theme of a new book edited by Robert A. Donnelly and David A. Shirk, Police And Public Security In Mexico.

Behind the death of 23 year-old Orozco is the escalating gun violence between rival gangs in Baja California. This book is a must read for those of us wanting a better understanding of the dynamics of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, as it concerns the drug culture and violence across our borders. As 2009 closed, 124 homicides were recorded in Tijuana in the month of December alone, making it the most violent month of the year. 2009 ended on a very somber note in Baja California, with the beheading of a state auto theft investigator after he was abducted from his home. Two other men were shot to death outside a tire store and another victim was killed at a taco shop.

As a former resident myself of Tijuana for two years, I saw firsthand evidence of the circumstances that brought about this violence. Robert A. Donnelly and David A. Shirk have taken a scholarly approach in examining this violence through the insight and observations of several authors. This monograph is the compilation of insights from a number of authors, edited by Donnelly and Shirk. The premise of this book seems to be that the continued presence of the military (as opposed to the police) serving as the principal peace providers in Mexico is fraught with peril.

Donnelly holds a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and history from the University of Georgia. He is Program Associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. As Program Associate, Donnelly manages a MacArthur-funded research project on the patterns and practices of civic engagement and political participation by Latin American immigrants in eight U.S. cities. He also manages the Institute’s borderlands research project, examining ways for enhanced collaboration on joint management by the United States and Mexico. Prior to coming to the Mexico Institute, Donnelly was Coordinator of the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute over 2006-2008. From 1997 to 2002, he worked as a journalist in Mexico, writing for trade publications, wire services, newspapers, and magazines.

Shirk is the Director of the Trans-Border Institute and Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of San Diego. Dr. Shirk received his B.A. at Lock Haven University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He conducts research on Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexican relations, and the U.S.-Mexican border. Dr. Shirk is the principal investigator for the Justice in Mexico Project (, and has been a fellow at the UCSD Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies (1998-99 and 2001-2003) and at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. (2009-10). Publications by Dr. Shirk include Contemporary Mexican Politics, co-authored with Emily Edmonds-Poli (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2008), Reforming the Administration of Justice in Mexico, co-edited with Wayne Cornelius (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007), and Evaluating Accountability and Transparency in Mexico, co-edited with Alejandra Rios Casares (Trans-Border Institute, 2007).

The body of work of Donnelly and Shirk makes them eminently qualified to give this balanced presentation of Police And Public Security In Mexico, and along with the various authors profiled in this monograph, gives us all a clearer picture of just what is going on south of our borders.

I recall while living in Tijuana the ominous presence of the military driving about in jeeps and larger vehicles, with guns quite noticeable. I also recall the early instances when President Calderon had the military patrolling the streets in Baja California, after guns of the local police had been confiscated, due ballistics tests to determine whether some police guns may have been used in crimes. It got to be pretty comical around that time, as the local Tijuana policeman replaced their guns with slingshots in their holsters.

As noted by the editors, in recent years, Mexico has faced a grave public security crisis. From 2006 to 2009, rampant cartel-elated violence has killed more than 13,000 people, including hundreds of police and military personnel. Given the inability of domestic law enforcement agencies to adequately address these challenges, Mexico has deployed tens of thousands of troops to restore order and combat violent organized crime groups. In addition, Mexican and U.S. officials initiated unprecedented measures to promote cross-border collaboration in law enforcement and security, including the multi-billion dollar Merida Initiative to share responsibilities in fighting the war on drugs.

These developments raise a host of questions about the course of Mexican public security and the prospects for strengthening the rule of law, according to the editors and a myriad of authors involved in this monograph. This monograph brings together the works of nine exceptional scholars who present timely analysis of these questions, provide a thorough assessment of Mexico’s principal domestic security challenges, and offer insights on how to tackle them, again, according to the editors. This monograph is part of the Justice in Mexico Project coordinated by the Trans-Border Institute at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, and generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The Tinker Foundation. The Justice in Mexico Project examines key aspects of the rule of law and the challenges related to reforming the administration of justice in Mexico, and provides access to relevant data and analysis through its website:

One of the moist poignant points was made by author Maria Eugenia Suarez de Garay, in her section in the book Mexican Law Enforcement Culture: Testimonies from Police Behind Bars. “It is easier to talk about abuse and corruption in the police world than to unravel their causes,” she states.”The challenge of attempting the latter has led me to dig deep into the core of police culture in Mexico. Setting aside sensationalism with which police matters are often treated, we must remember that the police are ‘manufactured’ products created by Mexico’s own society and culture. At the same time, the existing police culture is a system that communicates, reproduces, and evolves on its own, such that we must delve into the ‘spaces’ within police institutions to better understand police themselves.”

Maria Eugenia Suarez de Garay further goes on to state in regard to Police Criminality: “As Donnelly and Shirk discuss in the introduction to this volume, Mexican citizens have witnessed a seemingly endless pattern of crime and violence over the last decade: the settling of accounts among rival crime syndicates; murders of suspected drug dealers in prisons, while other traffickers are broken out of jail; a trail of murders of women in Ciudad Juarez; and thousands of robberies, rapes, and kidnappings across the country every day. Official discourse about the increase in criminal behavior has implied a polarization between ‘us’ (the good citizens) and ‘them’ (the criminals) (Stanley 2001, 242), which in some cases has led citizens to ‘take the law into their own hands.’"

She revealedl, "particularly bloodthirsty expression of such vigilantism occurred on November 23, 2004, when more than three hundred residents of San Juan Ixtayopan, Tlahuac (a municipality in Mexico’s Federal District) burned two men alive and severely injured another after the three were allegedly caught photographing children outside a neighborhood school. Not only were these ‘criminals’ not intending to kidnap the children, as the parents claim; they were agents from the Federal Preventive Police who reportedly were investigating drug trafficking. Their explanation went unheard. Videotapes confirm that while they were being beaten, the three did indeed identify themselves as police officers.”

The theme of this book seems to be that the local Mexican police can not be trusted, but don’t put too much power in the hands of the military.

Another author in the book, Guillermo Zepeda Lecona, states: “What exists in Mexico is less a model of law enforcement than an inertial pattern of police practices developed over decades in an environment shaped by a hegemonic political system and an inquisitorial and arbitrary model of criminal procedure, with very little public participation. The police, as noted, were relegated to the selective application of administrative regulations and to auxiliary tasks in support of criminal justice authorities.”

Again, not a vote of confidence in the Mexican police! For further perspective, Guillermo Zepeda Lecona states; “Generally speaking, both society as a whole and the authorities themselves mistrust the police, but instead of taking steps to improve the police, the police have seen their functions stripped away piece by piece. The police cannot take crime reports but must wait for information from prosecutors or attorneys before beginning their intelligence and crime-mapping activities. Nor can they act after a crime has been committed because, unless the perpetrator is caught red-handed, the investigation and arrest of suspects is reserved to the prosecutors.

Meanwhile, another Tijuana resident, 17-year old Jose Fernando Labastida Fimbres, was gunned down gangland-style near his home, Augustin Roberto Salcedo, a California school administrator, was among the bodies of six men found murdered in the north-central Mexican state of Durango, and journalist Alberto Velazquez was gunned down in the Mexican Caribbean resort town of Tulum.

This dichotomy can perhaps be best summed up by editor David A. Shirk, who states; “As noted throughout this monograph, domestic law enforcement capabilities are so ineffective that they have been largely stripped of key functions, and public officials have increasingly turned to the military as a last resort to provide for basic order. As observed by Zepeda, the core functions of Mexican law enforcement have been gradually transferred away from local preventive police forces and concentrated in state and federal judicial police agencies. Local police officers, who represent the vast majority of Mexican police, are not authorized to receive crime reports from citizens, are not equipped to conduct criminal investigations, and are not properly prepared to preserve crime scenes and evidence. Moreover, most Mexican police officers lead lives that are terribly impoverished and characterized by victimization, low self-image, and constant disparagement by citizens.”

Dr. Shirk further goes on to state, and this may more accurately sum up the situation in Mexico; “Meanwhile, as Moloeznik asserts, the expansion of the military’s mandate correlates with the public’s negative evaluations of the competence and reliability of civilian police agencies. As Moloeznik notes, the meager results offered by domestic police pave the way for the ‘militarization of public security.’ Among public sector institutions, the military has enjoyed the highest approval ratings in all of Mexico.

Unfortunately, the military is a very blunt instrument, and its involvement has already contributed to significant allegations of human rights abuses. Moreover, the ongoing commitment of troops raises critical questions about whether the military is in truth immune to the kind of corruption found in Mexican police agencies, whether its integrity can be sustained over an extended period, and when its domestic law enforcement mandate will finally end. Indeed, once the military genie is released, putting it back into the bottle may prove difficult.” It seems as if we are between a rock and a hard place as to whether to allow the police to do their job in Mexico, or risk the military doing their jobs for them. At least, that seems to be the assessment of this scholarly book edited by Donnelly and Shirk.

To get a clearer and balanced understanding of just what is going on south of our borders, Police And Public Security In Mexico is a must read that I highly recommend.

Dennis Moore is a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, a writer with LifeAfter50 Magazine in Pasadena, and a writer and book reviewer for East County Magazine in San Diego. He has written for the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, and he is an author with a yet to be published book about Chicago politics, The City That Works. Mr. Moore is also the President of Contracts & Agency, LLC, a marketing and promotions consulting company. He can be contacted at or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

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Protest over alleged U.S. spying grows in Mexico!

Mexico on Tuesday ramped up its protest over reports that the United States spied on numerous senior Mexican leaders, including the country's current and former presidents, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times by Tracy Wilkinson. Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade, in Geneva, said Washington's explanation were insufficient, according to Wilkinson.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

Guzman, a billionaire, was Mexico's most-wanted fugitive, until early Saturday. Guzman's famous Houdini-style string of getaways ended early Saturday when Mexican marines, acting on U.S. intelligence, tracked him to an apartment just over 100 miles to the south in the seaside resort of Mazatlan, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.

"Spies like us!"

FRENCH AUTHORITIES are shocked - shocked - to learn that the American government is spying on French citizens,according to the Editorial "Opinion" in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times. The Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Quai D'Orsay to inform him that what's going on is "unacceptable," and President Francois Hollande claimed to have issued a stern rebuke to President Obama in a phone conversation. 

More allegations of U.S. spying!

Mexico's President Calderon was a target, leaked documents reportedly show, according to a story by Richard Fausset in today's Los Angeles Times' newspaper. The U.S. habit of spying on Mexico extended to former President Felipe Calderon despite the close bonds forged with his powerful northern neighbor, the German magazine Der Spiegel alleged Sunday, according to Fausset's story.

Anger over spying grows!

EU nations decry the purported U.S. tactics, Germany says trust must now be rebuilt. European leaders united in outrage Thursday over reported U.S. spying, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel declaring that trust between her government and the Obama administration would need to be rebuilt after reports that U.S. intelligence agencies might have tapped her cellphone, according to a story by Henry Chu in the Los Angeles Times.

Cartel figure killed by gunmen dressed as clowns!

The shooting of the oldest Arellano Felix brother takes place at a children's party in Baja California, according to a story by Tracy Wilkerson in the Sunday, October 20, 2013 Los Angeles Times newspaper. Gunman dressed as clowns burst into a children's party and shot to death the eldest of Mexico's erstwhile largest and feared drug-trafficking families, Mexican officials and news reports said Saturday. Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix was killed Friday in the Baja California city of Cabo San Lucas while attending the party at a hotel, the reports said.

Who pays for a wall? Dispute clouds Trump's Mexico visit

On Mexican soil for the first time as the Republican presidential nominee, a firm but measured Donald Trump defended the right of the United States to build a massive border wall along its southern flank, standing up for the centerpiece of his immigration plan in a country where he is widely despised, according to an Associated Press story by Steve Peoples and Christopher Sherman. But within hours of Trunp's visit, a dispute arose over the most contentious part of the billionaire's plans to secure the U.S. southern border - his insistence that Mexico must pay to build that wall.


Writing later on Twitter, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said the subject was among the first things the men discussed. He has for months said "there is no scenario" under which Mexico would pay for the wall.


As allegations of human rights abuses by Mexico's military have multiplied over the past 5 1/2 years, a new report is calling for civilian oversight of these cases and recommending legislative action to ensure that happens, according to a story by U-T San Diego reporter Sandra Dibble.


Nice review by Dennis Moore. Thanks for sharing this.
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Wave of Mexico violence reveals hidden graves

Soldiers and police fanned out Friday across the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, chasing a wounded gang leader and trying to quell a wave of violence that included the discovery of hidden graves holding dozens of bodies and a camp where gunmen stored the severed heads of nine rivals in a cooler, according to an Associated Press story by Jose Antonio Rivera.


 The historic seizure of 15 tons of pure methamphetamine in western Mexico, equal to half of all meth seizures worldwide in 2009, feeds growing speculation that the country could become a world platform for meth production, not just a supplier to the United States, according to an Associated Press story by Mark Stevenson & Arturo Perez in the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper on Friday, February 10, 2012.


 A senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico said the operation raided in Jalisco was "probably Sinaloa," according to the AP story by Mark Stevenson & Arturo Perez.



 "Today's guilty plea marks the end of his reign of murder, mayhem and corruption." - U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy 



Government fires 800 officers and 300 administrative personnel. It has come to this: firing an entire police force in a major Mexican port city. Police in Veracruz-Boca del Rio had become so infiltrated, mainly by the Zetas drug cartel, according to one military official, that government officials had no choice but to take the most drastic measure yet against corrupt police in Mexico, according to an Associated press story by E. Eduardo Castillo in the San Diego Union-Tribune, December 23, 2011.


Duarte spokeswoman Gina Dominguez said the dismissal was designed to meet a state and federal agreement to build new p[olice forces certified under stricter standards by January 2013. None of the dismissed employees are under investigation for corruption, and all can reapply for their jobs, she said. 


Latin American leaders have joined together to condemn the U.S. government for soaring drug violence in their countries, blaming the United States for the trans-national cartels that have grown rich and powerful smuggling dope north and guns south, according to a story by The Washington Post in the San Diego Union-Tribune December 20, 2011.


Alongside official declarations, Latin American governments have expressed growing disgust for U.S. drug consumers - both the addict and the weekend recreational user heedless to the misery and destruction paid for their pleasures. "Our region is seriously threatened by organized crime, but there is very little responsibility taken by the drug-consuming countries," Guatemala's President Alvaro Colon said at a December meeting of Latin leaders in Caracas. Colom said the hemisphere was paying the price for drug consumption in the United States with "our blodd, our fear and our human sacrifice."


With transit countries facing some of the highest homicide rates in the world, so great is the frustration that the leaders are demanding that the United States and Europe consider steps toward legalization if they do not curb their appetite for drugs. At a regional summit this month in Mexico, attended by the leaders of 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, officials declared that "the authorities in consumer countries should explore all possible alternatives to eliminate exorbitant profits of criminals, including regulatory or market options." "market options" is diplomatic code for decriminalization.


The complaints are not exactly new but are remarkable for being nearly unanimous. The critique comes from sitting presidents left to right, from persistent U.S. antagonists such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and from close U.S. allies such as President Juan Manual Santos of Colombia. 


Chicago's new Scarfaceis a shadowy Mexican drug kingpin nicknamed Chapo - "Shorty" in Spanish, according to Staff Reporter Frank Main in his story today in the Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper. His cash crop is marijuana, which his cartel sells by the ton and protects with horrific violence. If you thought Chicago's Italian mob was the worst of the worst in organized crime, think again, federal agents say. "Chapo Guzman would eat them alive," said Jack Riley, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's office in Chicago.



Last year, DEA agents in Chicago Heights, where I went to high school (Bloom), stopped delivery of nearly 11 tons of marijuana packed in six rail cars from Mexico. Zambada-Niebla, Guzman and their co-defendants are charged with smuggling tons of heroin and cocain to Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. Zambada-Niebla is in a federal lockup in Chicago, but Guzman remains a fugitive.

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Perry open to sending U.S, troops to Mexico

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says he is open to sending U.S. troops to Mexico to help battle drug cartels, according to an AP story in the Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper. Perry, the Texas governor, likens the situation to Columbia, where the government accepted American military support in battling the war on drugs. He says the violence in Mexico may require similar military action. He often calls for more National Guard troops to help protect the Mexican border and stem the flow of illegal immigration. But his comments Saturday went further. They indicate he's open to deepening America's military involvement across the border. Perry's comments came at a Saturday reception at the home of New Hampshire Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne. A spokesman later clarified that Perry is open to all options in regard to cooperation with Mexico.

Pretrial skirmishes give Chicago closer look at drug cartels

A member of the Sinaloa Cartel, Zambada-Niebla faces federal charges of trafficking tons of narcotics to Chicago and other cities using trains, ships, jets and even submarines between 2005 and 2008, according to a story yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper by Alejandro Escalona. The pretrial proceedings of Mexican drug kingpin Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla are giving Chicagoans a glimpse into the trans-national business of the Mexican drug cartels, which serve a growing demand for illegal drugs in the U.S.

Police and Public Security in Mexico

Since Zambada-Niebla was extradicted to Chicago in early 2010, his pretrial proceedings have sparked controversy on both sides of the border. He first complained about jail conditions. Then he dropped a diplomatic bomb, contending that he and another member of the Sinaloa cartel were informants for the Drug Enforcement Administration and had been promised immunity from prosecution. The federal authorities refuted the claim, but acknowledged that fugitive Sinaloa Cartel member and lawyer Humberto Loya Castro was indeed a DEA informant.

35 bodies found in Mexico:

Suspected drug traffickers dumped 35 bodies at rush hour beneath a busy overpass in the heart of a major Gulf coast city as gunmen pointed weapons at frightened drivers. Mexican authorities said Wednesday they are examining surveillance video for clues to who committed the crime.

Thanks Dennis

Great book review Dennis. I am looking forward to checking this one out. bed rails

9 Americans, including mostly children, killed in Mexico!

In what has just been announced in the news. nine Americans traveling through Mexico have been killed, allegedly at the hands of the drug cartel. My heart goes out to the families of these mostly children, and I take no pleasure in passing on this tragic news, for I once lived in Tijuana for 5 years. I recall many happy years in the country of Mexico, when I would write for the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, and I would take my 13-year old daughter Brandy across the border every day to attend Roosevelt Junior High in San Diego. I had many friends in Baja California, and recall my sister and brother from the Chicago area come to visit and stay with me. I am truly saddened by what is going on in Mexico, and do not believe that it is reflective of the many kind and tender hearted people in that country.

Leaked memo: Killing cartel leaders doesn't slow drugs

The National Drug Threat Assessment released Thursday by the Department of Justice makes equally significant concessions: "The Mexican-based organizations' preeminence derives from a competitive advantage based on several factors, including access to and control of smuggling routes across the U.S. southwest border and the capacity to produce (or obtain), transport, and distribute nearly every major illicit drug of abuse in the United States. These advantages are unlikely to change significantly in the short term."

Police and Public Security in Mexico

The full conclusion of the Customs and Border Protection memo reads: "The removal of key personnel does not have a discernable impact on drug flows as determined by seizure rates."


U.S. expands role in battling cartels; some operations staged out of Camp Pendleton. The Obama administration has expanded its role in Mexico's fight against organized crime by allowing the Mexican police to stage cross-border drug raids from inside the United States, according to senior administration and military officials. This, according to a story by Mark Mazzetti & Ginger Thompson of the NYT News Service, printed in the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper on Friday, August 26, 2011.

Mexican commandos have discreetly traveled to the U.S., assembled at designated areas and dispatched helicopter missions back across the border aimed at suspected drug traffickers. The Drug Enforcement Administration provides logistical support on the U.S. side of the border, officials said, arranging staging areas and sharing intelligence that helps guide Mexico's decisions about targets and tactics.


Although the operations are rare, they are part of a broadening U.S. campaign aimed at blunting the power of Mexican cartels that have built criminal networks spanning the world and have started a wave of violence in Mexico that has left more than 35,000 people dead.

Many aspects of the campaign remain secret, because of legal and political sensitivities. But in recent months, details have begun to emerge, revealing efforts that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, who was elected in 2006, has broken with his country's historic suspicion of the U.S. and has enlisted Washington's help in defeating the cartels, a central priority for his government. U.S. Predator and Global Hawk drones now fly deep over Mexico to capture video of drug production facilities and smuggling routes. Manned U.S. aircraft fly over Mexican targets to eavesdrop on cellphone communications.


Although the operations are rare, they are part of a broadening U.S. campaign aimed at blunting the power of Mexican cartels that have built criminal networks spanning the world and have started a wave of violence in Mexico that has left more than 35,000 people dead.

Many aspects of the campaign remain secret, because of legal and political sensitivities. But in recent months, details have begun to emerge, revealing efforts that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, who was elected in 2006, has broken with his country's historic suspicion of the U.S. and has enlisted Washington's help in defeating the cartels, a central priority for his government. U.S. Predator and Global Hawk drones now fly deep over Mexico to capture video of drug production facilities and smuggling routes. Manned U.S. aircraft fly over Mexican targets to eavesdrop on cellphone communications.


Although the operations are rare, they are part of a broadening U.S. campaign aimed at blunting the power of Mexican cartels that have built criminal networks spanning the world and have started a wave of violence in Mexico that has left more than 35,000 people dead.

Many aspects of the campaign remain secret, because of legal and political sensitivities. But in recent months, details have begun to emerge, revealing efforts that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, who was elected in 2006, has broken with his country's historic suspicion of the U.S. and has enlisted Washington's help in defeating the cartels, a central priority for his government. U.S. Predator and Global Hawk drones now fly deep over Mexico to capture video of drug production facilities and smuggling routes. Manned U.S. aircraft fly over Mexican targets to eavesdrop on cellphone communications.


I am interesting in doing Master’s degree in Latin American Studies,is this good decision?
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Authorities probe gun attack at nightclub in Monterrey, bodies near Mexico City, according to an Associated Press story by Nacha Cattan, in today's San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper. Fighting among the Zetas gang and other vicious drug cartels led to the deaths of more than 40 people whose bodies were found in three Mexican cities over a 24-hour span, a government official said Saturday.

At least 20 people were killed and five injured when gunmen opened fire in a bar late Friday in the northern city of Monterrey, where the gang is fighting its former ally, the Gulf Cartel, said federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire. Eleven bodies shot with high-powered rifles were found earlier Friday, piled near a water well on the outskirts of Mexico City, where the gang is fighting the Knights Templar, Poire said. The Knights is an off-shoot of the La Familia gang that has terrorized its home state of Michoacan. Poire said an additional 10 people were found dead early Saturday in various parts of the northern city of Torreon, where the Zetas are fighting the Sinaloa cartel headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.


"The violence is a product of this criminal rivalry...surrounding the intent to control illegal activities in a community, and not only the earnings that come with it, but also with transporting drugs to the United States," Poire said in a news conference. Poire provided no more details on the killings in Torreon in the border state of Coahuila.

In Monterrey, 16 people died at the Sabino Gordo bar in the worst mass killing in memory in the northern industrial city, where violence has spiked since the Gulf and Zetas broke their alliance early last year. Four others died later at the hospital, said Jorge Domene, security spokesman for the state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located.


The U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement ending a long dispute over operation of Mexico-based trucks north of the border. Officials signed the memorandum in Mexico City.


The embattled head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has told congressional investigators that some Mexican drug cartel figures targeted by his agency in a gun-trafficking investigation were paid informants for the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a story by Richard A. Serrano of MCT News Service in today's San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper.


"ATF agents tell Issa panel they were told to step aside as weapons crossed border, according to an Associated Press story by Pete Yost."

Three federal firearms investigators told a House committee on Wednesday that they were repeatedly ordered to step aside while gun buyers in Arizona walked away with AK-47s and other high-powered weaponry headed for Mexican drug cartels in a risky U.S. law enforcement operation that went out of control.

University of San Diego School of Law

"LLM Program in Comparative Law"

August 15, 2011 - May 12, 2012

In 2009, the University of San Diego (USD) and the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (UABC) created a partnership to promote legal education and cross-border exchange, thanks to the generous support of Higher Education for Development (HED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As part of this initiative, the USD-UABC Legal Education Program is pleased to announce two full tuition scholarships for Mexican students from Baja California to study in the University of San Diego's (USD) LLM program for the academic year starting August 15, 2011 and ending May 12, 2012. These scholarships are intended to enrich students' understanding of U.S. and comparative legal systems for the purpose of transferring skills and knowledge for professional practice or academic instruction in their country.

Police and Public Security in Mexico

The Mexican army announced Sunday night that a military convoy on routine patrol raided a warehouse in Camargo, Tamaulipus, across from Rio Grande City, Texas, and seized two dump trucks that had been rigged with steel plates to carry a squad of gunmen, according to William Booth of The Washington Post. The Mexican media and military call them "monstruos," or monster trucks. "These behemoths indicate the ingenuity of the cartels in configuring weapons that are extremely effective in urban warfare," said George Grayson, professor at William & Mary College and a specialist in Mexico's drug war.


For the drug cartel boss who has everything, the latest piece of military hardware is an armored assault vehicle, according to a story in the Washington Post by William Booth.

Today's competitive crime mafias in Mexico are no longer satisfied with bazookas or rocket-propelled grenades or land mines. The Mexican military has discovered that gangsters south of the Texas border are building armored assault vehicles, with gun turrets, inch-thick armor plates, firing ports and bulletproof glass.

More than 35,000 Mexicans have died in four years of drug violence, and in the border cities and farm towns of the northern state of Tamaulipus the fighting between the rival Gulf and Zeta cartels, and the military units that chase them, has been especially vicious. Two days ago, another pair of mutilated bodies were hung from a pedestrian bridge in Monterrey.

"Organized crime has increased its firepower to move personnel and mount counter attacks against the army," said Alberto Islas, a security advisor in Mexico. "This is the consolidation of an urban guerrilla war scenario."