Skip to main content

Mexico's Calderon targets drug traffickers

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Calderon's announcement comes hours after grisly killings in Tijuana
  • Tijuana is major transit point for drugs from Mexico to the United States
  • Security plan would better coordinate federal and local police, Calderon says
  • Calderon has tightened controls on money laundering and corruption in police
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon Tuesday sent Congress a security plan intended to cut the influence of narcotics traffickers.

"Drugs just cancel the future of our youth and open the door to illicit activities," he said in a televised address, urging the plan's passage.

His announcement came hours after a spate of grisly killings occurred in the western border town of Tijuana, just south of San Diego.

Three bodies were found stuffed inside chemical drums on Tuesday, 12 others were found in an otherwise empty lot next to an elementary school on Monday. Some were bound, their tongues cut out.

Two other bodies were found during the weekend.

Most, if not all, the killings were the result of turf battles between rival drug gangs, officials said.

Tijuana's two main drug gangs, the Arellano Felix cartel and the Gulf cartel, have been vying for control of Tijuana because the city has long been a major transit point for drugs from Mexico to the United States. More recently, it has also become a market for drugs consumed there.

Intelligence analysts say that cartels in Colombia have been paying gang members with drugs, meaning the gangs have had to find local marketplaces to sell them.

Calderon has unleashed federal police and soldiers in several states across the country and tightened controls on money laundering and corruption among local and municipal police forces, which have allegedly been infiltrated by drug traffickers.

The effort has resulted in widespread carnage, with more than 3,000 deaths this year alone.

Calderon's plan would better coordinate federal and local police, seek to root out corruption and establish bases "so we are all integrated into a system of national public security," Calderon said.

The plan would establish police crime-investigation processes that would safeguard respect for the law and human rights and would increase the penalty for selling drugs to minors, he said.

"Only with stronger laws can we gain on the criminals who threaten the security of our communities and who try to poison the children of [Mexico] with drugs," Calderon said.

He called on his fellow Mexicans to help. "To win the battle against crime, it is fundamental that the society get involved in this fight," he said.

Last month, tens of thousands of Mexicans filled a massive plaza in front of the National Palace demanding an end to the violence.

CNN's Harris Whitbeck contributed to this story.

All About MexicoFelipe CalderonDrug Trafficking

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print