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Rolly


Aug 20, 2009, 2:43 PM

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An update of the drug wars in my area

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Several folks have asked for an update of what’s going on in my area. So, here goes…

The drug wars are still with us, but the violence has been considerably tamped down by the presence of 2,000+ soldiers in the tri-city area. Most are deployed in Torreón where the local police force has been decimated by the firing of 300+ officers for various forms of malfeasance.

In another near-by town, the army has replaced the entire police force. In an act of total humiliation of the local cops, the army had the door to the police station welded shut. But now the local folks are complaining that the army is not keeping them safe – robberies, burglaries and car thefts are way up.

The army was called upon to quell a riot at the state prison in Gomez Palacio last week. 20 inmates were killed. The army discovered a large number of knives, hand guns, long guns, bomb making material and drugs. A few months ago, the warden and several guards were arrested and charged with corruption after the escape of several high-value drugers. Obviously, they didn’t get rid of all the bad guards. Now, the new warden and several guards have resigned saying they fear for their lives. The situation continues to be tense.

One of the people killed in the prison riot was the man who murdered my friend Johnny, the long-time English teacher here in Lerdo. I wrote about that tragedy a while ago.

Well, well, well – I just got interrupted by a knock on my door. Four army guys with big ugly guns had come to search my house looking for guns and drugs. They did a pretty thorough job. They looked in every cabinet, pulled out every draw, etc. I was surprise that they ignored the suit cases in the closet.

These searches have been going on for the past few weeks. My friend at the police department tells me that several large weapons cachés have be found as well as a lot of drugs. Several bad guys have been arrested.

For years, I was a card carrying member of the ACLU. If such a warrantless search took place at my house in the USA, I’d be pretty bent out of shape. But when you live in the middle of a drug war, priorities change. I’m damn glad to see the guys.

Bank robberies, car thefts, and other non-drug related crime has increased as the economy has soured. But that is no different than the rest of México and the USA.

Life goes on…

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by DavidMcL on Aug 29, 2009, 9:36 AM)



mazbook1


Aug 20, 2009, 2:50 PM

Post #2 of 15 (9215 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Rolly,

No, it wasn't an intrusion, they just wanted to wish you a ¡Feliz Cumpleaño! And of course see if you had gotten any worthwhile presents. I'll bet they sang Happy Birthday to you as they were leaving. ;)


Rolly


Aug 29, 2009, 7:12 AM

Post #3 of 15 (9042 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the durg wars in my area

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Very bad news -- the army has withdrawn its 2000+ troups from the area.

No announcement of why or of any future plans. We are all on edge worring that the shooting war may return.

Rolly Pirate


BajaGringo


Aug 29, 2009, 7:20 AM

Post #4 of 15 (9030 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the durg wars in my area

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We are seeing changes in the troop movements here in Baja as well Rolly. Not sure if something is up or just a change in strategy. I pray that you stay safe...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Rolly


Sep 3, 2009, 6:13 PM

Post #5 of 15 (8875 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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The army has returned, thank goodness! A belated announcement explained that the withdrawal was a planned rotation of troupes to help reduce the chances of the troupes becoming corrupted by the drug gangs. The 2,300 replacement guys are new.

They did not return in time to prevent the Zetas from killing three Lerdo policemen in an unsuccessful attempt to free a gang member from the local jail. The police station/jail is a part of city hall and is located next door to an elementary school in the middle of down town. The mayor has been saying for some time that he wants to move the station to a less populated area; but money for the move is a problem. After this shootout, he came up with an interim solution. The police academy has been moved to the civic gym, and the police station has taken the old academy quarters. The folks down town are greatly relieved.

Just as the army arrived in Gomez Palacio, they were met by a large group of Zetas on the periférico in a populated area. There ensued a major gun battle complete with RPGs and other heavy arms fire. No announcement of casualties yet.

This stuff is getting really old!

Rolly Pirate


chinagringo


Sep 3, 2009, 6:36 PM

Post #6 of 15 (8872 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Rolly;

We noticed some definite changes on our way back north last Friday and Saturday! There was a good sized Federale checkpoint outside of Cuencame headed north to the cuota. Turns out that they were not interested by us! Did notice that there were not many Federales moving on the cuotas and it made for easy sailing at 90 to 100 mph! Curious about the closed military checkpoint north of Torreon?
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Rolly


Sep 16, 2009, 6:31 PM

Post #7 of 15 (8574 views)

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Re: An update of the drug wars in my area

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For the second year in a row, there was no Independence Day parade. The safety authorities decided, for unannounced reasons, that it was unsafe, that the Zetas might attack.

To add to the local anxiety, the state water folks announced that there has been so much rain the mountain watershed of the Rio Nazas that it may be necessary to release water from the dams again this year. A possibility of a repeat of last year's flood is not welcome news.

Rolly Pirate


johanson


Sep 16, 2009, 6:47 PM

Post #8 of 15 (8559 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Sorry to hear the bad news about your independence day parade, Rolly.

Now I am no expert about letting water out of dams, (although I should be, because I grew up and at present am in the rain capital of the world, Seattle), but can't the officials simply let a little water out of the dams at a time therefore minimizing the danger of flooding?

Or am I missing something here? The pictures of the flooding, you shared with us last year really looked bad.


Rolly


Sep 16, 2009, 7:17 PM

Post #9 of 15 (8553 views)

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Re: [Johanson] An update of the drug wars in my area

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The water people have been accused of ignoring the problem of the over-filled damn until it became a dire emergency -- one dam was at 108% of capacity -- before they acted. This delayed action required the release of a huge amount of water. This year they are promising to have a small-scale, controlled release it it become necessary. A decision is due in a short time. Those promises don't do much to reduce fears.

Rolly Pirate


Zorba

Sep 17, 2009, 1:28 AM

Post #10 of 15 (8518 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Hi Rolly,

Do you ever question your decision to move to Mexico, considering the violence etc. surrounding you?

I only ask because although I love Mexico and have invested time and money there, I sometimes doubt if it was the right decision.


Judy in Ags


Sep 17, 2009, 1:38 PM

Post #11 of 15 (8434 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Rolly, were your rains really late this year? Usually it rains a lot here in June, July and some into August. This year it didn't start raining until the 3rd week in August. It has rained A LOT since then. We must have caught up with or surpassed what we didn't get earlier. Usually by now the rains have almost ended, but not this year. Right now everything is really green and growing rapidly.


Rolly


Sep 17, 2009, 8:04 PM

Post #12 of 15 (8383 views)

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Re: [Zorba] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Zorba, I came here for a new adventure in my old age. I have had, continue to have, a great time here. The vicissitudes of old age have slowed me down, but I still see my life here better than NoB. I have no reason to want to leave. The drug wars are upsetting, but they will not drive me away. When I leave my happy home, it will be feet first.

The wars have not impacted me personally, and I don't know anyone who has been directly harmed. I say "directly" because these things always have an impact on society and thus on each of us in one way or another.

The poem begins "No man is an island unto himself..." And ends "Ask not for whom the bell tolls..."

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Sep 17, 2009, 8:08 PM)


Peter


Sep 18, 2009, 9:44 AM

Post #13 of 15 (8319 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Here in Morelia our Independence Day parade was very scaled-down this year and many have commented it was a disappointment. Considering this was the site of last year's tragedy many more were surprised we had the parade at all.

Like you, Rolly, I enjoy the adventure here and my life here in Mexico has been very happy. There is nothing NOB that would entice me back. I am, though, quite disconcerted by the armed searches of peoples' homes. It was in part that sort of erosion of privacy in the US that drove me to leave. People tell me Mexico's constitution doesn't permit such searches though I know of several that have occurred, mostly to people that give no outward appearance of being involved in ilicit activities. Perhaps those ugly guns encourage people to "invite" them in and submit to the search to the search of their homes.

Coming here to Mexico and retiring fairly young (age 53) have thus far been two of the best things I have done in my life. I am not sure how I would react to such a home invasion but fear I might be looking further south for my next adventures.


MexicanRose

Sep 21, 2009, 11:37 AM

Post #14 of 15 (8183 views)

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Re: [Peter] An update of the drug wars in my area

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I am retiring and moving to a little town close to Camargo, Tamaulipas at the end of this year . In Camargo, there are a lot of soldiers especially because it is a border town. They have found packaged marijuana on the side of the road a couple of times. Kind of, "Let me get ride of the evidence before the catch up with me". The good thing is that the little town I'll be living at is about 20 minutes from Camargo and there is no Army there and there hasn't been any drug activity there either. I know it's only a matter of time before it comes that way though. There are a lot of ranches around the town and there are rumors that in some of these ranches the drug cartel trains their men. I hope they are just rumors, I'd hate to make the expense of moving there and than having to leave. Wish me luck!


Rolly


Dec 3, 2009, 2:37 PM

Post #15 of 15 (7291 views)

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Re: [Rolly] An update of the drug wars in my area

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Our drug war got ugly again last night. The new police chief of Gómez Palacio was gunned down as he got out of his car at his home in my neighborhood.

We still have several thousand army and fed cops in the area. They have done a lot to tamp down the violence, but it still lurks just around the corner.

Common crime is way up -- auto thefts, muggings, home invasions, and many store robberies. The combination of store robberies and the bad economy is forcing some stores to close, others to reduce their hours.

I can't believe how things have changed in just the past three years. But I'm staying.

Rolly Pirate
 
 
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