Border Violence Erupts in Palomas
Mexican drug trafficking violence is spilling over into the dusty border town of Palomas, a small town in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, which is about three miles south of Columbus, New Mexico. The latest violence occurred midafternoon Wednesday, Feb. 27, at a gas station when two men were killed by automatic weapons fire as they fueled up their vehicle. The gas station is four blocks from the border.
Killed were 41-year-old Javier Perez Mendiola, also known as "El Indio," and 25-year-old Adrian Juarez Mendoza, both Mexican nationals. The shooters, wearing ski masks, pulled up to the pickup truck in another vehicle, then peppered the victims with bullets. The men in the truck reportedly tried to drive away, still with the gas nozzle in the vehicle, but only got about 25 feet. The truck, with Arizona plates, had been reported stolen.
This is the third straight week in which shootings have been reported in Palomas.
Citizens used to violence from the Mexican borders cities, Juarez and Nuevo Laredo, are getting nervous about the drug wars migrating to their part of the country. Mexican officials have said that the killings are apparently connected to a turf war raging among gangs struggling for control of the lucrative drug trade.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has registered his alarm with the escalating violence in communications to Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan. He expressed concern that the violence – "approximately 10 murders and 15-20 kidnappings in the cities of Palomas, Janos, and Ascension" (cities not far from Palomas) – will spill over the border into the United States. He requested increased efforts to quell the violence along the border.
Bingaman also asked U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to provide additional law enforcement resources to southern New Mexico to combat drug trafficking activities.
Tags: Mexican Border , Border Violence , Mexico Drug Trafficking , Border Killings , Border Murders , Violence
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