Friday, June 26, 2009

12 More Deaths Overshadowed by Michael Jackson's

Querétaro is generally pretty insulated from the drug war crap, but every now and then it feels like the craziness is closing in. To whit, today's news out of Apaseo El Alto, which is about an hour from here.

State and federal security forces killed 12 presumed gangsters Friday morning in a small Central Mexico village as the government’s crackdown on organized crime intensifies.

The battle in Apaseo El Alto, about 150 miles north of Mexico City and an hour’s drive from the popular resort town of San Miguel Allende, began when gunmen tried to repel officers who came to arrest them. Soldiers as well as federal and Guanajuato state police returned fire, authorities said.

Three police officers were injured, one of them seriously, officials said.

Police had stepped up operations in the area after the recent arrests of Apaseo El Alto’s two top police officials on suspicion of working for La Familia, a violent drug syndicate based in neighboring Michoacan state, Guanajuato Gov. Juan Manuel Oliva said Friday.

When the top police officials have been removed under suspicion of drug ties, and then the cops and the cartels start gunning each other down, it;s hard to know who to cheer for. As for Apaseo, we spent a delightful afternoon there about a year and a half ago, though as we wrote at the time, "a lot of people looked as if they might have personal knowledge of a hidden airstrip somewhere in the valley."

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