Mexican drug violence intensifies as elections approach

Firefighters douse a burning bus in Guadalajara. At least one policeman and several alleged criminals died during blockades by drug traffickers. (Ulises Ruiz Basurto / European Pressphoto Agency)
Firefighters douse a burning bus in Guadalajara. At least one policeman and several alleged criminals died during blockades by drug traffickers. (Ulises Ruiz Basurto / European Pressphoto Agency)

By Tracy Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times

A month before national elections, Mexico is witnessing a level of violence in which drug traffickers have directly confronted the army, raising questions about whether the government’s progress in combating crime might be a hollow victory.

In an apparent first for the nation, a drug cartel in the prosperous state of Jalisco used rocket-propelled grenades to shoot down a military helicopter, killing at least six soldiers.

The attack Friday was part of a wider assault in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city; Puerto Vallarta, a tourist destination popular with Americans and Canadians; and nearby points. The daylong mayhem included the burning of banks and gasoline stations and the erecting of nearly 40 roadblocks using flaming vehicles.

A total of 15 people, including the soldiers, died, a dozen were injured and 19 were arrested.

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-elections-violence-20150507-story.html

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