U.S. consulate employee slain in drug-ridden Mexican city


— The Mexican government pledged Sunday to investigate the brutal
killings of a U.S. consulate employee and two family members of
consulate employees in a violent, drug-plagued metropolis across from
the Texas border city of El Paso.

The Mexican government and officials in the border state of Chihuahua confirmed the shooting deaths Saturday of an American woman who worked at the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez,
along with her husband, also a U.S. citizen. The husband of another
employee of the U.S. consulate also was killed in a separate shooting

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the attacks and promised a full investigation by his government and to increase security in Juarez, a city of 1.5 million that’s become one of the world’s most violent and dangerous because of the drug trade.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
whose department oversees consular employees, said the U.S. would work
with the Mexican government to find and punish those responsible.

“The safety and security of our personnel and their families in Mexico and at posts around the world is always our highest priority,” Clinton said, adding the State Department
would “do everything necessary to protect our people and to ensure that
the perpetrators of these horrendous acts are brought to justice.”

Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said President Barack Obama “shares in the outrage of the Mexican people at the murders of thousands in Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere in Mexico. We will continue to work with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his government to break the power of the drug trafficking organizations that operate in Mexico and far too often target and kill the innocent.”

There were no initial reports as to why the three were killed, but statements from the Mexican government and the White House suggested drug traffickers in Ciudad Juarez, one of the most violent and dangerous cities on the planet, were to blame.

Traffickers are suspected because of recent threats
made against consulate personnel, said an official familiar with the
matter who refused to be named because of its sensitive nature.

Saturday’s killings weren’t the first time violence was directed at U.S. personnel in Mexico. In 1985, drug traffickers in Guadalajara kidnapped and killed U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena,
who became a symbol of U.S. drug abuse prevention. The most recent
violence, if carried out by traffickers, could signal a pushback
against new efforts by the U.S. and Mexico to choke off the drug trade.

“The government of Mexico
will continue to roll back transnational organized crime, and under the
principle of shared responsibility underscores the need for both our
countries to keep working as full partners to guarantee the safety and
security of our peoples, particularly those living in our border
communities,” said Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington.

The DEA has given Mexican President Felipe Calderon high marks for his efforts to crack down on violent trafficking organizations, arresting many top leaders.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico late last month denied published reports the DEA would begin embedding agents in Mexican anti-drug units in Ciudad Juarez,
where scores of people are murdered every weekend as unabated drug
violence has raged for years and is increasingly spilling across the
2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

The violence isn’t limited to the border. On Saturday, 13 people were killed in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco,
including five police officers and two people who were beheaded. Drug
traffickers are thought to be responsible for those killings, too.


(c) 2010, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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