Guns on buses and slain police officers

Interestingly, no one on the bus batted an eyelid – perhaps this wasn’t such an unusual event for them. The Mexican public see guns every day on their streets, mostly wielded by the police force. In my year in Mexico City, however, I have never experienced anything like it.
It seemed that the police were looking for someone in particular- this was not just a routine check. Talking it over with a colleague, we concluded that it could well have been to do with the morning’s events, in which the country’s head of the fight against organized crime, Edgar Millan Gomez, was shot dead in his own home.
It’s hard to find a word better than bloodbath to describe the last week in Mexico, which has seen the slaying of four police officers.
Gomez was shot at his home in the early hours of Thursday by an assassin waiting in his home. The police chief was accompanied to his home by four body guards, two of whom waited outside. Reports say that after being shot nine times, Gomez questioned his attacker, asking him who sent him. Two of his bodyguards were also injured in the attack. Read the reports on the BBC, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald and New York Times here.

“Commander Millán was the highest ranking official to be killed since Mr. Calderón’s campaign against drug dealers began. Intelligence officials said it was highly likely that he was killed in retribution for the arrest on Jan. 21 of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, one of the leaders of a cartel based in Sinaloa State.” NYT

Just a day later, when Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon was attending the funeral for Gomez and two other police offers killed in the line of duty this week , another police chief was shot dead – Esteban Robles, head of the anti-kidnapping unit of the Mexico City police department. He was shot several times outside his home – BBC and NYT reports here.
Media accounts of these attacks on Mexico’s police say that police sources said the so-called Sinaloa cartel was behind the attack on Millan Gomez.

“The Sinaloa cartel is one of several organized-crime groups that have grown rich transporting Colombian cocaine, locally manufactured methamphetamine and other illicit drugs to the United States.” LATimes.

Several high ranking police officials have been shot in Mexico in the last few months, for much the same reasons as Gomez.

“The Mexican police have been under constant attack since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2007 and started an offensive against drug cartels that had corrupted the municipal police forces and local officials in several towns along the border with the United States and on both coasts.
“Since then, Mr. Calderón has sent thousands of federal agents and troops into those areas to establish law and order, provoking retaliation from drug cartels that have killed about 200 officers, among them at least 30 federal agents.” NTY