Mexico: Calderon Drug War Spawned 60 New Cartels

New AG says just 10 big ones existed when Calderon took office

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 19, 2012 3:24 AM CST | Updated Dec 19, 2012 6:06 AM CST

(Newser) – The bloody war President Felipe Calderon launched in 2006 to squash Mexico's big drug cartels instead created scores of smaller ones, the country's new attorney general says. "I would calculate there are between 60 and 80 (new cartels), both medium-sized and small," Jesus Murillo told Mexican radio yesterday, up from the 10 that existed when Calderon took office. Murillo's comments come as new President Enrique Pena Nieto this week began laying out his plan to cut the entrenched violence that has killed 70,000 Mexicans in a half-dozen years, Reuters reports.

Calderon "tried to confront the situation with emergency responses ... but this caused things to break down brutally and they got really out of control," Murillo said, adding that the cartels' splintering caused a steep rise in kidnapping and extortion. The new administration has vowed to restore stability; Murillo says it won't be making any deals with the cartels, but rather will focus on hitting them in the wallet.

Federal Police agents captured Zetas cartel members in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
A federal police officer stands guard as seized Zetas weapons are shown to the media in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)
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