Mexico Deploys Soldiers to Fight Drug War

Law-enforcement gaps, budget woes give traffickers upper hand
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2007 8:08 AM CDT
Mexican army soldiers stand over a detained man after a gun battle that left 4 dead traffickers in the city of Apatzingan, Mexico, May 7, 2007. Mexican drug cartels armed with powerful weapons and angered...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – In its battle against drug traffickers, the Mexican army fights not just the cartels but also a lethal combination of corruption, power vacuums, and even geography. Desertion rates are high, salaries low, and the assignment difficult if not impossible. The LA Times visits Apatzingan, a drug-war hotspot whose police chief was shot in an ambush this week and promptly resigned.

Felipe Calderon has made the drug war a focus of his new administration, but critics worry that the deployment, which may not be legal, will stretch the army too thin and damage its good reputation. And many fear the power of a fat bribe. Says one observer: "The risk now is corrupting the last honest institution, the army."