Mexican Drug Wars Spread to Touristy Yucatan

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 30, 2008 12:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – As drug violence soars in Mexico, casualties are spreading to the Yucatan peninsula, a major tourist destination and spring break hot spot. Twelve decapitated bodies were found near the popular ruins of Chichen Itza this week, the Los Angeles Times reports. That's because a government crackdown has heightened “a kind of civil war among drug cartels,” said a drug-trafficking expert. And that violence is spilling over from the usual frontlines along the US border.

The beheadings and the bodies' locations are no accident, some analysts say: The drug traffickers want scared civilians to urge the government to leave the cartels alone. But the government says the spreading violence just means its tactics are working. Said the attorney general: "They have to respond in a symbolic way that creates uncertainty in the public."

A police car patrols at the Libertad neighborhood, near the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, June 26, 2008.
A police car patrols at the Libertad neighborhood, near the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, June 26, 2008.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
Federal police agents arrive at the main airport in Culiacan, Mexico, Wednesday, May 28, 2008.
Federal police agents arrive at the main airport in Culiacan, Mexico, Wednesday, May 28, 2008.   (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)
A detainee holds the bars of a police patrol car in Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday, July 9, 2008.
A detainee holds the bars of a police patrol car in Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday, July 9, 2008.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
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