The homicide rate in Mexico grew 5.3 percent in the first half of 2019 and the drug cartels are to blame, according to the Associated Press. The murders totaled 17,608 over the first half of the year, which amounts to an average of nearly 100 killings per day. The exact timeline coincides with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s first six months in office.
Last week, the U.S. sentenced notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in prison, which Lopez Obrador called “inhumane.”
Later, however, Lopez Obrador vowed to crack down on cartel violence in his country by introducing a new local police force, the Guardia Nacional.
“We think that bit by bit the number of criminal incidents will decline. We will continue to create a better society, supported by values, that is not based on accumulating material wealth, money or luxury,” said Lopez Obrador, at a press conference last week.
The Mexican people are becoming increasingly distrusting of Lopez Obrador’s government because of the inconsistent rhetoric, according to reports from the region.
According to an extensive Daily Beast report, civilians are organizing their own militias to go after the cartels. The report detailed a new group United Front of Community Police of Guerrero State (FUPCEG) that was formed to protect civilians from the increasing violence and corruption.
One member told the Daily Beast he was motivated to join “because I was tired of hearing the people’s cries for help go unanswered.”
In addition to narco operations in Mexico, the drug cartels are gaining territory in the U.S.
On Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration identified alliances between eleven Texas street gangs and two Mexican cartels. Supervisor of the DEA’s San Antonio office Richard Sanchez told Fox San Antonio.
“Essentially the Mexican cartels are supplying our street gangs in San Antonio with either heroin or mainly methamphetamine,” Sanchez said.