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8 taxi drivers killed in Mexico: why are they targeted by cartels?

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Daniel Becerrill/Reuters

(Read caption) Evidence markers stand on the pavement next to parked taxis at a crime scene in the municipality of Guadalupe in Monterrey April 10. Gunmen shot dead seven taxi drivers on the outskirts of the industrial hub of Monterrey, which has become one of Mexico's most violent cities during a turf war between rival drug cartels.

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• A version of this post ran on the author's site, Insightcrime.com. The views expressed are the author's own.

The murder of eight taxi drivers in a Monterrey suburb appears to be the latest assault by organized criminal groups against transport workers in Mexico, with the Zetas fingered as the killers.

The drivers were killed by a group of gunmen in two attacks on taxi service stations in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, on Tuesday afternoon. Two others, including a minor, were injured in the attacks. Local and federal authorities mobilized in response to the killings, but no suspects have been located so far. The two shootings occurred roughly 6 miles from one another, in a marginal section of Guadalupe that relies on pirate taxis to connect residents to the city center.

Long considered to be among Mexico’s safest and most cosmopolitan cities, Monterrey and the surrounding region has turned into one of its most notoriously violent over the past two years. In 2010, the number of murders leaped to 828 across Nuevo Leon, up from 267 the previous year. The figure jumped once more in 2011, to a total of 2,003. While much of Mexico has grown more violent in recent years, Monterrey’s status as Mexico’s industrial capital, its third largest city, and home to some of its wealthiest neighborhoods made its decline particularly alarming.

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