A newspaper editor, a columnist, police officers, and bar patrons were among those killed in separate acts of violence this week in the unrelenting drug war that has claimed 3,500 lives across the country this year.
Miguel Angel Villagomez, the editor of La Noticia de Michoacan newspaper in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific coast, was kidnapped late Thursday after leaving the newsroom, said a Michoacan police spokesman.
David Garcia Monroy, a columnist at El Diario de Chihuahua newspaper, was among the 11 people killed by gunmen in a bar in the northern city of Chihuahua late Thursday, said Chihuahua police spokesman Eduardo Esparza.
The killings were the latest acts of aggression against Mexican journalists, who are increasingly pressured by narcotics cartels to tone down coverage of the country's brutal drug war.
Behind the surging violence is a shift in the way drugs are delivered to the United States, away from Colombian distribution channels to networks in Mexico, the Atlanta Constitution Journal points out.
The transformation of narcotics trafficking to the Mexican networks started shifting in the 1990s.... Increased interdiction of the Colombian-Cuban delivery routes and the opening of the United States' border to trade handed the Mexicans an opportunity.
The Colombians realized they could hire them out [to transport drugs] and reduce the risk," said Jim Martin, a federal prosecutor in Atlanta who has handled drug cases for nearly 30 years.