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Mexico sends troops to border city in bid to control drug violence

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Miguerl Tovar/AP

(Read caption) Troop buildup: A soldier prepares to patrol in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday. Mexico has sent thousands of troops to the border city in recent days to quell increasing drug violence.

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Signaling a sharp uptick in an already volatile war, Mexican troops this week poured into a city on the US border, the first of many such deployments expected in coming days.

The BBC reports that more than 1,500 Mexican troops have already moved into Ciudad Juárez, which is in the midst of a turf war between rival drug gangs.

Soldiers moved into Ciudad Juarez to try to regain control of a city in which more than 2,000 people have been murdered over the past year.
Officials say they intend to have 7,000 troops and police in position by the end of the week.
Rival gangs are battling for control of the city, which is a key entry point for drug smuggling into the US.

Their presence is already having an impact, according to the El Paso Times.

The influx of thousands of Mexican soldiers into Juárez is being credited for a sharp drop in the number of daily homicides while officials prepare for the military to take command of city police and other departments.
Three homicides occurred in the Juárez area in the first three days of March compared with 28 in the first three days of February, which ended with more than 200 people killed, according to information provided by Chihuahua state police.

But the El Paso Times adds that the move has drawn negative commentary as well.

The army surge, described by a columnist as the "green tsunami," is not without its critics, who contend that civil rights are being violated with unlawful searches of homes, detentions and torture. Military officials have denied abuse allegations.

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