Mexico's anti-drugs chief unhurt after assassination attempt
August 16, 1999
From staff and wire reports
MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- A foiled assassination attempt on Mexico's top anti-drug official, the third daytime attack in the Mexican capital in two months, has raised fears that Mexico's war on drugs is bringing increased violence to Mexico City.
Gunmen on two motorcycles ambushed a car carrying Mexico's special prosecutor for drug trafficking, Mariano Herran Salvatti, and his wife on a busy street on Sunday. Neither Herran Salvatti nor his wife were hit, but two of their bodyguards and one of the alleged assailants were injured.
The attack came two months after the June 7 murder of popular Mexican television personality Francisco "Paco" Stanley. Three weeks later gunmen killed two elite presidential guards in a robbery.
Analyst Jorge Chabat believes the attack on Herran Salvatti was designed to send a warning: "Don't go too far because you can have troubles."
In the last few weeks, Mexico has stepped up its fight against drug trafficking. In June, the attorney general's office seized more than 6 tons of cocaine valued at more than $90 million. On Saturday, the Mexican navy announced it had seized another huge shipment of 10 tons of cocaine.
Since Herran Salvatti took over the special prosecutor's office in 1997, the United States, which considers Mexico to be the main transit point for drugs from Colombia, has put more pressure on Mexican authorities to stop the trafficking.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reiterated Monday its support for Herran Salvatti, praising his work against traffickers.
"He is someone we support very strongly. He is at the forefront of Mexico's fight against illegal drugs," said DEA spokesman Terry Parham.
But many Mexicans fear that the drug war will take a higher toll on Mexico City.
"Probably we are going to have a more confrontational approach, and we are going to have more violence of this kind," Chabat said. "It does suggest we could reach the level of (violence in) Colombia and other countries."
Mexico Bureau Chief Harris Whitbeck and Reuters contributed to this report.
Mexico City shooting fuels anti-crime campaigns
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