Americas

Mexico's long-running drug war

Updated 7:00 PM ET, Fri January 13, 2012
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A skull of someone thought to be a victim of drug violence lies on the ground in Ciudad Juarez in early 2010. The border city of Juarez has been racked by violent drug-related crime, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico's war on drugs. According to figures released on January 11 by the Mexican government, 12,903 people were killed in drug-related violence in the first nine months of 2011. Getty Images
Mexican Federal Police stand guard over 105 tons of marijuana seized in Tijuana, Mexico, in October 2010. Smuggling remains a booming business. For example, south of the border it costs $2,000 to produce a kilo of cocaine from leaf to lab, according to the DEA. In America, a kilo's street value is significantly higher. AFP/Getty Images
The cartels arm themselves heavily. Here, Mexican Federal Police display a large cache of high-powered weapons, grenades, ammunition and 2 kilos of cocaine, all seized from the Zetas cartel in October 2010. AFP/Getty Images
Mexican army soldiers display $15 million U.S. on November 22, 2011, in Mexico City. The money was seized from alleged members of the Guzman Loera drug cartel during a raid in the border town of Tijuana, Mexico. AFP/Getty Images
Two bodies hang from a bridge in Mexico in September 2011. Some cartels have developed reputations for sickening brutality -- seeming to kill for pleasure, just because they can. Raul Llamas/CNN
The Zetas cartel was blamed for setting fire to the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico, in August 2011. That attack killed 52 people. AFP/Getty Images
American-born Edgar Valdez Villareal, or 'La Barbie,' of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, was arrested in August 2010 in Mexico, and smiled as he was paraded in front of the press. AFP/Getty Images
Joaquin Guzman, or "El Chapo" (Shorty), is the boss of the Sinaloa cartel. In this last-known photo taken outside a Juarez prison in 1993, the 5 foot 6 inch son of a poor family wears a schoolboy haircut and a disheveled puff-coat. He has eluded capture for more than a decade. AFP/Getty Images
After his election in 2006, President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels, sending the military out across the country and fired hundreds of corrupt police officers. Calderon's administration trumpets its successes, but the president is a lame duck. Term limits prohibit him from running again in 2012. AFP/Getty Images