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Old 09-15-09, 02:10 PM   #1
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Post 16 killed in Mexico drug violence (AFP)

TIJUANA, Mexico (AFP) – Mexico's drug war has claimed another 16 lives, including those of six people whose bodies were pulled from a burning vehicle in the flashpoint city of Tijuana, officials said Tuesday.

Firefighters were called late Monday to put out a recent-model sport utility vehicle (SUV) that was engulfed in flames in the northern border city which is a key transit point for smuggling drugs into the United States.

"When we put out the flames we realized that there were six bodies inside," head firefighter Rafael Carillo told AFP, adding that four were piled up in the front seats and two more were in the trunk.

Tijuana, in far northwestern Mexico bordering the US state of California, is the second most violent Mexican city with more than 400 murders reported in 2009, according to government figures.

It is only surpassed by Ciudad Juarez, another key drug transit point across the border from El Paso, Texas, where more than 1,200 people have been reported killed this year.

Another seven people perished there overnight in execution-style killings, including four members of a family killed by hitmen in a hardware store, state of Chihuahua officials said.

Some 8,500 soldiers have been deployed in Ciudad Juarez to try to put the brakes on a war between rival drug cartels over control of the lucrative smuggling routes and the local market in the city of 1.4 million.

Three other men were executed in other locations in Chihuahua, the state prosecutor's office said.

The Mexican government has deployed nearly 49,000 soldiers across the country in an attempt to crack down on the drug cartels, blamed for almost 10,000 murders since 2008.


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