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Old 09-17-09, 09:00 PM   #1
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Post Mexico closes drug rehab centers after attacks (AP)

AP - Authorities have closed 10 unregistered drug rehabilitation centers in Ciudad Juarez and say they are going after others they fear may serve as cover or recruiting grounds for drug trafficking gangs in the violence-plagued city across from El Paso, Texas.

Gunmen have slaughtered 28 people this month at two rehab centers in Ciudad Juarez in separate attacks that investigators blame on a bloody struggle between rival drug gangs.

Sergio Belmonte, the spokesman for the Ciudad Juarez mayor's office, says there is evidence traffickers are recruiting members through unregulated rehab centers.

"There are unregistered centers that they (traffickers) set up themselves, they are recruitment centers, because their most faithful soldiers are the addicts," Belmonte said. "They give them drugs, draw them together and recruit them."

Chihuahua state Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza said that while there are legitimate rehab centers, "there are others that have taken advantage of the situation to provide cover, while really doing other things."

Reyes Baeza said irregularities have been discovered in at least 12 other centers, including a lack of permits, and he pledged "we are going to close" them.

Chihuahua state authorities said records showed the center attacked on Tuesday, Anexo de Vida, had not been registered with the government and may have been operating clandestinely. Ten other centers in Ciudad Juarez have been closed for operating illegally, although police would not say whether they may have been run by gangs.

Most of those closures occurred after a Sept. 2 attack that killed 18 people at a drug rehab center, which was not among those closed for being unregistered.

Drug-rehabilitation professionals worried that authorities could exaccerbate the very social problems of addiction they are trying to fight.

"It is dangerous to demonize these centers. ... If these patients are put back on the streets, they are invariably going to return to their old behaviors," said Alonso, an employee of the Ave Fenix recovery center, where neither counselors nor addicts are identified by their last names to avoid the stigma associated with addiction.

"Instead of closing them, the right thing to do would be to train them (the centers) so they can function correctly," Alonso said.

Families have pulled relatives out of rehab centers because of the attacks. At least 41 people have been killed in attacks on Ciudad Juarez rehab clinics in the past year.

Javier, a 22-year-old drug addict, who refused to give his last name for fear of reprisals, has been in and out of rehab trying to cure a drug habit that began with marijuana at 14 and later progressed to cocaine. He is worried about the closures.

"There are rehab centers that really give you help, from the heart," he said in an interview at the city's Amarr clinic.

Authorities have blamed the latest shootings on a rivalry between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels, although investigators have named no suspects.

The battle for both the local drug market and lucrative smuggling routes into the United States have made Ciudad Juarez the most dangerous city in Mexico, with at least 1,647 people killed so far this year.

That turf war, however, has changed since the government sent thousands of army troops and federal police earlier this year to patrol the city, Belmonte said.

Cartel lieutenants who once roamed the city in convoys of flashy SUVs, staging daylight shootouts on main boulevards, are now increasingly forced to take their battles to gritty back streets, in attacks that target lower-level operatives.

That may help explain why attacks on clinics have increased, Belmonte said.

"This is a war that was going between the commanders, the leaders, and that is why they fought it out in the streets and the shopping malls," he said.

"The joint operation has inhibited the battle they were openly fighting ... changing the method of attack," he added. "It is now directed at the base level, the dealers."

In an unrelated attack, four people — including a police officer and a 3-year-old boy — were injured when gunmen open fire on a people leaving an Independence Day parade in San Bartolo Tutotepec, a small town in the central state of Hidalgo, the state Public Safety Department said Thursday.

Police arrested a suspect in Wednesday's shooting but had not established a motive.

Old 09-18-09, 04:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Mexico closes drug rehab centers after attacks (AP)

Don't know what availabilty there may be for repeat broadcast, or U-Tube or Hulu, but Guillermo Arriaga appeared last night on the Charlie Rose show on PBS. He, an award winning screenwriter of such movies as 21 Grams, Amores Peros, Babel, and the Seven Burials of Melchiades Estrada. He basically said that there is just so much money at stake, that only legalizing drugs in the United States would shut down the cartel. When asked if they might just enter other illegitimate businesses, he stated that he did not think so.
Old 09-21-09, 06:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mexico closes drug rehab centers after attacks (AP)

Obviously some would go into other areas of crime but the net effect of dismantling the huge narco network could not help but improve things...

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