Oct 24, 2011

Drug War: The Scorpion and the Frog: A New Phase in Mexico's Drug War

A detailed look at a change in Mexico's military strategy in the drug war, and its possible reflection of changes in the kind of aid provided by the U.S. through the Merida Initiative--providing intelligence support and counter-insurgency training. 

InSight Crime: "The Mexican government has become more effective at hitting high level cartel targets, even while the U.S. has dragged its feet on handing over aid money from the Merida Initiative."

On October 12, Mexico saw its second high-level drug-lord arrest in eight days. And both arrests, on different sides of Mexico, came wrapped in the same snappy, tantalizing language. Official communiques called them "precision operations ... without a shot fired." The wording seemed to boast that as of mid-2011 something in the Mexican drug war had changed. These were not old-style mega-busts.

The new-style arrestee on October 12 is "La Rana," the Frog (Carlos Oliva Castillo), who is said to be the third-highest leader of the Zetas cartel. His "precision" capture, in the northeast Mexican city of Saltillo, came as part of something called Operation Scorpion, whose sting hides a long history. Tracing the shadowy pedigree of Operation Scorpion illumines the drug war as a whole." read more

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