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Funerals held for slain officers

Kathryn Stolarchuk reported this story on Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:48:34

PETER CAVE: In Mexico City funerals have been held for the 12 police who were killed by a violent
drug gang this week. Police have now revealed that threatening notes were found near the bodies of
the officers. And in the country's north, another six people have been killed in the drug war.

Kathryn Stolarchuk has this report.

KATHRYN STOLARCHUK: The arrest of a drug cartel leader has sparked some of the most violent
episodes in Mexico's long-running drug war. Since the weekend, 18 people have been killed - 14 of
them were federal police officers.

Some of them were found dumped alongside a mountain road in the state of Michoacan. Today, funerals
for 12 of the officers were held in Mexico City.

A widow of one of the officers questioned why they were attacked.

WIDOW OF AN OFFICER (translated): If six federal police stations were attacked and even bombed and
the executed policemen were there, why didn't more police come for them? If there were so many
gunmen, why didn't they show up? That was negligence. Only 12 policemen against who knows how many
gunmen.

My husband was a grown up with children. He was 29 years old and enjoying his life.

KATHRYN STOLARCHUK: Police are now saying intimidating notes were found near the officers' dead
bodies. The notes contained threats such as.

EXCERPT FROM NOTE (voiceover): Let's see if you try to arrest another one.

KATHRYN STOLARCHUK: It's believed the officers were targeted as revenge for the capture of drug
boss, Arnoldo Rueda; he's believed to be second in command of the violent cartel, La Familia.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of troops to rein in the cartel turf war. But
since he took office in December 2006, more than 11,000 people have been killed in drug-related
violence.

In the central state of Guanajuato, authorities have arrested four members of La Familia, linked to
recent attacks against policemen there.

The state's Attorney General, Carlos Zamarripa, says two of those captured are directly linked to
the murder of a police commander.

CARLOS ZAMPARRIPA (translated): These arrested people form part of the group which directly
attacked federal police installations and confirmed that two of these four participated directly in
the homicide of Commander Heladio Romero Duran.

KATHRYN STOLARCHUK: And in Monterey the country's north the drug war is continuing.

(Sound of gunshots and commotion)

Six people died in gun battles between police and cartel members. Rival gangs are fighting over
Mexico's $40 billion a year drug trade; that includes cocaine smuggling routes running up from
Central America into the United States.

Authorities in the US are worried the violence will spill over the border and have pledged $1.4
billion in aid to help the Mexican Government combat the cartels.

PETER CAVE: Kathryn Stolarchuk reporting.