April 14th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Government: More than 22,000 dead in Mexico drug war

More than 22,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the nation's narcotrafficking cartels in December 2006, a government report said Tuesday.

The Mexican government does not routinely release the death toll in the drug war. Recent media reports had given an unofficial tally of 18,000 dead.

According to a report made available by Calderon's government to members of the Mexican senate, 22,700 people have died since Calderon took office in December 2006. In addition, the report said, more than 3,000 people were killed this year from January through March. Last year, 9,635 people were killed, the report said.

Interior Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont confirmed the figures at a news conference Tuesday.

- CNN en Espanol's Rey Rodriguez contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Mexico • World
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Dare Daramola

    Govt in Mexico should provide a fallback if its taking people off their 'job'. The UN should also be proactive b4 this 'war' gets out of control if its really keen about Peace. What about those innocent children and women, the armless men?

    April 15, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. gerardo

    I live in baja and the reality is that the cartels in mexico own and feed the government and the police, the corruption here is amazing, and the kills will continue because everything in this country is corruption drugs money power. And the war cant be won figthing against some little cartels, the war will end when we clean all the politicals in mexico and that will never happend like a saying they have us thight from our b you know what I mean

    April 15, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    The reason things got so out of hand here in Mexico isn't drugs. It's the total corruption at all levels that permitted drugs, organized crime, prostitution, piracy, theft of public funds and all other criminal activities. Everyone and I do mean everyone, is looking for the crooked money,

    To top it off, no one is really interested in correcting anything, since the complete mess makes it easier to steal. Instead of all political parties working together to correct the country's problems, they only work for themselves, promoting thier political party so they can reach the presidency and steal MORE. All they do is heavily critize each other.

    What can you expect from a country that only fights itself constantly? We even have a nut case here claiming he's the TRUE president, not Calderon.

    The people, and the country is the furthest thing from politicians mind. Thier party and how much they can rip off is the only thing they care about. This place deserves to blow up.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Starlordmoz

    I am not Mexican and I am not American. I am just another person living in this world. You know, people nowdays are not willing to make sacrifices for a better day. From reading previous comment its seems that Drug is the solution for Mexico. Remember that drug dealers feel no remorse in killing people and one of the things they do is killing so the government can back of. If the numbers rises to 100.000, so be it but we must start to fight off against drugs dealers in all world even if that means sacrifices. The society in which we all live today was made by the blood and sacrifices of our ancestors, why shouldn't we fight for a better places to our future generation? We need cold men, men of war on the front to lead the fight against drug dealers otherwise they will kill us and we will back off and they win. I now how hard it is but I congratulate Mexico government to endure such hard decision.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sacmike

    I just got back from Mexico. Visited Vallarta, Guanajuato and Guadalajara. Visited sites and friends. Traveled by bus, ETN bus lines. I grew up in Mexico, American born who parents retired there. I am a retired cop. People we have more murders here in the good ol USA. More per capita than Mexico. We are the biggest consumers of drugs in the world. Just the week we had a hit in broad day light on Howe Ave here in Sacramento. 2 killed. 7 shot within 24 hours. Oakland has 4 killed within hours. Oh, but that's not Mexico. Americans are pathetic. Stay away from Mexico if you don't like it. Hope you don't get shot here at the mall, in class or have a jet crash into the building your in.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tom Cservenak

    So they are many reasons why things are the way they are in Mexico but nobody has yet said a major source of the violence. Prohibition. It didn't work for Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Newt Gingrich when they were young and it does not work for the rest of America either. All of them used illegal drugs at some point and frequency, and they only ascended to political power by NOT GETTING CAUGHT. This is not an acceptable policy to live when it is blatantly flaunted by our current leaders. Michelle Obama is Mexico, but no one will make her answer for her husband's youthful indulgences, the very same indulgences that create the demand, the market.

    During Prohibition, gangsters were not killing each other because they were drunk on the alcohol but because of the UNREGULATED profit that was available.

    IX Evilheart: You are right. If people stop taking drugs this war will stop. But if you take a drink of alcohol then you lose your credibility. In the 1930s you would have been contributing to the mafia violence and bombing across the country.

    Acatruth: I disagree. This violence has a lot to do with US policy (though not everything). NAFTA opened the flood gates for American corporations to exploit cheap labor here in Mexico and to exploit the land from those who used to subsist off it. Also the freer trade barrier made drug smuggling a rule of numbers. Chances are most of drug cartel's load will reach the streets of US. The USA depends on informants who in between tipping off the DEA to the next big shipment of drugs coming our way are also violently torturing and murdering people so that they can fit in with the gangs. These are our collaborators working with the USA to bust the "bad guys." However, Acatruth, I totally agree with the Catholic Church criticism.

    April 15, 2010 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. auchmoni

    the thing is drug cannot be stopped in mexico.bcos dat is the easiest way of makin money to everybody including government officials.

    April 15, 2010 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. prinze

    This is a higher death toll than American soldiers in Iraq.

    April 15, 2010 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. 2010yearoffails

    I live in Tamaulipas, i have lived there all mi life, and I can tell you that this city has turned into a sad and place to live, five moths before wasn't this way , i'll give you a summary of how things are, The drug trafficking its getting worse, there is psychosis everywhere, too many rumors, the sound of shootings, soldiers around the city, classes at school canceled by the same reasons, the local news are threatened by the cartel to dont do reports of them, in my opinion the state has fallen into failure, this just proves that violence only brings more violence.

    April 15, 2010 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Allen

    What people don't seem to understand about these drug cartels, and even criminal organizations to begin with, is that even they serve a purpose to society. What almost instantly comes to mind about crime is that it's instantly "evil" or bad for the entire population – and it is, no doubt, to a certain extent. However, when the State can not provide for its citizens in a sufficient way, then organizations like the Drug Cartels (or in the US, for example, the Mafia) spring up to add as a social buffer. Often, criminal organizations can amass a large amount of money, but unlike traditional banks, they do not horde the money or make it impossible to access. Studies on criminal organizations have shown that they are more likely to redistribute the wealth amongst the community which serves two unique functions: 1.) to create loyalty amongst the local population and 2.) establish a foothold in the community, whether through traditional means (elections) or through intimidation (ie, a crime lord). Furthermore, they act as "banks" for the poor or lower class by providing the capitol they need to, say, start a business, and in return, the cartels receive a small cut of the profits (ie protection money). In other words, these outlying crime rings aren't necessarily evil or should be eliminated "just because" since they provide an essential social service that would not normally exist; however, there's no doubt about the scale of damage they cause to society as well. It's a double edged sword. As long as the State cannot provide for it's poor, then criminal organizations will.

    April 15, 2010 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Virginia del Oeste

    I think one must focus on what generates this violence. i not only do not think is culturally originated, im absolutely sure it is not. This is a matter which origin is simply one and only one factor, profit. Unlike Colombia's cartels, the ones in Mexico use abolutely no political or ideological arguments to justify its violent response, The cartels in Mexico have been empowered by policies that now try to solve the situation by adding more Hummers loaded with Machine guns on the bordering regions. Foreign and Domestic policy need to be reviewed on both Mexico and the U.S. if anything wants to be acomplished when trying to stop a violent threat that will only get bigger as drug-traffickin remains a very profitable business

    April 15, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rica

    its so sad how mexico has gotten so dangerous now, my family is from tierra caliente. we go every year in december , but hearing of all these killings.. i dnt think its gnna be the sme anymore. i guess we'll have to chnge family plans b/c of this. my uncle jst got killed recently b/c they wnted to rob him. ..when you go, its like you dont think of all the bad things going on, but when you come bk to the US , you hear abt all this killings and ur like "whoa i was jst there" ... i jst hope this ends fast!!!

    April 15, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. CsGarza

    Calderon should resign.

    April 15, 2010 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. mstonja

    This is so ignorant! Why would you commit genicide on your own people for the sake of money? Your greed and evil ways is destroying your country! You greedy killers should all be put to death for what you have done to the innocent people of Mexico.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dylan

    It would be nice to see the Mexican government step up its game by sending in more people to beat down the cartels!!! why is it the count keeps goin up and the mexican government is just sitting there not letting the military do there jobs!?! I honestly think the U.S. needs to start sending trained officers in to teach the mexican government on how to handle terrorist like the cartels, or even send in Military units to end the violence in Mexico. I hear enough about death from Iraq and now just below the U.S. there is more Terrorism and this time it is too close for comfort. I don't want my kids or anyone elses to end up dead while visiting Mexico just because of a drug war that should have ended a long time ago!!!
    I realize its not the USA's war but its close to home and that concerns most Americans to the point wanting to do something about the drug war in Mexico.

    April 15, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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