MEXICO CITY – Mexico was home to 1,400 drug-related deaths in April, marking the highest number of monthly slayings recorded in the country.
The previous record for killings in a month was 1,322 in August of last year, according to the Mexican daily Milenio.
The majority of the slayings occurred in the northern part of the country, where drug cartels are waging a violent turf war for control of the area’s narcotics trade and its lucrative smuggling routes.
The death toll includes 450 bodies discovered in mass graves nationwide. Officials said the majority of the dead were migrants, including some from other countries.
Attorney General Arturo Chávez said gangs and drug cartels were responsible for the deaths of 15,000 in 2010, making it one of the deadliest years in the nation’s history.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who deployed 50,000 troops to areas known for their narcotics-related activities more than four years ago, recently announced he’s planning to send four more battalions to the northeastern area of the country in an attempt to curtail narcotics trafficking.
Argentina: 1.3 metric tons of marijuana seized
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentine security forces arrested five alleged narco-traffickers from three South American countries for their suspected involvement in an international narcotics smuggling ring that was transporting marijuana from Paraguay into Argentina, authorities said.
Two Argentines, two Paraguayans and a Bolivian national were arrested on April 28 during raids in the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires, according to the Argentine daily El Comercial.
The suspects allegedly were caught transporting 625 kilograms (1,375 pounds) of marijuana and 2.5 million pesos (US$612,895) in a van traveling from Paraguay, according to InfoBAE.com.
Law enforcement agents also confiscated 1.3 metric tons of marijuana during the series of raids of homes thought to be distribution centers for the narcotics ring.
Mexico: Benjamín Arellano Félix extradited to the United States
MEXICO CITY – Benjamín Arellano Félix, a once powerful Mexican drug lord, was extradited to the United States on April 29 to face charges of trafficking cocaine into California in the 1990s.
Arellano Félix led the Tijuana cartel, which operated a massive drug smuggling operation near San Diego, California, throughout the 1990s.
Arellano Félix, who was apprehended in Mexico nine years ago, had been convicted on organized crime charges in Mexico before he was extradited to the United States, according to Reuters.
Arellano Félix was set to be extradited to the U.S. in 2008, but a Mexican judge blocked the move. He was turned over to U.S. agents outside Mexico City on April 29, according to Reuters.
Argentina: Police seize 130 kilograms of marijuana
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentine police seized 130 kilograms (286 pounds) of marijuana in the rural town of Ramada Paso in northeastern Argentina, news agencies reported on May 1.
Police, acting on tips from local residents, discovered about 90 loaves of marijuana in burlap sacks in a desolated forest area that appeared to have been abandoned by narcotics traffickers, according to the Argentine daily El Litoral.
Dominican Republic: Agents seize 28 packages of cocaine
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The Dominican Republic’s Northern Division of the National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD) seized 28 packages of cocaine from a container aboard a boat that had arrived from Colombia, agents said on April 30.
Col. Ramón Rodríguez Veras of the DNCD said that agents inspected a container that had arrived from Bogotá, Colombia. Agents found the cocaine wrapped in tape inside a locked container, according to the Dominican daily Hoy.
The packages were sent to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences to be weighed and tested. The DNCD has launched an investigation into finding those responsible for the shipment, according to the Almomento news agency.