Nightly News | August 07, 2011
CARL QUINTANILLA, anchor: It's been an especially bloody week south of the border in Mexico 's deadly war on drugs . Ruthless cartels have stepped up the violence, in one city in particular, ambushing police and leaving everyone to live in constant fear. NBC 's Mark Potter reports tonight on The War Next Door .
MARK POTTER reporting: Just south of the US border, Mexico 's vicious drug war is unrelenting. Authorities say in the small town of Ascension , gunmen working for the ruthless Sinaloa drug cartel kidnapped and killed the police chief and then murdered five of his 31 men. Fearing they could be next, the town's remaining 26 officers turned in their guns and quit, leaving the town unprotected. Within 48 hours of the defections, federal soldiers were deployed to replace the local police and to try to restore order in the town which is located along a major cartel drug smuggling route into the United States . One leading analyst told Telemundo 's Julio Vacqueiro that Mexico 's war against drugs is not being won.
Ms. ANA MARIA SALAZAR (National Defense Analyst): Probably the weakest part of the President Felipe Calderon 's strategy is that he went out after these organizations without having a criminal justice system which could investigate and prosecute them and try them.
POTTER: The government of President Felipe Calderon , under pressure to demonstrate that it is winning the war against the cartels, paraded captured drug lords in front of the cameras last week. One man facing murder charges smiled defiantly. Guns and drugs put on display. This man called El Diego is described as one of the biggest catches of all. He is one of the most wanted men in Mexico , where authorities claim he has now confessed to masterminding 1500 killings in Juarez , Mexico 's murder capital. Despite the high-profile arrests, savage gang violence claimed at least nine new victims this weekend.
Colonel JACK JACOBS, Retired (NBC News Military Analyst): The only thing that will stop them is themselves, I mean, become so viral that they'll kill themselves off. But in the process, many, many, many innocent people will be killed.
POTTER: It's a war that has now claimed 40,000 lives in the last five years . Mark Potter , NBC News, Miami.