Mexican police find car bomb in border city of Juarez; no one hurt in controlled detonation

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mexican police neutralize car bomb in border city

MEXICO CITY — Mexican police carried out the controlled detonation of a car bomb Saturday in the troubled border city of Ciudad Juarez, across from Texas.

A phone tip around midnight led authorities to a dead body in a car in a shopping center parking lot, the federal Public Safety Department said in a statement. In a second car, police found the bomb.

Agents deactivated the device and removed most of the explosive material to analyze it before safely detonating the vehicle, the department said. There were no injuries.

Juarez is the same city where drug traffickers staged the first successful car bombing in Mexico, killing three people in July.

There have been three other vehicle explosions in recent weeks in Ciudad Victoria, capital of the border state of Tamaulipas.

Ciudad, across from El Paso, Texas, has been one of the cities most affected by Mexico’s drug violence. More than 2,100 people have been murdered there so far this year — putting it on pace to surpass its previous high of 2,700, set last year.

Across the country, more than 28,000 people have been killed since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against the cartels soon after taking office.

In the central state of Morelos, police discovered nine bodies in clandestine graves Saturday in the same area where four more were recently found.

The Public Safety Department said in a separate statement that all 13 victims were believed to have been killed on the orders of U.S.-born Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, one of the alleged kingpins fighting for control of Morelos.

Valdez was captured Aug. 30 by federal police.

Late Saturday, federal authorities announced they had arrested two Colombian brothers who they alleged have ties to Valdez and belong to a group responsible for buying cocaine in Colombia and smuggling it to the United States.

The men were identified as Dario Emilio Valencia and Victor Espinosa Valencia. The latter was said to own the ranch on the outskirts of Mexico City where Valdez allegedly hid out before his arrest.

The Public Safety Department said both men are named in a U.S. warrant issued in 2004 in Florida.

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