More than 3,000 Mexican troops arrived during the weekend in Juárez as part of what authorities have described as a frontal assault on crime in the coming weeks.
The new soldiers, which are in addition to the 2,000 already assigned to Joint Operation Chihuahua, were deployed after a meeting last week among high-level Mexican government officials in Juárez.
More troops, including intelligence units, are expected to arrive in the next few days, said Enrique Torres, a spokesman for Joint Operation Chihuahua, which began a year ago in the federal government’s battle against drug cartels and rising crime.
On Sunday, two green army Hercules cargo planes and two Mexican air force transport planes landed in Juárez, bringing 1,200 troops, Torres said. On Saturday, 2,000 soldiers rolled into city streets on convoys of Humvees, army pickups and cargo trucks.
Juárez city officials said that within two weeks the anti-crime patrol force will number 8,000 — including 5,000 soldiers, 1,600 city police and 1,000 federales.
“We need the support of citizens united,” Juárez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, who has received death threats, said in a statement. “This is a fight of Juárez against crime. It is everyone’s fight.”
The violence, which has claimed more than 300 lives this year in the Juárez area, continued during the weekend with at least nine homicides since Friday, including two police officers slain Saturday morning in the town of Praxedis G. Guerrero in the valley east of Juárez.
Chihuahua state investigators said Praxedis officers Luis Fernando Porras Fuentes, 35, and Janeth Mares Lujan, 22, were killed when 117 rounds were fired from assault rifles at their truck.
In another incident, Jose Eduardo Olvera Lastra, 33, reportedly a bouncer, was fatally shot in the parking lot of the Rodeo Discotheque on Avenida Lincoln near the Bridge of the Americas.
In another case, police identified Belen Vega Perez, 39, as the woman shot to death late Friday in the back seat of a black Chevrolet Impala with Texas plates. It was unclear whether Vega was a resident of Texas.
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