MEXICO CITY — Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez said Thursday that 30,196 people have been killed in drug-related violence nationwide since President Felipe Calderon took office four years ago.
The number of deaths from January to November this year was 12,456, Chavez said in Mexico City. This year's toll is the highest since Calderon took office, showing that violence is increasing instead of waning.
Calderon sent military troops to quell violence mostly in northern states and the western state of Michoacan shortly after taking office. While Calderon's stance against drug traffickers has won praise from U.S. officials, the strategy has caused infighting within crime groups and between drug cartels.
In the border states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, a dispute between the Gulf Cartel and a former allied group known as the Zetas has sparked shootouts in the streets of Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest metropolitan area, and the abandonment of small Mexican cities near the Texas border, such as Mier. A feud between the Sinaloa cartel and the Juarez cartel has made Ciudad Juarez the deadliest large city in Mexico.
Calderon, whose term ends in December 2012, has vowed to continue to target organized crime. The government has highlighted the capture of drug kingpins and hit men, including Edgar Valdez and Sergio Villarreal, and the deaths of Arturo Beltran and Ezequiel Cardenas in the last year.
Last week, Nazario Moreno, a leader of Mexico's La Familia drug cartel, was killed by authorities in Michoacan, according to Alejandro Poire, a government security spokesman. Moreno's body hasn't been recovered.