The Cost of Mexico’s Drug War

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Last year was the bloodiest year on record since Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, took office four years ago. 

In a press conference on Wednesday, administration officials announced the release of an official government database which catalogs all drug-related killings at both the state and municipal levels from December 2006 to December 2010. Out of the 34,162 deaths listed, 15,273 (nearly 45 percent of the total) occurred in 2010 alone. This graphic, compiled by Mexican daily El Universal, breaks down the year’s deaths by state.

Of 2010’s drug-related homicides, 7,451 of them occurred in Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. While Chihuahua and Sinaloa are perennial battlegrounds for the cartels, the level of violence in Tamaulipas is a relatively new development. Along with Nuevo Leon, the eastern border state registered its highest homicide rate in history, mostly due to fighting between the Gulf Cartel and Zetas criminal gang, the former enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, which began in early 2010 after Gulf members assassinated a Zeta leader.

The map also lists the states with the most drug-related murders over the past year, along with their totals:

States with the most drug-related murders 2006 – 2010:
1. Chihuahua (10,135)
2. Sinaloa (4,387)
3. Guererro (2,739)
4. Baja California (2,019)
5. Michoacan (1,751)
6. Mexico State (1,538)
7. Tamaulipas (1,475)
8. Sonora (1,258)
9. Jalisco (1,074)
10. Durango (834)

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