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Mexican Gunmen Kill 10 Police as 28 Die in Jail Riot

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican gunmen killed 10 police officers and injured several more in Michoacan state while 28 prisoners were killed in a jail in Sinaloa state.

Federal police forces are conducting ground and air searches for the perpetrators of the attack on the officers in the city of Zitacuaro, the Public Security Ministry said in a statement. The police were traveling from Michoacan state toward Mexico City when their convoy was ambushed, it said.

Hours after that incident, 28 inmates were killed in a prison riot in the city of Mazatlan, said Martin Gastelum, spokesman for the attorney general’s office in Sinaloa state. Two police officers were wounded, he said.

Violence in the region is reaching new highs, causing residents of cities such as Ciudad Juarez, which borders El Paso, to abandon their homes and their cities, said Tony Payan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. About 25 percent of homes in Ciudad Juarez are abandoned, Payan said today in a telephone interview.

“This is on pace to be the most violent month in the Calderon administration,” said Payan, who also teaches at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez. “This is one of the bloodiest periods in Mexican history.”

Execution-Style

On June 11, Mexican officials found 20 people shot dead in Ciudad Madero in Tamaulipas state, and criminals killed 19 people on June 9 in an execution-style attack at a drug rehabilitation center in the northern state of Chihuahua.

Still, most of Mexico’s violence is concentrated in border regions such as Ciudad Juarez and Tamaulipas state, which also borders Texas, Payan said. As many as 90 percent of the victims are “closely tied” to the illegal drug trade, he added.

“Public perception is principally focused on the body count -- that people are being killed right and left,” Payan said. “Most of the violence continues to be tied to the drug business.”

More than 22,000 people have been killed in Mexico in violence related to organized crime since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006, according to the U.S. State Department. Michoacan, a state in central Mexico west of the capital, is the home base for the La Familia drug gang and was the site of a grenade attack that killed eight people during an Independence Day celebration in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jens Erik Gould in Mexico City at jgould9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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