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Gunmen storm Mexican rehab center, kill 13

Associated Press / October 26, 2010

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TIJUANA, Mexico — Armed men burst into a drug rehab center in the border city of Tijuana, killing 13 people at a time when officials had been celebrating a seeming drop in drug gang terror.

A witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Jesus, for fear of reprisals, said he had stepped out for something to eat when the attacked occurred late Sunday.

When he returned, his fellow clients told him the attackers made the addicts lie on the floor, then sprayed them with bullets, killing 13. Other clients sleeping upstairs in the center also survived. There are normally about 45 clients at the center.

It was the second massacre of the weekend in Mexico: 14 people were killed Friday night when gunmen stormed a birthday party in another border city, Ciudad Juarez.

The attack on the privately run Tijuana facility is the first such mass killing at a rehab center in the city, which has been praised for its antigang efforts.

Several such attacks have killed dozens of recovering addicts in Ciudad Juarez.

Two weeks ago, President Felipe Calderón touted Tijuana as a success story in his nearly four-year-old drug war, noting during a festival to promote the city’s industries that homicides were down from a peak in 2008.

Since his visit, drug gangs have resumed gruesome tactics not seen for months, beheading rivals and hanging bodies from bridges.

Some residents have expressed fear that the cartels are deliberately intensifying the violence to undermine Calderón’s message.

In Ciudad Juarez, prosecutors’ spokesman Arturo Sandoval said three municipal police officers were found shot to death outside their patrol vehicle Sunday. And in the southern Pacific Coast state of Guerrero that same day, state police found the bound, executed bodies of six men on a highway outside the resort city of Acapulco.

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