Introduction by Mario González-Román

No favor was done to Mexico when terrorists crashed two American Airlines planes into New York’s World Trade Center in the incident known simply as 9/11. As never before in history, the United States reinforced its internal security, reducing (to a certain degree) the flow of drugs that are in demand from a society with the largest drug addiction problem in the world. As a consequence, drugs originally destined for the U. S. and Canada can now be found circulating within the Mexican Republic, especially in the territory that borders with the U. S., including Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and other traditional crossing points.

Origin of Current Wave of Violence in Mexico 

On both sides of the border, we have had seen bilateral governmental cooperation grow both during President Vicente Fox's administration and especially so since President Felipe Calderón took office on 2nd December 2006. This combined action has led to the arrests of drug lord barons who are now behind bars in Mexico, creating intensified fighting over control of this illicit market. This is the origin of the current wave of violence that is plaguing us, especially in those states that border with the US and in other drug producing Mexican states such as Sinaloa, Michoacán and Veracruz.

Mexico, Second Most Dangerous Country for Reporters after Iraq

According to Reporters without Borders 2007 Mexico Annual Report, with nine journalists murdered and three missing, the country has the worst record in the Americas in 2006 and was second only to Iraq for the number killed, despite the establishment in February of a special federal court to punish physical attacks on the media. Murders of local newspaper reporters in all these areas have become routine. According to several media sources, up to March 2006 some twenty reporters have been killed during the  last six years.

Drug War and Spring Breakers

Traditional international tourist destinations such as Cancún and Acapulco have become the center of horrible blood baths during the last few months, as never seen before. This was a symbolic preamble to the visit of more than 100,000 Spring Breakers coming from every corner of the U. S. and Canada. Many of these, young adults – who consume drugs during their visit- party, drink in excess and engage in rowdy behavior. Hundreds will end up in Mexican jails, keeping their Consular Agencies busy. The problem is so evident that this is the warning to these young men and women – ISSUED BY THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, OFFICIALLY- before they make a “mistake” and end up in serious legal trouble

SPRING BREAK IN MEXICO – “Know Before You Go!”  
However, despite all this horrible violence that has invaded Mexico recently, this link will allow you to access and assess what was reported in 2004 in the United States with regards to Public Safety and
Violent Crime: 16,137  murders in a country with a population of 290,788,976. We wonder what their current trend is. If readers have more recent, reliable statistics, these would be welcome in Security Corner.

 Travel Warnings  - Mexico, February 23, 2007

In summary, standards of security, safety and supervision may not reach those expected in the United States.  This has contributed to deaths of U.S. citizens in automobile accidents, after falls from balconies or into open ditches, by drowning in the ocean as well as in hotel pools, and in water-sports mishaps, among others. Large metropolitan areas in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara have seen an increase of violence in the streets. U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza has in the past issued Travel Warnings -- an example soon followed by the British and Canadian Embassies in Mexico – and temporarily closed the Consulate in Nuevo Laredo to get the attention of the Mexican Government ofthis which is escalating to historic levels: increased violence in the border areas including kidnappings, assassinations and other criminal activity. In this issue, we’ll discuss a very sensitive topic: Drugs, Alcohol and Violence in schools. We’ll begin by taking a look at the current situation in the United States, based on what we found from several reliable informative sources.  


The Latest: During the early morning hours of April 16, 2007 a gunman went on a rampage on the Virginia Tech campus. By the time he was done, more than 30 students and faculty members were dead. Complete coverage, by CNN.

Fifth girl dies after Amish school shooting, Lancaster County, Penn. 10/3/06 by CNN 


  • September 29, 2006: Weston High School, Cazenovia, Wisconsin: 15 year old boy shot his principal
  • September 27, 2006: Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado –not far from Columbine High School- 6 female students held hostage, 1 girl shot to death
  • September 13, 2006: Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec, man opened fire, killed one person, leaving 20 injured
  • November 8, 2005: Campbell County Comprehensive High School, Jacksboro, Tennessee, 15 year old boy shot his principal, two assistants (killed one).
  • March 21, 2005: Red Lake Senior High School, Red Lake, Minnesota, 16 yr. old boy killed his father, girlfriend and 5 students
  • September 24, 2003: Rocori High School, Cold Spring, Minnesota, 15 yr. old killed 17 year old + a second student
  • April 24, 2003: Red Lion Area Junior High School, Red Lion, Pennsylvania, 14 yr. old shot his principal.

IN ADDITION: New Charges for Father of Boy Involved in Day-Care Shooting by Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, April 15, 2006; Page B07: The Montgomery County man whose son shot an 8-year-old girl at a day-care center is facing new charges for allegedly stabbing and striking the boy's mother in her apartment building hallway. 

    • Teenage gunman killed nine in Minnesota
    • April 1999: Two teenagers shoot dead 12 pupils and a teacher, then kill themselves at Columbine School, Colorado
    • May 1998: Fifteen-year-old shoots dead two pupils in a school cafeteria in Oregon
    • March 1998: Two boys, aged 11 and 13, kill four girls and a teacher in Arkansas
  • October 1997: Teenager stabs mother, then shoots dead two pupils at a school in Mississippi 
    Here to read a study by CNN on School Violence in the United States. 
    On September 2, 2000, US Attorney General Janet Reno said “Youth violence has been one of the greatest single crime problems we face in this country.”
    FBI’s Assessment on School Violence.  

Teenager Injured, 3 & 7 yr. old sister & brother stabbed to death in Monterrey

On March 5, 2006 Mexico was shocked by news  from Monterrey   that a 21 year old State of Nuevo Leon Autonomous University student named Diego Santoy, while drugged, had seriously injured his 18 year old girlfriend after stabbing to death her 3 and 7 year old siblings. Tere Coss, well-known in Monterrey TV and media circles is Diego’s mother. He was arrested in a road block in the State of Oaxaca, as he was fleeing, en route to Central America.

Relevant Sites About the Situation in Mexico 
Alcohol Awareness Program for parents:
American School Foundation in Guadalajara 
State Department  -
US Consulate, Tijuana: .. “Worldwide, MEXICO has the largest number of arrests of U. S. citizens abroad and the largest U. S. prisoner population outside the United States”. Specifically, Mexico's criminal justice system, A guide for U.S. Citizens arrested in Mexico. Refer to INTRODUCTION. 

American citizens are warned about the risks that they take as tourists in Tijuana, which may  land them in jail if local laws are not respected.  

Three specific WARNINGS are made that- in my opinion-  are important:  

  1. Whoever facilitates, induces, causes or forces a minor or disabled person to be filmed, videotaped or photographed committing lewd or sexual acts.
  2. It is illegal and prohibited to possess, buy, consume, traffic, or sell street drugs. There is no legal right, as in some places in the United States, to possess a small quantity of street drugs for so-called “personal use.” In Mexico, to possess any quantity of a street drug is a crime.
  3. Under no circumstances should you buy or pay for a prescription that is not part of treatment from a licensed physician. If you and the doctor or pharmacist were to become involve in this type of activity or business, you would all be committing a serious federal crime.


Emphasis is made that in Mexico carrying firearms is forbidden. Tijuana City District Attorney forms in English are supplied online  to facilitate investigations, especially if these involve acts of corruption by Mexican police officers. Lists of attorneys are provided, information on procedures to follow in case an American is arrested. A message by San Diego Mayor –Tijuana’s sister city- is also included wherein he urges all citizens to become aware of these warnings BEFORE they cross the border.

Additional Tijuana information, school tips.Relevant: The manufacturing facilities have given rise to the growth of impoverished settlements near the border and on the outskirts of the city. Visitors should avoid the shantytowns. Do not linger at border crossings. Drug trafficking and related violence plagues Tijuana; travelers should be aware of their surroundings at all times

Mexico City Private School Officials’ Attitude 

My own impression of most private schools – as in most businesses - is that they want to spend as little money as possible on security and crime prevention. I have personally given free seminars because school owners and principals did not want to invest any money in what would not only benefit their staff, but also enhance their knowledge of a problem that affects the health and safety of the most precious part of any family: their kids. A recent experience demonstrated that I could walk into the campus of any exclusive (meaning expensive) private academic institution, with a concealed firearm, in the presence of bodyguards and poorly trained guards, without any complication. Their inefficiency in preventing kidnappings and other similar safety problems became more than evident. School directives won’t learn the lesson given in 9/11, 3/11 and other similar experiences in Asia and around the planet, until problems occur. Sad to say, but so true. 

Mexico City, Fighting a New Problem  

Unlike never before, in last year's Presidential Elections, we saw the most horrible finger-pointing as to who is to blame for the current levels of violence that are plaguing Mexico. We all should look north of the Mexican border to find blame for our new ailment: violence. President Calderón concluded during the most recent Mexico-U. S. Presidential meeting held in Merida in the Yucatan peninsula that this struggle requires the collaboration and active participation of Mexico’s neighbors, because unless the US and Canada reduce the demand for drugs on their territory, it will be extremely difficult to reduce supply in this country." On the other hand, the world has seen a vigorous, firm, decisive, brave response by the new administration's Law Enforcement Community to Fight the Drug War in the entire Mexican Republic by both police and military forces, led by President Felipe Calderón. The same resolute action has been more than evident conducted by Mexico City´s Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. Please refer to daily NEWS BRIEF for your own assessment.  Results remain to be seen. Sadly, low-scale drug sales, better known as “Narcomenudeo” are becoming the norm as an optional form of illegal employment, at  national level. The federal and Mexico City governments have joined forces to work together in the fight against crime, a monumental task. They do what they can with their limited experience and financial resources given the size of Mexico City, with its 20 plus million inhabitants. 

Poor Areas are the MOST Affected 

 Unfortunately, because of this problem that has caught Mexico and its society so unexpectedly, without any previous warning, the areas that suffer the problems of school violence and drug consumption the most are those in the poorest areas. This column gives credit to all information found in credible, prestigious channels of communication. I have found most articles that El Grafico newspaper –published in Mexico City- carries to be serious and well documented. It only costs you $ 3 pesos. Reporters Monica Archundia and Rafael Cabrera on January 5, 2005 jointly published an article that called “Crime Seduces Students.” In it, they describe what is going on in crime-ridden areas such as Tepito and Morelos. They blame poverty which promotes drug use and the violence that results from it. A student describes his addiction to drugs and how he used to threaten professors at gun-point if they gave him any trouble. Many of these young criminals –under the influence of drugs- are the ones who perpetrate the most violent acts on Mexico City streets, armed and desperate for quick money. 
The PTA Board of Antonio Ballesteros junior high school – in the Nonoalco/Tlatelolco area - issued an internal regulation: None of the following articles are permitted on campus: sprays of any kind, especially paint (to prevent graffiti), box cutters, cellular phones, make up, funky hairdos, miniskirts, tattoos, purse mirrors, paint thinners, nail polish or body piercing. All school authorities must have constant, permanent, joint operations to react to this new challenge. Attention must be given to this growing problem NOW, not when it becomes incontrollable. The
Mochila Segura (Safe Backpack) Program by the Mexico City Police Department is a nice effort but it lacks enough human resources and infrastructure to make it work. In my view, this is a serious problem that the new President will have to deal with: Increasing Violence in Mexican Schools. Our new leader will also have to select as members of his Cabinet people with EXPERIENCE in their areas of responsibility, not just political allies or buddies as is the case of today and in the past. In closing, a useful 4-page guide for parents on Commonly Abused Drugs, prepared by NIDA, NIS, DHHS in coordination with the U. S Drug Enforcement Administration. 

In addition, this is an excerpt of Testimony provided on April 20, 2005 by Stephen Johnson, Senior Policy Analyst for Latin America, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis, Institute for International Studiesto the U. S. House of Representatives on the issue of Youth Gangs: “the disproportionate growth and violence of gangs is now a major concern of law-abiding citizens. Gangs that flourished in Los Angeles during the 1960s now have fraternal links to some 130,000 to 300,000 members in Mexico and Central America and have expanded across the United States to both major cities and rural communities in the eastern seaboard. Authorities have estimated that the number of cities reporting gangs went from 270 in 1970 to more than 2,500 in 1998, an increase of about 800 percent In 2002, the National Youth Gang Survey (NYGS) estimated that there were 21,500 gangs and 731,500 active gang members in the United States, 85 percent of whom reside in large cities. However, gangs are present in rural areas as well—27 percent of municipalities between 2,500 and 49,999 people now have had trouble with gangs. Most of the trouble starts with unstable neighborhoods. Broken homes, violent role models, and access to drugs feed gang growth..” More, here

In closing, if the contents of this article were useful, please tell your friends about the Security Corner monthly help column, and help us make the world just a little safer for everyone.

 ABOUT Security Corner: Legal Notice is found in Featured Articles page. This monthly column is the result of intensive research by Mr. Mario González-Román to serve as support to the International Community. We do not pursue commercial or political interests. If a product or service is mentioned it is because we believe it is in your own benefit. In some cases, per our request, official information was received from the Mexican Government. Contributions include those coming from non-profit private organizations and individuals volunteering to the usefulness of the objective of each article. In others, information was acquired by navigating in the Internet, by personal interviews or other channels. In each case, credit is given to information sources. While this information is for public use, it would be appreciated that when you reproduce or share its contents, that you include the name of its author and a link to Security Corner. All suggestions are welcome. If we made a mistake, we’ll be happy to correct it. English is not my native language. Readers have been extremely useful in the past: Welcome to edit articles. THIS IS TRULY A JOINT COLLABORATIVE EFFORT. Thanks to your input, messages we are be able to determine what topics interest our audience the most. Mr. González-Román is a retired FSN employee from the Embassy of the United States of America, where he worked per prior consent by Mexican Congress as evidenced in Federal Official Diary no. 16, dated September 23, 1981. Please become familiar with his Biography.

Important Notice: Should you report a crime, neither Solutions Abroad nor myself are able to take any legal, otherwise official liability or become personally involved in any case. We only intend to serve as a possible bridge of communication between foreign visitors requiring assistance and the officers charged with responsibility to provide it. We reserve the right to publish only selected materials that meet our criteria of objectivity for the benefit of the community. Should you require professional and private advice, feel free to write to me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Copyright © All rights reserved

Additional information: Terms of Use, Privacy Policy