"...Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana cartels have joined forces to exterminate the Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters that used to work as killers-for-hire for the Gulf mob but which started intruding on the turf of other cartels, provoking a surge in gangland mayhem.
"Violence escalated last month in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas and the wave of killings has spread to neighboring Nuevo Leon and is now expected to affect Coahuila, all three in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
"Thus far this week, police stations in the Nuevo Leon towns of San Nicolas, Escobedo, Guadalupe, Santiago and Cadereyta have been targeted in grenade attacks.
"Drug-related violence has claimed more than 17,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the powerful, well-armed cartels.
"More than 1,400 people have died in Mexico's drug war so far this year...."Â Â Â Â