MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — In cities and towns across Mexico, a nearly six-year offensive against drug cartels has been accompanied by a surge in common crime: assaults and robberies that grab no headlines but make life miserable for ordinary citizens.
Some experts blame the drug war for distracting law-enforcement from pursuing common criminals. Others say drug cartels have turned to common crime to fund their clashes with each other, and with troops and federal police.
Some of the first effects were felt in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state where Mexico launched its war on drugs.
The clashes began when a local traffickers who had worked with the Gulf cartel became disenchanted with that cartel's brutal enforcement wing, the Zetas, and formed their own gang with the avowed intention of keeping the Zetas out.