July 10, 2011 in Nation/World

Mexico bar attack leaves 20 dead

Ken Ellingwood Los Angeles Times

MEXICO CITY – Gunmen targeting a rival drug cartel opened fire in a crowded bar in the northern city of Monterrey, killing at least 20 people and wounding several, authorities said Saturday.

The attack occurred late Friday in the Sabino Gordo bar in downtown Monterrey, a prosperous and once-orderly industrial hub that has been buffeted by more than a year of fighting between the Zetas, known as the country’s most violent drug gang, and the Gulf cartel.

Authorities said most of the dead – four of them women – were bar employees.

The attack may have stemmed from a dispute over narcotics sales at the bar, officials said.

“The most probable line that we’re following is that it was a direct attack against the establishment, rather than against the people who were enjoying themselves there,” said Jorge Domene, security spokesman for Nuevo Leon state.

Monterrey, Mexico’s richest city, was once known as a peaceful if uninspiring factory town. But the drug violence has turned it into something more like a Wild West outpost, with gunbattles in the streets, brazen kidnappings and frequent slayings of police officers in outlying communities.

Some have expressed worry that if Monterrey is lost to violence, so is all of Mexico.

The latest carnage wasn’t limited to Monterrey. In the northern state of Coahuila, next door to Nuevo Leon, the decapitated bodies of seven men and three women were found around the city of Torreon. The killings were attributed to clashes between the Zetas and traffickers based to the west, in the state of Sinaloa.

Also, 11 bodies turned up in Valle de Chalco, in the central state of Mexico, outside Mexico City, in an attack believed linked to crime groups.

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