Mexican Soldiers Seize 2.3 Tons of Marijuana

Mexican soldiers confiscated 2.3 tons of marijuana and arrested nine people in separate drug busts in northwestern Mexico, the Defense Secretariat said Saturday. The first action led to the arrests of seven suspected traffickers in the Mesa de Otay neighborhood of Tijuana, where soldiers seized 467 packets of marijuana weighing 1.7 tons, the secretariat said in a statement. It did not indicate how it located the building where the drugs were being stashed.

Elsewhere, 118 packets of marijuana weighing 652 kilos (1,435 pounds) were seized from two vehicles and a trailer at the El Chinero military checkpoint in Mexicali, a city located 145 kilometers (90 miles) east of Tijuana. Two people were arrested in that incident, the statement said. The Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels have operated in that northwestern border region in recent years, although authorities did not say if the detainees belonged to any particular criminal organization.

Friday’s drug busts show the military’s commitment to “continuing their all-out battle against drug trafficking and organized crime for the benefit of Mexican society,” the secretariat said. It also acknowledged “the lofty sense of civic responsibility” of individuals who have reported the actions of criminal groups to the authorities and encouraged them to continuing doing so.

President Felipe Calderon deployed tens of thousands of army soldiers and federal police to regions racked by drug-related violence shortly after taking office in December 2006. He said the deployment was necessary due to rampant corruption among Mexico’s notoriously corrupt and underpaid local police forces.

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