Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Murder of a Mexican mayor brings home perils of community drug activity

As everybody is, I'm sure, aware, Mexico has been struggling with major drug problems for quite some time. Being at somewhat of a distance, we here in the States -- especially if we live in small towns or suburban communities where drug problems are not quite as extreme -- tend to forget that drugs are not just an annoyance, but a a recipe for disaster.

The discovery of small-town mayor Gustavo Sanchez and one of his aides yesterday was a case in point. According to Gustavo Ruiz' article entitled "Small-town mayor stoned to death in Western Mexico," which was published on Yahoo! News last night (Sept. 27th, 2010) at 8:41 p.m., the town in question "is in a region where soldiers have destroyed more than 20 meth labs in the last year." It is not yet clear whether Sanchez' murderers were members of a drug cartel, but given the amount of drug activity in that area it is not unlikely that drugs were a factor in some form or other, directly or indirectly.

The reason I mention the meth labs should be obvious -- we've had quite a few of those in Genesee County in the past year or so. Fortunately, our drug woes have not escalated to anywhere near the level seen in Mexico. But every now and then, we could use these reminders of how important it is to stay on top of it.

On that note, I want to allude to something one of my colleagues said yesterday. Stephanie Armstrong, DFC Program Assistant at the Orleans site, observed that if we limit ourselves to closing down meth houses, culprits will just move to another house. Understanding that we do need to keep closing down any meth lab we find, she noted that we should also addresss the social problems that give rise to such things -- widespread unemployment, for example. Granted, we don't know how much we can do with regard to that sort of thing, but clearly we can't do nothing.

For the Yahoo! News article on Mayor Sanchez' death, click here.

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