The Mexican drug war is now well over a decade old. It began in December of 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderón sent some 6,500 soldiers into the western state of Michoacán to quell cartel violence. After more than 10 years—and billions of U.S. dollars spent—the conflict continues to spread throughout the country.
Authorities estimate some 200,000 people have been killed so far, with another 30,000 missing. And it’s getting worse. From 2016 to 2017 the number of drug war deaths jumped by almost 30 percent. So far 2018 is on pace to eclipse that grim tally. In September a burial pit was discovered in Veracruz containing the remains of 168 people. Sadly, that’s no longer uncommon. Another recently uncovered mass grave held 250 bodies.
Resort towns once thought to be immune to the violence, like Cancun and Los Cabos, are now cartel battlegrounds. A generation ago, Acapulco was Mexico’s answer to Las Vegas. Today Acapulco is one of the deadliest cities in the hemisphere, and a magnet for child prostitution.