A crowd gathers near an assassination crime scene. Ciudad Juarez has recorded more than 1,500 killings this year. Friday December 19.2008. Resident of Juarez looking at the city that has become a war zone between the drug cartels and where every day around 20-30 people are assassinated.  Friday December 19.2008. Members of Juarez's Baja 13 gang show off their tattoos and guns.  Saturday, April 4, 2009. The morgue in the city of Juarez.  In the last year the violence between the drug cartels has risen. Mexican investigators work at the scene of an assassination in Juarez Mexico.  Sunday December 21, 2008. Body of a man that been assassinated out side of a small bar in Juarez.  Locals witnesses sais that the assassins call the man out into the street as they didn’t want to kill all the people in the bar.  Sunday December 21,2008. Body of an assassinated man.  Sunday December 21,2008. A girl stands outside looking into her rented apartment house after someone riddled the house with bullets on Friday, March 6, 2009.  Drug cartel members were trying to send a message to the owner of the house. A night operation by the Tijuana's Special Tactics Unit checking cars and people for cocaine and narcotics.  Monday, March 9, 2009.
OCTOBER 2012 BACK ISSUE I first travelled to the troubled Mexican border city of Juarez in 2007 for a story about the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of women from the city. The city, home to a free trade zone where tax-free manufacturing once flourished, was unsettled and the threat of violence hung in the air. Things had grown much worse when I returned to Juarez years later to cover the exploding war between drug cartels in the city. Assassinations were rampant among cartel members and local gangs and ordinary people were caught in the violence. El Paso, one of the safest cities in the United States, lies just across the border from Juarez. As we drove across the border into Juarez, I asked my driver, "Is it really so bad?" "You will see what happens when the sun goes down," he said as we heard the sounds of narco corrido music on the police scanner. (The popular ballads glorify the drug trafficking lifestyle and are often used by cartel members to announce a killing by hijacking the police radio frequency with the music.) It was dark by the time we arrived at the site of the killing. I heard a woman screaming. Her husband had been shot to death in front of their house, his body lying on the ground. The man's mother came out, screaming "el nino, el nino!" ("the little one"). People came out of their houses to see what had happened, but it was obvious the scene was so ordinary. At a street vendor just next to the house, people continued eating their tacos whilst looking on. The medical examiner's office arrived to collect the body, adding to an enormous backlog at the morgue waiting for autopsies. Although investigators dutifully documented the crime scene and collected evidence, it's unlikely any criminal charges were filed. Over the last six years of war between the Mexican drug cartels around 50,000 people's deaths were documented.  Only a few arrests were made and there were virtually no resulting court appearances. For example, of the 3,200 homicides reported in Juarez by the Chihuahua state attorney general's office in 2010, only 53 people were charged - less than 3 percent. Economic depression and uncontrolled violence have left Juarez a city living in fear. For those people struggling to live ordinary lives, it is difficult to prevent their children from being swallowed by gang culture. In a city with few paths to success, the heroes remain the glorified drug traffickers of the narco corridos - the men with the money, the guns and the women. Back to current issue