Mexico Drug Violence Increasing, Officials Says; 30,196 Killed in Past Four Years

Violence in Mexico seems to be increasing, with wars between drug gangs claiming a record 12,456 lives from January to November of this year, a top Mexican official said today.

All told, said Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez, 30,196 people have died in the drug wars since President Felipe Calderon took office four years ago.

And that's just in Mexico. The ruthless drug trade is also responsible for plenty of homicides in Arizona and other states - as Tuesday's slaying of a Border Patrol officer near Nogales exemplifies.

Amazingly, the Mexico economy continues to grow at a rate estimated to be 5 percent for this year, thanks to the country's exports to the United States. Economic growth would be 1.2 percent higher if not for the violence, the above-linked Bloomberg article reports.

With all those bullets flying around, Mexico better not depend on American tourism and new business investments to boost revenues in the next couple of years.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.