Murders hit record high in Mexico as war on drugs simmers

Members of the Mexican Army and Federal police patrol in a crime scene.
Members of the Mexican Army and Federal police patrol in a crime scene.PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mexico registered a record number of murders last month, officials said Wednesday (June 21), underlining the country's struggles to deal with the horrific violence surrounding the multi-billion-dollar narcotics trade.

There were 2,186 homicides in May, said a report from the National Public Safety System - the highest figure since the country began keeping track 20 years ago.

The deadliest state was Guerrero, in the south, a hotspot in Mexico's war on drugs where 216 people were killed.

In the western state of Sinaloa - where rival factions have been battling for control of the Sinaloa drug cartel since its kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was extradited to the United States in January - 154 people were killed, the highest number in six years.

Since Mexico first sent the military to fight drug trafficking in 2006, a wave of bloodshed has left more than 200,000 people dead or missing, as rival cartels wage war on each other and the army.