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Mexico’s Army Stands Between Gangs, Enforcing Turf Divisions

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Soldiers patrol during celebrations marking the feast day of Saint Jude, in the hamlet Plaza Vieja, in the Michoacan state of Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. The Mexican army has largely stopped fighting drug cartels here, instead ordering soldiers to guard the dividing lines between gang territories so they won’t invade each other’s turf — and turn a blind eye to the cartels’ illegal activities just a few hundred yards away. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

(AP) — In western Mexico a small squad of soldiers with about a half-dozen trucks and sandbag emplacements stands guard on a rural highway. In one direction, almost within earshot, one drug cartel operates a roadblock extorting farmers.

In the other direction, another cartel carries out armed patrols in trucks bearing its initials.

The army has largely stopped fighting drug cartels here, instead ordering soldiers to guard the dividing lines between gang territories so they won’t invade each other’s turf  and turn a blind eye to the cartels’ illegal activities just a few hundred yards away.

 

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