Gunmen kill 10 at Mexico drug treatment center

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Gunmen burst into a drug treatment center in the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and shot to death 10 people, the second such mass killing this month.

Police say nine men and one woman were killed in the attack just before midnight Tuesday at the Anexo de Vida center in Mexico’s most violent city. Two people were seriously wounded.

Enrique Torres, a spokesman for Chihuahua state police, said Wednesday the identities of the gunmen and the motive for the attack have not yet been established.

But officials have said in the past that drug gangs may be using treatment centers to recruit dealers, or may be targeting them to eliminate rivals.

Most of the victims are believed to have been recovering addicts staying at the facility.

“Why? Why them?” said Pilar Macias, weeping after she identified the body of her brother, Juan Carlos Macias, 39. “He was recovering, he wanted to get back on the right track and they didn’t let him, they didn’t give him a chance.”

“This is going to kill my mother,” Macias said. “She’s very sick and this is going to kill her.”

Macias said the mother had encouraged her son to enter the facility for treatment of his cocaine addiction three months ago.

Maria Hernandez also had come to the state prosecutor’s office to identify the body of her 25-year son.

“He was good, he didn’t hang out with gangs, he didn’t have ‘narco’ friends,” she said. “He just began with marijuana, and then … they killed him.”

Pools of dry blood and bloodied footprints were visible Wednesday in the courtyard of the drug and alcohol rehab center where the shooting occurred.

The center is located in a poor neighborhood with dirt streets, some of which were impassable due to recent rains.

On Sept. 2, gunmen lined patients against a wall at another rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez and then riddled them with bullets, killing 18.

Five men were killed at another rehabilitation center in June, and in August 2008, gunmen barged into a pastor’s sermon at a rehabilitation center and opened fire, killing eight people. Authorities have not said if any of the attacks are related.

Ciudad Juarez has seen the worst of the nation’s drug violence, with more than 1,300 deaths this year. The bloodshed has continued despite a buildup in troops since March.

Early Wednesday, gunmen burst into a bar in Ciudad Juarez and shot to death five men, police said. They said they knew of no motive for the attack.

Surging gang violence has claimed 13,500 lives since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 and deployed extra soldiers across the country to fight cartels.

Also Wednesday, police in the southern state of Guerrero reported they had found the decomposed bodies of four men by the side of a highway. Because of their poor condition, the cause of death and identity of the bodies has not yet been established.