Undertones of the 2001 motion picture Traffic begin to surface when considering the violence and social conditions in Mexico due to the highly organized and powerful drug cartels. Standing across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, is Ciudad Juárez, also known as just Juárez. A city known to be a rapidly growing industrial metropolitan center. Everyday, more than 60,000 people cross the Juárez-El Paso border, making it a major port of entry and transportation for all of central northern Mexico. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the city houses one of the world’s most powerful crime organizations; the Juárez Cartel (recently transformed into the Golden Triangle Alliance).
Juárez has become a concentrated war-zone as rival drug cartels (mainly the Sinaloa cartel pictured below) try to muscle in for prime drug trafficking routes. The bloodshed and violence that stems from the rivaling cartels is instilling fear into the citizens and is crippling to the people and the city. Many are afraid to go outdoors and businesses are on the verge of closing their doors for good, while the violence spills into the United States.
In 2008 approximately 6000 killings were accounted for as a result of the war amongst drug cartels for power and territory/drug routes. Now consider, more than 1600 of these killings occurred in Juarez, which is three times more than the most murderous city in the United States. It is not uncommon for the police to receive 20 homicides in one night. Most of these murders are in direct relation to the drug war, meaning they are mainly targeted killings, but because of the constant ongoing war amongst the drug cartels, police, and military, civilians are at high risk of being caught in the crossfire. Considering the scope and power of the Mexican drug cartels, it seems the drug violence in Juárez and neighbouring cities will not end anytime soon.