At least 30 armed men invaded a drug-treatment center in northern Mexico late Thursday night, killed 19 patients and wounded four others, the state-run Notimex news agency reported Friday.
The killings occurred around 11 p.m. at the Faith and Life rehab facility in the city of Chihuahua, located in the border state with the same name.
Witnesses told authorities the armed men marched 23 people outside, lined them up and shot them, Notimex said, citing Director of Police Intelligence Saul Hernandez. The wounded were taken to hospitals under heavy guard, the news agency said.
Shootings at drug-treatment centers have become more common as Mexico’s drug cartels and street gangs ramp up their violence
against each other.
An attack at the El Aviane rehab facility in Ciudad Juarez in September left 17 dead and two wounded. Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said at the time that authorities believed a rival drug gang shot the men.
A similar assault at another Juarez drug facility in March 2009 killed 20 patients.
The Mexicles and Los Aztecas street gangs are two of the most active in Ciudad Juarez and are blamed for much of the violence. The Mexicles are allied with the Sinaloa drug cartel while Los Aztecas work with the Juarez drug cartel.
Mexican Federal Police arrest 5 in drug rehab executions
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Police have arrested five men accused of dozens of murders, including two mass killings at drug treatment centers in this northern Mexico border city.Police say the men were members of the Sinaloa cartel, a violent gang entrenched in a brutal turf war for control of drug routes to the United States.
The men are accused of 45 different executions in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s most violent city. They were arrested by law enforcement agents during a routine street patrol, according to a statement released Friday by federal police.
Police said the arrests solve two high-profile attacks that shocked even this violence-plagued city. On Sept. 2, gunmen lined patients against a wall at a rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez and then riddled them with bullets, killing 18. Two weeks later, gunmen burst into another drug treatment center and killed 10 people.
Police said with Friday’s arrests, officials have accounted for 292 of the 1,720 murders in Ciudad Juarez so far this year.
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