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Does life have a price in Mexico?

Maybe so. It could be that one ton of marijuana is worth one life.

That’s the bizarre calculus that one might arrive at after authorities made an unprecedented bust of 134 tons of marijuana in the border city of Tijuana early last week.

A back-of-the-envelope calculation says that amount of marijuana might have been worth north of $400 million on U.S. streets. Authorities later indicated it belonged to the Sinaloa Federation, the largest drug gang in Mexico.

In a chilling sign that Sinaloa wouldn’t let the bust go unpunished, police heard this warning on their scanners: “We will execute 135 people for the 134 tons of marijuana that you took from us.”

Since then, the killings haven’t stopped. First came the slaughter of 13 young people at a party last Friday in Ciudad Juarez. Then came the up-against-the-wall execution of 13 drug addicts in Tijuana on Saturday. Third came yesterday’s mass execution of 15 people at a car wash in Nayarit state. 

Then this morning’s newspapers say six people were executed in the Morelos district of the capital. 

Are all these killings related? I don’t know. But the Mexican media is suggesting that all may be part of retaliation. It’s pretty grisly math: one ton equals one life.


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This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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