The Other Side of the Border: Chihuahua

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JUAREZ , Mexico —
Juarez is in the middle of a dramatic revolution-transforming this once “most dangerous place in the world” into a place where residents now feel safe.
Less than ten years ago, violence ravaged the streets. Horrific gang violence was an everyday occurrence. Battling drug cartels were responsible for the escalation in violence that got so bad that more than 10,000 lost their lives between 2008 and 2012.
But now there’s new leadership determined to take back the city. In October of last year Jorge Arnoldo Nava Lopez was named Attorney General of Chihuahua’s Northern Zone. Together with Guillermo Arturo Zuany Portillo, the regional commander for the state’s investigative arm of the Attorney General’s office, they take on all types of felony crimes. Nava and Portillo were the heads of Chihuahua’s elite anti-kidnapping unit during the height of the kidnappings between 2008 and 2015. Under their watch this year Ciudad Juarez hit a record low….. 31 homicides for the month of May.
Part of Juarez’s violent past is found 45 minutes away in the valley of Ciudad Juarez, where hundreds of missing persons are believed to be buried. Nava took us to the mass grave where remains of missing people from as far back as 2012 were found. Giving families closure is something not too far from this team’s mind as they brave the extreme conditions to finally bring their loved ones home.
Security is key for these law enforcement agents to be able to do their jobs. In Mexico the inherent danger officers of the law are under is much greater than any of us can imagine on the other side of the border. Preventing violence from going up and the streets of Juarez from becoming deserted again will also take support from the other side of the border….the side that has a demand for the drugs that have torn Mexico apart……the United States.


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