On Sunday, the death of Jesús Nava Nava marked the 10,000th homicide in Juárez as part of the drug violence that began in 2008–the year Joaqín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel moved into the city–according to data collected by El Diario .
Juárez, which has been dubbed one of the top most dangerous cities in the world, has seen more than one thousand deaths annually over the past four and a half years–1,623 in 2008; 2,754 in 2009; 3,115 in 2010; and 2,086 in 2011. The 2012 count is already at 436 less than halfway into the year. CNS reported in 2010 that more people were killed in Juárez than in the entire country of Afghanistan.
Despite the horrific violence in Juárez, neighboring city El Paso is considered one of the safest in the nation. In 2010 and 2011, the Texas border city had the lowest crime rates for U.S. cities with populations over 500,000 according to rankings from CQ Press. (El Paso has held a top-three spot on this list since 1997.) But El Pasoans are still affected by the gruesome deaths happening in their sister city. As TEXAS MONTHLY’s Nate Blakeslee reported in August 2010:
As far as most El Pasoans are concerned, the violence is already happening to “us,” since “us” in this part of the state has always included loved ones who happen to live on the other side of the river. The worry here is not first and foremost keeping the trouble confined to Mexico; it’s getting people you care about out of Mexico, however you can.
Coincidentally the Border Patrol announced its first new national strategy in eight years on Tuesday. Chief Mike Fisher told the Associated Press that the new plan takes a “risk-based approach” that seeks to identify repeat border-crossers, learn why they’re coming and evaluate the risk they pose from a national security standpoint. Since 2004, the number of agents has doubled to nearly 21,000, and “migration has slowed significantly,” the AP reported.
While this may be good news for concerns about human ‘spillover,’ the El Paso Times also reported Tuesday that according to a U.S. Congressional Report on Operation Fast and Furious, El Paso has become the hub for weapons smuggling by the Sinaloa cartel. The goal of the operation was to “follow the weapons purchased in the U.S. to identify and capture the person or people at the top of the arms-smuggling organization,” but it has been unsuccessful to some extent because federal agents lost track of weapons once they crossed into Mexico.