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More Americans Dying in Mexican Drug War

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Last year 79 American citizens were killed in Mexico, up from 35 in 2007 in a trend experts attribute to violence associated with Mexico's ongoing battle with drug cartels.

The Associated Press reported March 20 that the recent slayings of Americans associated with the U.S. Consulate in Cuidad Juarez has put a spotlight on the grim trend. Many of the victims were involved in the drug trade, officials said, but some were innocent bystanders or just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Tania Lozoya, 15, or El Paso, Texas, was killed by a stray bullet in May 2009 while visiting an aunt in Ciudad Juarez. In December 2009, a California assistant school principal, Augustin Salcedo, was among a group of men abducted from a restaurant in Gomez Palacio and later found murdered. A kidnapping expert, Felix Batista, was abducted in December 2008 and has not been seen since.

Most recently, U.S. consular employee Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, and her husband were shot to death while driving home from a party; their 7-year-old daughter survived the shooting. Some say the attack was a case of mistaken identity, while others insist it was meant as a message for the U.S. government.

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