Uploaded on Apr 15, 2010
A classified report provided by the government to senators estimated 22,743 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexicos drug cartels in December 2006, the press reported.
Government sources confirmed the figure to Efe, but they insisted that the report was classified and would not provide further details, adding that the number includes executions (killings by organized crime groups), attacks and clashes.
Press tallies had put the number of people killed in drug-related violence since Calderon took office at 18,000.
The classified report provided by the National Security Cabinet to senators lists 20,868 killed in hits, 160 deaths in attacks and 1,715 deaths in shootouts, the Reforma newspaper reported.
The most violent year of Calderons presidency, according to the report, was 2009, when 8,928 people were killed.
The classified report estimates the death toll so far this year at 2,904.
Chihuahua led the way as the state with the highest number of killings, followed by Sinaloa, Guerrero, Baja California and Michoacan.
Ciudad Juarez, a border metropolis in Chihuahua, is Mexicos most violent city, followed by Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, and Tijuana, a border city in Baja California.
Government Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont answered a reporters question about the existence of a classified report by saying that a figure was discussed at a meeting Monday with legislators, but he claimed he could not recall the number.
Calderon, who made fighting organized crime groups one of his administrations priorities, has deployed 45,000 army troops and 20,000 Federal Police officers in crime-plagued areas across Mexico.
Officials contend that federal forces were needed because municipal and state police were easily corrupted by drug traffickers, making it more difficult to wage war on criminals.
The Federal Polices ranks have grown from 13,000 officers in 2006 to slightly more than 32,000 last year, Gomez Mont said.
More than 70,000 suspected drug traffickers, mainly from the Gulf, Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels, have been arrested since Calderon took office.
Mexicos most powerful drug trafficking organizations, according to experts, are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Beltran Leyva and Los Zetas cartels, and La Familia Michoacana.