* Attorney general says about 70,000 died in drug war under
* About 10 cartels were active six years ago-consultancy
By Lizbeth Diaz
MEXICO CITY, Dec 18 The fracturing of Mexico's
criminal establishment in the government-led crackdown on drug
traffickers created between 60 and 80 new cartels, the nation's
attorney general said on Tuesday, far more than were active six
Speaking on Mexican radio, Attorney General Jesus Murillo
said former President Felipe Calderon's efforts to stamp out
drug trafficking and go after the kingpins had splintered the
gangs, spawning many smaller criminal syndicates.
"I would calculate there are between 60 and 80 (new
cartels), both medium-sized and small," Murillo said.
The Sinaloa Cartel of Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman and the Zetas
gang are arguably the two biggest organized crime groups in
Mexico, though a number of lesser ones are strong in some areas
and certain cities like Acapulco are home to many small gangs.
When Calderon, whose six-year term ended on Nov. 30, took
office, about 10 cartels were operating in Mexico; four large,
and six smaller ones, according to consultancy Risk Evaluation.
Murillo estimated about 70,000 people died in drug-related
violence under Calderon, with roughly 9,000 bodies unidentified.
"(Calderon) tried to confront the situation with emergency
responses ... but this caused things to break down brutally and
they got really out of control," the attorney general said.
Calderon's forces arrested or killed dozens of drug lords in
his struggle against the gangs, but that military-led offensive
led to more violence, kidnappings and a spiraling death toll.
Mexico's new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, won election
pledging to restore stability to the country, and on Monday he
laid out his plans for reducing the violence.
Pena Nieto belongs to the centrist Institutional
Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for most of the
last century until it was voted out of office in 2000.
Critics say the PRI tolerated the presence of drug gangs in
Latin America's second biggest economy, making deals with them
to keep the peace and allowing corruption to take root.
But Murillo said the new government was committed to going
after the cartels' money, and emphatically rejected the idea
that there could be any negotiation with them.
"No way," he said. "That would not make any sense."