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Mexican drug cartel crackdown has cost 47,000 lives in 5 years

The police chief northern border city Ciudad Juarez Julian Leyzaolcenter walks past body top municipal police officer after he was

The police chief of the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Julian Leyzaola, center, walks past the body of a top municipal police officer after he was gunned down by unknown attackers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday Jan. 10, 2012. According to local media reports, another officer and an unconfirmed number of civilians were injured. (AP Photo/Raymundo Ruiz)

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Updated: January 11, 2012 5:37PM

MEXICO CITY — More than 47,000 people have been killed in drug violence in the five years since President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown against drug cartels, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that 47,515 drug-related killings occurred from December 2006, when Calderon deployed thousands of troops to drug hot spots, through September 2011.

Drug-related killings went up 11 percent in the first nine months of 2011 when 12,903 people were killed, compared to 11,583 in the same period of 2010, the office said.

The office found one small consolation: “It’s the first year (since 2006) that the homicide rate increase has been lower compared to the previous years.”

There had been a 70 percent increase in drug-related killings in the same period a year earlier, when death rose from a nine-month total of 6,815 for 2009.

Prosecutors said a large majority of the killings last year happened in eight of Mexico’s 32 states.

The Mexican government had been periodically releasing the number of drug war dead but it stopped a year ago when they reached nearly 35,000.

Mexico’s freedom of information agency had said it would ask for an investigation if prosecutors didn’t release the data requested by several journalists by Wednesday.

The Attorney General’s Office said that more than releasing the number of dead, what’s important “it’s to guarantee that each killings is investigated.” Records show few of the killings have been investigated.

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