18 Mar Red Cross Ambulance Crews Get Dangerously Close to Drug-Related Violence
For those who volunteer with the Red Cross in Mexico, they are often giving more than just their time. Many of these individuals are also putting their lives at risk. Those on the ambulance crews must dress in full combat gear before arriving on the scene.
In an AZ Central piece, these individuals are often entering into violent territory to help victims. One such ambulance driver is Jose “Cache” Gomez who recently entered a rough barrio that is familiar territory for cartel violence. A victim – who claimed he was shot just walking down the street – received treatment, begrudging the help every step of the way.
Mexican authorities reported in January that 40 people were gunned down, beheaded or otherwise eliminated in the cartels’ battle for control over Nogales. In one 24-hour period in February, six were murdered and at least that many wounded.
In this border city, population remains around 200,000. Last year proved to be the deadliest ever as police reported 136 assassinations. With more than twice the population, Mesa reported nine killings during the same period.
Residents in Nogales cannot ignore the carnage or completely avoid collateral damage as bullets regularly fly through neighborhoods, along thoroughfares, at hotels and in restaurants. The violence intensifies after dark as residents are accustomed to the staccato echo of assault rifles.
With this ongoing violence, the only group that gets close to the combat are those crews in the ambulances. While most lend a hand without incident, a Cruz Roja dispatcher in Sinaloa was murdered on the job. This 20-year-old was working in a clinic where a man with a bullet wound sought treatment. A gunman barged in and opened fire, killing the wounded man and the dispatcher.
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