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Mexico Drug Violence Spikes: Americans Gunned Down

The crashed car of a US consulate employee Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, March 14, 2010 (AP)

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (CBS/AP) Ciudad Juarez, a small city on the border of Mexico and the United States that has been called "one of the most violent places on Earth," continued to live up to its reputation over the weekend after three people with ties to the US consulate were gunned down there on Saturday.

Mexican officials reported that, Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, a consulate employee and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, 34, both U.S. citizens, were shot to death in their car near the Santa Fe International bridge linking Ciudad Juarez with El Paso, Texas.

Vladimir Tuexi, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office, said the woman was shot in the head, while her husband suffered wounds in his neck and arm. Their baby was found unharmed in the back seat. Tuexi estimated the child was around a year old.

About ten minutes before that killing, Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, 37, a Mexican citizen and also an employee of the US consulate, was shot to death in his car, while his two children, ages 4 and 7, were wounded, according to the state prosecutors office. The children were hospitalized.

These latest killings are presumed to be linked to the incredibly violent drug war underway in Juarez which claimed a record 2,000 homicides in 2009, making it the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle in Sept. 2009.

Kidnapping and extortion are so common that the government runs public service announcements on the radio about how not to be a victim. Executions occur in broad daylight. And teenage girls continue to disappear without a trace, according to a report on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Nine people were also gunned down in an apparent gang-related shootout in the resort town of Acapulco.

The slayings came amid a surge in bloodshed along Mexico's border with Texas and drew condemnation from the White House. Mexico's president expressed outrage and promised a fast investigation to find those responsible.