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Mexico Cracks Down on Drug Traffickers in Michoacan State

The Mexican government has deployed more than 5,000 soldiers and federal police officers in the western state of Michoacan to battle violent drug gangs.

Interior Minister Francisco Ramirez Acuna says the troops have been ordered to destroy drug fields and search for drug gangs and opium production houses.

Soldiers have established traffic checkpoints around the towns of Apatzingan and Aguilla, while ships are patrolling the port of Lazaro Cardenas.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon ordered the crackdown on the drug trade in Michoacan, his home state, saying his new strategy will return tranquility to the people there.

Drug traffickers cultivate marijuana and opium in Michoacan and also use the area to smuggle illegal drugs from South America into the United States. The trade is estimated to generate some $10 billion a year.

At least 2,000 people have been killed across Mexico in recent drug cartel wars.