TIMELINE-Events in Mexico's drug war city Ciudad Juarez

Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:21pm BST

June 16 (Reuters) - Frozen investments and canceled factories are hurting a major Mexican industrial hub on the U.S. border as nervous business leaders watch a slew of police and troops do battle with brutal drug gangs [ID:nN16238458].

Following is a timeline of the key events in Mexico's war on drugs in Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, Texas.

1993 - Drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known as "The Lord of the Skies" for flying airliners full of Colombian cocaine into Mexico, takes control of the Juarez cartel in the city, smuggling tonnes of narcotics over the border deep into the United States.

1994 - Mexico joins the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Canada, and opens hundreds of factories in Ciudad Juarez as exports boom. The city's population jumps as workers from across Mexico seek jobs, but many new arrivals are unable to find work and are sucked into the drug trade.

1997 - Vicente Carrillo Fuentes takes over leadership of the Juarez cartel after his brother Amado dies during a plastic surgery operation in Mexico City.

1998 - Police officers from the Ciudad Juarez force and the surrounding state of Chihuahua move into small-time drug dealing in the border city, forming "La Linea" (The Line). They later become enforcers for the Juarez cartel.

2001 - Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman escapes from a Mexican prison in a laundry van. Mexico's most-wanted drug lord, he heads a coalition of drug gangs from Sinaloa state and vows after his escape to take control of Mexico's drug trade.

2006 - Members of a street gang known as "Barrio Azteca" in the United States and "Los Aztecas" (The Aztecs) in Mexico, made up of Mexicans deported to Ciudad Juarez from the United States, align themselves with La Linea. Several other street gangs spring up and move into drug smuggling.

2007 - Vicente Carrillo Fuentes tries to bring order to drug smuggling in the Ciudad Juarez area and gives gangs an ultimatum of six months to come under the umbrella of the Juarez cartel. Some gang members disobey and ally with Guzman, who sends his henchmen to battle the Juarez cartel.

2008 - Drug killings explode in Ciudad Juarez as Sinaloan hitmen fight the Juarez cartel. President Felipe Calderon sends hundreds of soldiers to the city to try to stem Guzman's the violence, part of the government's nationwide anti-drug crackdown.

2009 - Drug war violence escalates and cartel kidnappings and extortions soar in Ciudad Juarez. Calderon increases his military deployment to 7,000 troops and 3,000 federal police. But the city becomes one of the world's most violent places, with some 2,750 drug killings during the year.

2010 - Hitmen kill 3 people linked to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez in March, provoking "outrage" from President Barack Obama. Under pressure from accusations of rights abuses by the army, Calderon in April switches control of anti-drug operations to the federal police. In June, police say they are finally seeing success in cutting violence, but business leaders and residents say the shift in strategy has yet to show results. (Reporting by Robin Emmott and Julian Cardona in Ciudad Juarez; Editing by Kieran Murray)