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It has been more than five years since Mexico's crackdown on drug cartels began, but the situation seems only to be getting worse. Most observers believe more than 50,000 people have died in the violence since President Felipe Calderon sent the military to battle drug gangs in December 2006.

Recently drug-related violence has been spreading south of Mexico and into Central America. With weak civil institutions and ill-equipped security forces, this region has become an increasing fertile ground for drug traffickers.

With a new administration, led by Enrique Pena Nieto, due to take over the reins from Calderon in January, Mexicans are facing an uneasy period in which links between organised criminals and former officials are being broken, and drug kingpins' search for "insiders" begins again.

Amid this backdrop of politics and violence, Al Jazeera reports from the scenes of Mexico's drug war.

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