Poder 360° - Page One Daily News - Drug War Toll: 22,700 Dead Since the start of this conflict in the beginning of 2007, there are have been 22,700 reported deaths. The intensity of the conflict has only increased, with 9,635 dying in 2009, and 3,365 so far in 2010. This battle has spread to the US, with the first American being slain in Arizona. Arizona rancher's slaying spurs calls for more border aid - Washington Times Of the cartels, arguably the most dangerous are Los Zetas, an organization of ex-military men turned mercenary, who run operations across Mexico, the border states, New York, and Italy. They are better armed and trained than the Taliban, with all sorts of heavy arms and commando training camps. Further, Los Zetas are suspected to have many high-ranking connections to the Federal Police and Military. They declared war upon the Gulf Cartel this past February. It is rumored that the American rancher was likely caught in a battle between Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.