A list compiled by Mexico's attorney general showed that more than 25,000 adults and children have gone missing over the last six years in connection with the drug war.
The Washington Post wrote about the unpublished government documents, which had been submitted by state prosecutors and vetted by the federal government but never been publicly released:
"The names on the list — many more than in previous, nongovernment estimates — are recorded in Microsoft Excel columns, along with the dates they disappeared, their ages, the clothes they were wearing, their jobs and a few brief, often chilling, details."
News of the list came as President Felipe Calderon prepared to leave office after six years in office.
"I leave having accomplished my duty and responsibility to serve Mexico," said Calderon, according to CNN. "I have worked to leave a stronger, healthier country, with a better justice system and a solid economy."
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The drug war has become a hallmark of Calderon's tenure, with some government estimates putting the number of dead in drug-related violence at 47,500, while he was in office.
According to The Post, the list of missing people was provided by government bureaucrats frustrated by the lack of transparency and the government's failure to investigate the disappearances.
As Slate magazine pointed out, the list is probably inaccurate because only 8 percent of crimes in Mexico are reported and only one percent are investigated.
While soldiers and police had made record drug busts and brought down 25 of 37 top kingpins, seizures and purity rates indicate that the cartels traffic as much narcotics to the United States as they did six years earlier.
The shortcomings of this military offensive against drug gangs will be the resounding point in the history books on Calderon's presidency, which ends Friday.
Soaring death tolls, massacres and mass graves forced him to keep reacting to the issue. Even as Calderon committed more soldiers, rates of extortion, kidnapping and homicides attributed to the cartels more than tripled during his term.