Drug Trafficking

Mexico City sees drug-war-style violence come to the capital

Burnt-out vehicles. Road blockades. A raging gun battle between armored marines and gang members that left eight dead.

Such scenes have been common in border cities like Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo, and figures released Friday show the death toll from Mexico's drug war has reached new heights this year. But residents of the capital were stunned this week to see that kind of mayhem in their own city.

Thursday's shootout, along with the recent emergence in a working class neighborhood of an apparent group of "vigilantes" — styled after self-defense militias that rose up against a drug cartel in the western state of Michoacan — have left authorities scrambling to...