Mexico City – President Felipe Calderon says Mexico's cartels in many cases have moved beyond drugs as their main money-earner.
Speaking Wednesday at an anti-crime conference, Calderon says the gangs are even trying to supplant the government in parts of the country. He says gangs are imposing fees like taxes in towns they dominate, extorting money from both legitimate and unauthorized businesses.
He says they may even be taking money from churches.
Calderon told the gathering that some people are urging him to leave the cartels alone. That's after more than 28,000 people have died in drug violence since he launched an offensive against the cartels upon taking office in late 2006. He called that "simply an unacceptable option."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.