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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Mexico losing its war with drug cartels

    Mexico losing its war with drug cartels

    By: Sara A. Carter 01/17/11 8:05 PM
    National security correspondent

    What happens when a country declares war on its deadly illegal drug cartels and loses?

    The violent deaths of nearly 35,000 in Mexico in the past four years symbolize a growing crisis for the United States as its southern neighbor is increasingly destabilized by competing drug organizations that have infiltrated every level of government, according to numerous U.S. officials.

    President Felipe Calderon's efforts to dismantle the drug gangs since taking office in 2006 has increased the number of grisly killings without diminishing the strength of the various criminal groups so far, experts said. That has placed U.S. security and Mexican security at risk.

    "Mexico needs to take down the major cartel players or ask for our help to get it done," said a U.S. official who is familiar with operations in the region. "Mexico is at a crisis point, and the situation is getting worse. We are left with an insecure border controlled by drug cartels, and our ability to limit their operations starts on our side. Unfortunately, that's not good enough."

    The escalation in violence also presents a serious risk to U.S. federal law enforcement officials who complain the situation is not being given the attention it deserves, said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council.

    "I'm not sure what it's going to take to get our attention on Mexico," Bonner said. "I'm not sure what it's going to take to get the federal government to realize what a serious security risk our border and Mexico really is."

    Calderon said last week that 2010 was a "year of extreme violence" that has led to the brutal deaths of Mexican law enforcement and government officials. Beheadings, mutilations and shootings last year were part of the drug cartels' modus operandi. Killings escalated by 60 percent in a year, claiming 15,000 lives in 2010, according to Mexican authorities.

    "We are aware that we are going through a very difficult time on security issues," Calderon said to reporters and anti-crime groups in Mexico on Wednesday.

    The official death toll understates the problem, one U.S. official said. Corruption inside the Mexican government and police organizations makes it difficult to conduct joint U.S.-Mexico operations without putting U.S. agents at risk, the official added.

    "Many times when a person is executed they go down as missing because there isn't a body to be found associated with the crime," the official said. "We must also be vigilant when it comes to sharing information with Mexican authorities on operations because some are in the pockets of the drug cartels. The situation is out of control and may require military action on the part of Mexico and the U.S. to dismantle the top narcos."

    Last week, 14 headless bodies of men between the ages of 15 and 30 were discovered in the resort city of Acapulco. Along with the bodies were handwritten messages signed "El Chapo's People," a reference to one of Mexico's most powerful cartels, the Sinaloa cartel headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

    Chapo's cartel was also believed to be responsible for the deaths of 17 more people near the same area, including two policemen who were shot dead on patrol in the beachside area.

    "It's difficult when Chapo has the members of the federal government, state and local authorities in his pocket," the U.S. official said. "That's why Chapo is still in control and free to terrorize."

    According to Mexican authorities, the four-year death toll from drug traffickers includes 30,913 executions, 3,153 deaths in shootouts between gangs and 546 deaths involving attacks on authorities, many of whom were on the drug cartel payrolls.

    Bonner will be attending a memorial service Friday for slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, a U.S. Marine veteran who was shot and killed in early December while working on the border in Rio Rico, Ariz. The 40-year-old agent was killed by bandits who had been "robbing illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S.," Bonner said.

    Bonner added that Terry's death is just one example of how violence from Mexico has spilled into the United States.

    "Despite all the pronouncements that the border is better now, more secure than at any other time, all we need to do is look at Terry's death," Bonner said. "The bandits had targeted the area because it was used to move a large number of illegal people into the United States. That doesn't give me warm fuzzies that the border is secure when you have hundreds of people crossing into the U.S."

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    Senior Member stevetheroofer's Avatar
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    Front page of Mexico city's news paper!

    US Drug Czar praises Calderón’s war on drugs
    Jan.17,2011
    the news

    The Director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, in a interview with the Colombian journal El Tiempo, recognized Sunday the “great breakthroughs
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