News / Americas

Experts Say US and Mexico Must Work Together to Battle Mexican Drug Cartels

Mexican security forces after an attack by a drug cartel
Mexican security forces after an attack by a drug cartel
Laurel Bowman

A deadly car bomb last week, the first of its kind, suggests that Mexico's drug cartels are growing increasingly bold and sophisticated.  As illegal drugs and people cross the US-Mexican border into the United States, weapons and possibly billions of dollars in cash flow south.  Speaking in Washington Tuesday, experts  said fixes will have to be multi-faceted and long-term.  

A TV station caught on tape what was a first in Mexico's fight against drugs - a car bomb targeting police  detonated in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

At least three were killed in what's being viewed as an escalation in Mexico's already raging drug war.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley:

"Unfortunately, these drug cartels, they have enormous amount of resources at their disposal," said  P.J. Crowley. "They can buy any kind of capability they want.  But we are determined, working with Mexico, to do everything in our power to reduce this violence."

In Washington Tuesday, experts gathered to discuss steps the United States and Mexico should take moving forward.

Matt Bennett is Vice President of Third Way, a self-described moderate think tank. It hosted the event.

"It is not just a Mexican problem," said Matt Bennett. "Guns and money are flowing from the United States south and fueling this problem and drugs are traveling north…"

"It's a mutual responsibility between the U.S. and Mexico," said Henry Cuellar. "We cannot let Mexico fail."

Congressman Henry Cuellar says tightening the border alone won't do the trick.  

The U.S. has to help Mexico develop its police force, justice system, and courts. It's hard to catch drug traffickers in Mexico, Cuellar says, and once they are caught …

" prosecute someone, at least when I was down there, was less than a 2 percent chance," he said.

That's compared to a prosecution rate in the high 90s in the U.S., he says.  

"Once again I want to warn everybody, especially in Mexico, if you want to come to America through Maricopa County, we are going to have enough fire power to react to any assaults on our deputy sheriffs," said Sheriff Arpaio.

That's Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona.  Last week, while conducting his 17th immigration sweep, he brought out his "big gun," a machine gun.  He said his deputies needed it for protection while patrolling desolate areas where drug and immigrant smugglers have been spotted.

But Mexico's Ambassador to Washington, Arturo Sarukhan, says guns bought in states like Arizona are fueling the drug trade.  

He is calling on the U.S. to help plug the flow.

"Mexico has very stringent gun laws," said Ambassador Sarukhan. "You can't walk into a store and buy a gun like you can in this country."

The United States has announced it will send 1200 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.  They will help keep a look-out for illegal border crossers and smugglers and assist with criminal investigations.

Mexico's drug violence has killed nearly 25,000 people since 2006, when Mexico's president launched an anti-drug offensive.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Guatemala Landslide Death Toll Tops 220; Another 350 Missing

Loosened by heavy rains, hillside collapsed onto Santa Catarina Pinula on southeastern flank of Guatemala City October 1, burying scores of homes

Report: More Than 58,000 Violent Deaths Last Year in Brazil

Annual report on public security says number of violent deaths up nearly 5 percent last year from 2013, when country suffered a then high of 55,000 such deaths

UN Launches Review of Possible Corruption

Audit will look at interaction between world body and two organizations that US prosecutors have accused of bribing a former top UN official

US to Publish Records on Chile 1976 Assassination

Orlando Letelier was killed, along with his American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in the center of Washington

US Official: Ending Cuba Embargo Will Take Time

Commerce Secretary wraps up visit to communist-ruled island saying both sides need to learn more about each other as they work to improve relations

Missing Cargo Ship’s Recorder Sought for Clues

Officials say El Faro's voyage data recorder, similar to 'black box' on aircraft, would provide a wealth of data on what befell the ship and the 33 people aboard