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U.S. and Mexico border patrol agents collaborating to fight illegal drug trade

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

The drug trade and its accompanying violence continues to be a problem south of the border.  Approximately 90% of the cocaine reaching U.S. soil from South America comes through Mexico, said a portion of the annual report from the Director of National Intelligence.  In addition, the report said that the illegal drug trade provides traffickers with "an enormous source of revenue and influence" and that it gives gangs the means to "threaten institutions, businesses, and individual citizens of Mexico."

The report cited a study from the National Drug Intelligence Center which said that Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers are earning somewhere "between $18-39 billion from drug sales within the United States."  One of Mexican President Calderon's main goals in dealing with drug cartels is to target them to break their concentrated power.

The war on Mexican crime has been a "key feature" of Calderon’s presidency. His approval ratings are strong, he is supported by opposition parties, and the military remains committed to dismantling the drug influence in California's neighboring country.

While the Director’s report said that drug cartels and escalated violence will probably not destabilize the political situation in Mexico, dangers stemming from the current situation highlights the importance of Border Patrol agents to maintain a strong presence along the California/Mexico border.

In addressing violence likely to spill over into California, an approach that might be implemented in California is an experiment being tested on the Arizona/Mexico border.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that U.S. Border Patrol agents and Mexican Federal agents are collaborating in training and in sharing intelligence in enforcing the Arizona/ Mexico border. The Star also reported that the particular enforcement model could expand to other border states as well, which implies that California could see the model being implemented in their state soon.

Janet Napolitano, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, and Genaro Garcia Luna, Mexico Safety Secretary, signed a declaration that says the operation will “likely” expand.  One positive result that could come from this kind of enforcement system is that illegal immigration could be deterred. This could be due to the large presence of Mexican and American officers involved in enforcement matters.

On the other hand, there is also the corruption factor with Mexican officials.  The U.S. government must weigh its options when considering whether it would want to possibly compromise enforcement intelligence with corrupt Mexican officers who might undermine its efforts.

Perhaps it is better to err on the side of judgment and not take a chance with police forces. Instead, train and sufficiently equip border patrol agents to adequately deal with possible threats from Mexico.

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