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Battle over Mexican drugs
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The Los Angeles Times recently published an article about a dramatic crime wave sweeping Mexico. In short, drug cartel-related violence has left thousands dead in this last year alone. These killings included hundreds of police officers, many government officials, hundreds of innocent victims and thousands of drug-involved gang members. There have also been numerous kidnappings of both persons who have ties to the illegal drug trade and innocent victims. More recently, there has been a series of terrorist-style beheading of drug-involved people. Two weeks ago 12 beheaded people were found in Southern Mexico near the town of Merida. In the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, alone, there have been more than 800 killings related to drugs and gangs during this past year.

Some of this violence is spreading into the United States. Attempts to increase security at the U.S. southern border along Mexico have been undertaken to thwart anticipated spill-over violence and hits that have been ordered by Mexican drug lords on persons residing in the United States. In San Diego, there have been a number of kidnappings of U.S. residents who have been dragged across the border and held for ransom. The aforementioned are not necessarily drug-related kidnappings, but many are. Oftentimes the victims are taken because they or their families are known for having enough money to make the kidnapping worthwhile.

Mexico has had a long-standing history of government corruption, especially within the federal, state and local police agencies. This corruption has allowed the illegal drug trade to prosper, to the point that hundreds of thousands of people are involved and make their living from it. Of course, without the American drug dependence, Mexico's role in the manufacturing and supply of illegal drugs would be greatly reduced. Frankly, the illegal drug trade is so steeped in Mexico's social fabric that it will be hard to wipe out, especially if only traditional enforcement strategies are utilized.

Over the years, the U.S. has seen its share of drug-related violence, manifested in the gangs. And with the current trends, that violence is likely to continue, especially since our society has managed to glamorize the gang culture without paying attention to the harm the gangs are causing here. Yet, because government and police corruption in the United States is not nearly at the same level as it is in Mexico and other drug-producing nations, the potential for having the same degree of violence here is much lower. Nevertheless, the potential for more violence does exist since the drug trade has a large network of traffickers and dealers spread across this country. Mexican drug cartels have already established themselves in more than half of the states in the United States, so they have ample means to carry out killings and to maintain the drug trade here.

The U.S. government recently gave the Mexican government $400 million to help with the battle against the drug lords and hit men. I understand the objective, but, at the same time, there has been no infusion of additional funds for American law enforcement. This is a significantly bad policy decision since the states bordering Mexico are the most vulnerable and need more law enforcement resources to keep us safe from the violence spill-over from Mexico.

As the Mexican government does more in its attempt to eliminate the drug and gang problem, it puts the squeeze on the criminals with the predictable outcome of generating more violence as they attempt to compete with each other. The violence now ongoing in Mexico can, indeed, spread further into the United States, if we fail to take the necessary protective steps.

There is hope for Mexico, and it lies with its good citizens who outnumber its bad ones a million fold. The fact that tens of thousands Mexican citizens are marching to "take back their country" from the criminals is exactly what needs to happen. They need to push for wholesale governmental change, they should seek assistance from other nations as necessary, and we, as Americans, need to end our dependence on illegal drugs. It is our society that creates the attractive nuisance by maintaining a voracious appetite for illegal drugs.

In any event, we know that drug usage is not going to stop overnight. The Mexican drug war is likely to intensify, there will be more killings, and there will continue to be the threat of Mexican-based violence migrating into this country. Citizen awareness is important, elected officials need to take this problem seriously, and law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels must be given the resources needed to combat this dangerous threat.