Comment Last Three
February 26, 2009
Due to the inability of DHS not implementing the border defense plan authorized by Congress and the lack of political will from elected officials, we now have a drug war on our southern border. It will take the military, DEA, DHS, DOJ, CIA, and state / local police agencies to stop this violence. All American citizens are at risk.
The new Secretary of Homeland Security told Congress that drug-related violence along the Mexican border has grown beyond the ability of DHS to handle. Just yesterday, the DEA announced an operation against a major Mexican drug cartel that netted more than 750 suspects - almost all of them in the U.S. "I believe this is going to require more than the Department of Homeland Security," Janet Napolitano said Wednesday during her first Capitol Hill appearance since her confirmation last month as homeland security secretary.
"So we are reaching out to the national security adviser, to the attorney general and others about how we within the United States make sure we are doing all we can in a coordinated way to support the president of Mexico," said Ms. Napolitano, explaining that containing border-related drug violence will require more than the 22 agencies and 200,000 employees in her department.
Border violence, which claimed more than 1,000 lives in January and about 6,000 in 2008, is already on the radar of Pentagon and CIA officials, who have said that they may be involved in the current crisis in Mexico.
U.S. intelligence officials have said that the effects of the global economic crisis on Mexico have helped narcotics traffickers recruit more people and corrupt more Mexican officials. At his first meeting with reporters Wednesday, new CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said that Mexico was a "priority" for the agency. "Mexico is an area of concern because of the drug wars going on there," Mr. Panetta said. "The president [of Mexico] has courageously taken on that issue, but nevertheless, it's an area that we are paying attention to, a lot of attention to."
Meanwhile Wednesday, Justice Department officials announced the arrest of 755 people associated with Mexico's powerful Sinaloa cartel as part of a two-year probe dubbed "Operation Xcellerator." The operation also netted $59 million, 12,000 kilograms of cocaine, 16,000 pounds of marijuana and about 1.3 million Ecstasy pills.
In Lexington County, S.C., Deputy Sheriff Ted Xanthakis and his K-9, Arcos, were ambushed by three gang members armed with a 12-gauge shotgun during a Feb. 8 incident in West Columbia, S.C. Two of the men were identified in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report as members of the Surenos gang, or SUR-13, a collection of hundreds of Mexican-American street gangs with origins in the oldest barrios of Southern California and which federal law enforcement agencies accuse of involvement in smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants.
Violence on the Mexican border and its reverberations throughout the U.S. are emerging as one of the gravest and least expected problems confronting the Obama administration, a point that was made by President George W. Bush in a late December interview with The Washington Times.
Mr. Obama will need to deal "with these drug cartels in our own neighborhood," Mr. Bush said. "And the front line of the fight will be Mexico. The drug lords will continue to search for a soft underbelly. And one of the things that future presidents are going to have to make sure of is that they don't find a safe haven in parts of Central America."
The Obama administration says that the drug-gang violence on the U.S. side of the border does not match what is going on in Mexico's border states, but says there is a contingency plan in place that will not include militarizing the U.S. side of the boundary. DHS must do their job and we must put the military on our southern border to fight these drug cartels.