Peace Time: The Militarized Mexican Border

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January 15, 2008: The growing violence in Mexico, along the U.S. border, is drawing more attention to incidents of corrupt Mexican police or military personnel getting caught on the U.S. side of the border. In the last decade, there has been an average of 25 confirmed incidents a year. The most (43) occurred in 2001. Most of these incursions involve guys who are clearly armed, and often riding in police or military vehicles. Police corruption, rather than tainted troops, is a bigger problem in Mexico. Because of that, the Mexican Army has become more heavily involved with the war against the drug cartels. These are large criminal organizations, that maintain thousands of gunmen. Some of the cartels hire former soldiers and police, who have special training (SWAT, commando), and form very effective death squads. These killers are not only used against other gangsters, but also to intimidate police or army officials who cannot be bribed. The gangs sometimes use corrupted cops and troops to guide and guard shipments of drugs going across the border. These cargoes are often worth millions of dollars, and the security is needed more for protection from other criminals, than it is for police who might be encountered along the way. Once into the United States, the armed guards have been known to kill anyone they encounter, or flee if confronted with a force that could give them a fight.

 


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