Dan Bell owns a cattle ranch in Nogales, Arizona, that sits right on the border with Mexico. He's been on the property his whole life and has seen firsthand the violence and tragedy that stem from issues with illegal immigration.
"I don't believe there's a day that goes by - either illegal immigrants or somebody smuggling contraband drugs," Bell told CNN's Gary Tuchman. "There's always somebody coming across."
A tall fence lines some of Bells' land, but mostly the only thing dividing the two countries is a rickety barbed wire fence that can easily be climbed; he makes repairs to it himself.
A former U.S. Marine is free after spending four months in a Mexican prison. Jon Hammar was held on a questionable gun charge because he crossed the border with his great grandfather's antique shot gun, which was deemed too short by Mexican authorities.
U.S. officials told him it was permitted after he completed the proper paperwork, but he was arrested as soon as he entered the country. He says the purpose of the gun was so he and the friend he was traveling with could hunt while camping. The trip was intended to be a surfing vacation in Costa Rica.
Hammar described the harsh conditions to Anderson Cooper. Other inmates in the prison tried to extort money from his parents. He was then removed from the general population and placed in solitary confinement where he was chained to his bed.
Jon Hammar, a former U.S. Marine, has been jailed in Mexico since August. He was arrested on his way to Costa Rica for a surfing vacation because of a gun he brought into the country, which he says he had declared with the proper paperwork. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.
Jon Hammar's parents describe where their son, a U.S. veteran, is being detained in Mexico. They're pleading for his release.
Jon Hammar dreamed of escaping to Costa Rica. As a U.S. Marine he served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned home to battle with post-traumatic stress disorder. After getting treatment, he was ready to start his life over.
Costa Rica was where Hammar, 27, an avid surfer, wanted to find some calm, riding the waves and relaxing. He left with a friend, another former Marine, but their drive from Florida to Costa Rica didn’t go as planned and now he’s facing another battle. The U.S. veteran is behind bars in Mexico, facing gun charges and his family is speaking out tonight on 360, pleading for his release.
Hammer’s parents, Jon Sr. and Olivia, say the trouble centers around the decades-old Sears and Roebuck shotgun he brought along on the trip. It was Hammer’s great grandfather’s gun.
Photojournalist Eros Hoagland documents the lawlessness and gruesome violence in parts of Mexico impacted by the drug war.
Last week the former mayor of a small town called Tiquicheo was found dead. Maria Santos Gorrostieta was kidnapped while driving her daughter to school. She had survived previous assassination attempts, including a 2009 shooting that killed her husband. "You see this extreme violence all over Mexico now," says Hoagland.
Of the time Hoagland spent in the Juarez Valley, he describes the fear as "palpable," and says the standoff between military soldiers and cartel members was "extremely tense."
Experts explain to Anderson Cooper why recent murders don't resemble the work of the Zeta cartel.
CNN's Miguel Marquez reports on the increasing violence being carried out by rival drug cartels in Mexico.
Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. ET for Miguel Marquez's report. Plus, Anderson will speak with two experts on the bloody cartel feuds, Fred Burton and Rusty Fleming.
The 49 decapitated bodies authorities found on a roadside in northern Mexico over the weekend were likely the result of a fierce feud between rival drug cartels, a top Mexican official said Monday.
"In recent weeks, we have had a series of inhuman and despicable acts in different parts of the country that mark an irrational fight fundamentally between two existing criminal groups and their criminal allies," Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire said.
There are "clear indications," he said, that a recent surge in violent acts - including the mutilated remains found Sunday in Nuevo Leon state - stem from a "direct conflict" between the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartels over territory and power.
CNN's Martin Savidge met a police chief who says he fights corruption and drug cartels on the U.S. side of the border.