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March 25th, 2009
09:33 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Drugs & Danger along the U.S.-Mexico Border

A police convoy moves in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, last month, across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas.

A police convoy moves in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, last month, across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on AC360°, we give you an up close look at the war next door. Anderson will be reporting from the U.S.-Mexico border on the violent mission of Mexico's drug cartels. 800 killings so far this year. About 6,500 others murdered last year. U.S. officials are concerned Mexico could become the next Iraq or Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mexico. Today Clinton acknowledged U.S. ties to the problem. "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," she said. "The criminals and the kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations – law, order, friendship and trust between us... they will fail," Clinton added.

The Obama administration is moving more than 450 law enforcement agents and equipment to the border to try to combat the violence.

The cartels have a big influence here in the U.S. They are linked to at least 230 American cities. In a December report the U.S. Justice Department said that Mexican cartels are the "biggest organized crime threat in the U.S." They control most of the U.S. drug market. Tonight, 360's Tom Forman shows you how the drugs cross the border and make it into U.S. cities and towns. He also shows us how the drug money than makes its way back into Mexico.

We'll also look at the travel threat in Mexico. Randi Kaye has the stunning story of an American family that was abducted at gunpoint and amazingly made it out of Mexico alive. CLICK HERE for more details.

Are you worried about the growing violence in Mexico that's spreading into the U.S.?  What do you think should be done to stop the bloodshed? Share your thoughts below.

We'll have these stories and a lot more starting at 10pm ET.See you then!


Filed under: 360° Radar • Maureen Miller
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Curt

    The Drug War is just another goverment scam where the crooked officials get richer and nothing is really accomplished.Look at the soldiers the U.S. trained in Mexico,they(los zedas) are now working for the drug cartels as hitmen helping to eliminate the competition,that was a great investment of your hard earned tax dollar wasn't it?We need to say enough is enough and stop this waste of time and money,After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, our confined population has quadrupled making building prisons the fastest growing industry in the United States. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and every year we arrest an additional 1.9 million more guaranteeing those prisons will be bursting at their seams.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  2. maria r

    great job, cooper!! it was about time someone decided to talk about what its going on here on the border. I hope it doesnt extend to the united states. its sad that now i cant go to juarez to visit my family.

    be safe, cooper and team!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Bobby

    I live in a small KY town where illegals almost outnumber the citizens, my town is located next to the main interstate supply line from Mexico to the east coast. This violence worries me as it could spread here. If the goverenment would just legallize marijuana it would stop some of this. The gov could charge 200 a year fee for people to grow their own, not to exced 20 mature plants, a year for personial use. There a good idea for a fix for this and our economy.

    March 26, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  4. Tom

    Ware’s arguments last night were a cut and paste copy of his attitudes on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While criticism of American policy and methodology are deserved on all fronts, his coverage of such events can be described as aggressively negative. What better way to stand out during a live feed, than to position yourself in a war zone and state that the sky is falling.

    March 26, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  5. Eduardo

    This is a problem that starts with demand, people want it, people buy it – so people bring it in, period. People in other countries pay the price.
    The problem needs to be stopped inside the US, an that is something most people fail to see; there are no evil drug lords trying to poison and kill people – they are satisfying a demand that means big bussiness for them. I don't support them, as much as I don't support the people who use the drugs.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  6. Ale

    Im an amazed to read all of you comments, most of you comment on the drug consumption withing the US. The war against drugs is a very sensible topic, but what about guns?... where do you think the cartels get their guns? As a mexican, I can tell you I have no idea where to buy guns and amunition in our country. Most people dont know.

    Within the US, you need to stop blaming the mexican people, or any other people and start working together, you need stronger guns regulations, even if it compromises you ability to go to Walmart and buy a gun. You cant have it both ways, you need to have stronger drug programs. But Mexico cant look the other way, our government needs stronger punishments towards the drug cartels. And higher security facility that does not allow people to be in control while being on the inside.

    As for right now, the future seems promising, Calderon has made it his priority to stop the drug war, and Obama has understood the importance of working together. While hoping for good news does nothing, we cannot ignore that something is bein done.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  7. Robert Cook

    You want to end the war in Mexico? There is a simple answer.

    Formula 1: Illegal=black market-crimes for money
    Formula 2 legalization= no black market= no crimes for money
    Formula 3 legalization+education+rehabilitation = treating drug addiction as a medical problem, not legal, as in alcohol addiction.

    It worked to end the war during alcohol prohibition. Take the money out of the drugs and they will stop running them. Stop treating the symptoms and fix the damned problem, that illegal drugs are illegal.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  8. Heather

    I think legalizing marijuana and taxing it would decrease the demand and also help the economy. Addiction is going to exist and education of the long term effects with any drug is what we need rather than this so called "War on Drugs," where we spend billions of dollars putting away drug dealers, and the three strikes your out. Pursue violent offenders, and look at some benefits that medicinal marijuana may have, and legalize growing hemp as a crop, and then stop spending billions on the "War on Drugs," which will decrease demand because the cost will go down. Tax marijuana like cigarettes and it will help the economy. Offer addiction programs and education about drugs being aware that addiction is going to exist whether drugs are legal or not legal.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  9. Justin Continuum Q5

    Good call to show where it starts...but where is it going to end?
    What can really be done...nothing but fear??

    March 25, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  10. steve o

    Legalizing and taxation, their will still be addicts stealing and killing, they'll be wasted drivers on the strets smashing into innocents.Stop what is happening to America by employing the same fire power other nations use to fight the drug trade, which is if you trade drugs you trade your very life and others around you.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  11. Magdalena Molina

    Finally, after more than a half century, is anybody speaking about the dual responsibility of drugs and violence affecting both countries; the USA & Mexico. IT IS DEMAND AND SUPPLY; plain and simple. the US has been in denial re: drug demand from our citizens. Not only drugs, there is slave trade, child abuse and prostitution that has not been mentioned. They also are; DEMAND AND SUPPLY. Why is the US government so naive to believe that its citizens are not capable of the vilest habits and actions. Just check the prison system. We pay more to support the criminal justice system than we do for education and to build schools. OPEN YOUR EYES and don't be so, HOLY!!!.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  12. Brandon (Bowie, MD)

    It is scary to learn that Mexican drug cartels are now operating in 230 American cities. I am 20 years old and live CNN everyday of my life. This is the first time I am commenting on a CNN report because I believe that this situation is huge and young adults like myself should speak out about it. Something drastic needs to be done about it all because these drugs are hurting the U.S. citizens much more then anyone thinks. Legalizing and regulating the sale of medical grade narcotics- I believe that doing this, it will only make it easier for people that need to be hundreds of feet away from any kind of drug, to get it.
    I believe that legalizing any kind of narcotics is a stupid idea and it will bring down this world faster then anyone will ever imagine.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  13. jim Drennan

    I'm trying to raise a family here in Nevada, the mexican anger is bad. Our streets are not safe , day or night. I'm all for a military wall on our border and also remove the border jumpers back to Mex. it's sad how we look the other way untill it happens to you. Time to take care of the USA and secure our land, Oboma , don't let these people take over our home. One flag, one language, America!! come to our country with respect and please, learn English!!!

    March 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  14. Krystina

    When will we admit the "war" on drugs has been a failure? Legalizing, regulating and taxing currently illegal substances is the only rational way to stop the escalating terror and senseless deaths.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  15. Rosemary

    I have lived in El Paso my entire life, and have always felt safe. I still do. While the violence in Juarez is disturbing, I think many kudos are due to the Border Patrol, El Paso Police, and the Sheriffs Dept. Every effort is made to keep us safe. I think it is essential to tell the rest of the country that El Paso is still a great place to live.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  16. Paul

    I spent the last week in Cabo San Lucas. I could see no evidence of the trouble reported in Mexico there. I looked for and saw no warnings about safety in Cabo. I felt safe and walked around in areas that were "Americanized" and also local areas that seemed to have a large middle class.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  17. Isabel (Brazil)

    Drug trafficking is directly responsible for several problems that devastate our lives: murders, threats, bullets missed, crimes in general, insecurity and corruption.

    Unfortunately it is a fact that trafficking exists only because there is consumer market. There is a supply chain – complete.

    Drug trafficking in third world exists as an alternative to generate income!
    What would happen with the drug traffic if the number of unemployment in these countries fell sharply? Certainly the number people involved in trafficking as a source of income would fall well!
    To emphasize that there are those who feel comfortable with the contravention and has nothing do with the question of generating income.
    Drug trafficking is a social problem and we need an awareness of all for its solution.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  18. Mike (Columbus, OH)

    U.S. demand for cocaine, marijuana, heroin and other drugs will continue to fuel the current network of organized crime that spans Columbia, Mexico and now 230 American Cities.
    The only way to stop the cartels and violence swiftly and abruptly is to legalize the use of these dangerous drugs in the US, but provide simultaneous and mandatory education about their serious effects on the biology of the brain during dispensing – and tax the HELL out of it.
    Mike
    Columbus, Ohio

    March 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  19. Mike (Columbus, OH)

    U.S. demand for cocaine, marijuana, heroin and other drugs will continue to fuel the current network of organized crime that spans Columbia, Mexico and now 230 American Cities.
    The only way to stop the cartels and violence swiftly and abruptly is to legalize the use of these dangerous drugs in the US, but provide simultaneous and mandatory education about their serious effects on the biology of the brain during dispensing – and tax the HELL out of it.
    Mike
    Columbus, Ohio

    March 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  20. JCSquared

    Clintion thinks the cartels will fail... Okay, Why have they not failed in the WAR on DRUGS previously imposed by the last few decades? What makes her or any of the current administration think THEY will have the upper hand?! Drugs are in constant demand. I know from experience. Anywhere in America you can get what you want. It should just be legalized and TAXED!!! Want to boost the economy? Tax Pot, not Tobacco!

    March 25, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  21. Lori from IL

    Maureen –

    This is a very scary situation and I'm glad it's finally getting the attention it deserves. Glad to see President Obama is taking action and the Hillary Clinton and others, including President Obama will be traveling to Mexico over the next few weeks.

    It's a sad statement on the culture of corruption in both Mexico and the U.S. The two saddest things to me are the young people being recruited by the cartels and that the cartels have moved into human trafficking as well. Thanks to 360 for bringing these reports live from the border. Hope everyone makes wise decisions and stays safe - Godspeed to all who are traveling to bring us these reports.

    March 25, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  22. Teriss

    I would not be travelling to Mexico right now-until they clean up the violence and drug wars. Why can't they search cars, people & trucks at the border -they do on the Canadian side?

    March 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  23. xtina, chicago IL

    mexico WON'T become afghanistan if Obama makes marijuana legal and taxes it. We will raise a LOT of money to pay for Obama's welfare state.

    March 25, 2009 at 9:50 pm |