March 26th, 2009
10:45 AM ET

The streets of Juarez

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/26/art.charlie.onpatrol.jpg caption="On patrol with 55th battalion out of Mexico City, part of 5,000 new soldiers now patrolling Juarez, Mexico."]

Anderson Cooper
AC360° Anchor

Driving through the streets of Juarez. It was once a bustling city, but now seems largely deserted. Boarded up nightclubs. Empty stores.

The American visitors are mostly gone, scared off by the escalating drug war which has turned Juarez into a battleground. A handful of factions have been fighting for control of lucrative drug routes into the US. There have been gun battles in the streets, bodies left in gutters.

The drug cartels pay off police, kill those they can't corrupt. Now 9,500 Mexican military personnel have flooded into Juarez.

"Our deployment here's open-ended," the captain of the unit says,"no one's told us how long we'll be here or how long this will take."

One of the more shocking aspects of this battle is the number of unknown victims. There are hundreds of people likely working for the cartels – low level runners or informants. Many are often found dead, their identities unknown. There are so many that they take their bodies to mass graves and simply dump them in. There simply isn't enough time to do anything else.

A convoy of soldiers just passed me by. They are in full combat mode, helmets on, kevlar vests, rifles

locked and loaded. They have made a difference. The violence has dropped off dramatically the last couple of days, but the cartels are still here, the war goes on, and the drugs continue to cross.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper • Mexico
soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. txkboy San Angelo, TX


    Thank you for bringing us the informational facts about the drug war into our living room. We would have never gotten straight answers from the government. I still find it upsettting that we can send billions of tax dollars and our own National Guard overseas, but find it too much of a "political hot potato" to rally our own troops at our Southern border.

    March 27, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  2. Ale

    Anderson, I really appreciate somebody finally coming to El Paso/JRZ, I grew up in JRZ and currently live in El Paso, and it surreal what has happened to Juarez, I would cross every day to work and having to witness shootings in broad daylight is horrifying, I would get home and be thankful to see my children, but what about the people that live their, they still have that tension of keeping their families safe. I am grateful that I found a job on this side of the border, but I worry for friends and family that are exposed everyday, and even though executions have come down from 14 to probably none daily, people are still being carjacked at gun point, when no soldiers or police are around. In a period of 2 month, 6 people from my company were robed in the commute to work (7-6 a.m.) or on the way back (5-7p.m) it really doesn't matter what time of the day it is, in two of these cases it were U.S. citizens that work in these plants. So nobody is really safe, it is taking in toll in U.S. companies located in JRZ, because people just like me, are looking for a way out.
    It's been a major change after seeing beheaded bodies hanging from bridges early 6-7 a.m., in a really busy street. But even though I recognize that Mexico has major corruption problems, what would you do, if your family is at stake?????, when you have no were to run or to hide, believe me they will find you ! ! ! I really feel for the policemen that go in honest and love their country because they are paid minimum wage, exposing their lives and families.

    Take care,

    March 27, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  3. Alexandra

    I live in Juarez and yes it is scary! I'm glad though that the soldiers are here. Since they got here it's been safer to be out, I trust them more than any other police or authority figure. They are here to die if you think about it yet they are living under poor circumstances like cold showers, very little food and on the floor, believe me I know. I'm glad you are doing this for the world. Be safe!!

    March 27, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  4. Margarita N.

    I am from Juarez. I lived there for 16 years. I could walk on the streets by myself. Go visit friends and be back home for dinner.

    Later, after I moved to El Paso, I spent many weekend in Juarez. My friends and I could go to any bar, restaurant, club and not be afraid.

    The "worst" part about going to Juarez was coming back to El Paso because, most times, you have to wait at the bridge for hours.

    During these 16 years living in Juarez, nobody ever offered me drugs. I didn't even know what marihuana looked like. My husband – he is white and has lived in the US his whole life – can just not believe this. He says I lived a very sheltered life. But, the truth is, none of my close friends ever tried drugs. We would get together and drink, but that was it.

    One day, I was watching the news and I saw the picture of a guy I knew. They said it was drug related. Nothing was ever the same. Then, the killings. Hundreds of women dead. It is so hard to believe, even now.

    I took my daughter and husband to Juarez in 2007. Part of me believed that the situation had nothing to do with me or anybody I knew. I lived there for 16 years and I "made it"!!!!! Why let the news dictate what I could do. This my city!!!

    This past December I had the opportunity to visit Juarez again. I couldn't do it. I couldn't take my husband, my daughter and my son to the old house where I grew up. I couldn't show them my old room (which I shared with 2 aunts and my mother). They didn't get to see the little corner store where I used to buy candy.

    It is no longer something that happens to drug dealers or women that have the horrible luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, it is a part of everybody's life.

    My Aunt lives a few blocks from the place where all those poor women are "dumped." And this is the same aunt that had to stay inside a supermarket until the "balacera" ended just outside on the street.

    My Cousin saw a man killed just a couple of table away from where she was having a drink with her friends. When the soldiers got there to "control" the situations, she said she was scared of them. You know, you made the wrong move and...well, they are not there to help.

    My Mother and I left for personal reasons. Not because of the drugs, the killings. She just wanted me to go to an American university. She knew my life would be better here. As much as I hated that decision back then, now I am grateful.

    March 27, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  5. jimmy

    I live in one of the safest cities in America! El Paso Texas. Why don"t you report on the Mexicans coming to live in my city and probably importing their crime problems to my city. They are not allowed to defend their family and home in their own country so they want to hide behind our top rate law enforcement, and try to get a weapon to defend themselves here. They know that if they have to defend their family here they will not be automatically hauled off to Prison!!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  6. Rob

    Each bordering state needs to deploy the National Guard!
    The I-10 from Az to Ca into LA is a hot zone for trafficking...I am an educated Mexican-American having unfortunate ties through distant family in this cartel issue. It's embarrasing and pathetic to see a peasant cousin from a very poor pueblo trying to be the next Tony Montana. Nothing to lose and everything to gain.
    I personally know of two tons of mexican marijuana coming in per week. It angers me!!!!
    Legalize and tax californian marijuana, it will choke the need for mexican marijuana.
    As for cocaine and meth., the colombians are reducing their pricies to compete with meth.. The Pablo Escobars of today need to be dealt with at the root in Bogata, Cali, etc. ,meth. the human won't last long on that.
    Heroin, bomb the Afhgans!!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  7. Jason

    The only way to end the drug violence is to kill the head of the snake . The head of the snake is the growing operation, whether it is marijuana, cocaine, heroin, you have got to stop the crops. NO Crops , no income. Mexico needs to focus more military towards destroying the crops , but, if they eliminated the problem , they wouldn't need our tax dollars anymore . Just something to think about .

    March 27, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  8. Really?!?

    Thank you for bringing this issue to the main stream media, but what took CNN so long to start covering this issue? National Public Radio has been reporting on this situation for well over 6 months. This issue is affecting both sides of the US border, and it's imperative that people understand not only the issue at hand, but the root causes.

    Keep up the good work!

    March 27, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  9. Bob Klug

    That San Diego couple who were kidnapped in Baja, the story you ran over and over.

    That happened about 4 years ago and you presented it like it was yesterday. What's up with that?

    March 27, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  10. Tyler Davis

    The assault rifle ban would do nothing but punish Americans who use them safely. I own a semi-automatic Yugoslavian sks, a 22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, a pump action 12 gauge shotgun, a semi-automatic Beretta 9mm 92FS, and a Beretta 45 caliber semi-automatic Px4 Storm. I have a concealed weapons permit and abide all laws governing my firearms and their uses.

    I and many friends own "Assault Rifles" that were made illegal from that ban. The ban restricted weapons that were based off of military rifles, but lacked one major thing; being fully automatic.

    How about talking about a hurtle that people have to jump through to own these rifles. I am pro gun ownership for the people of America and I know that lots of people want them to be all illegal. That's not an option. Instead of banning guns, use the government to create new laws on the federal level. Make people get fingerprinted for purchasing these firearms, make them register these guns, and make an inspector come in every so many years to ensure all the firearms are still in this persons home.

    Maybe not that far gone, but there are other options that people can come up with. You have to think outside of the mindset that "all assault rifles kill people." Out of the number of Ak-47, AR-15, and other tactical rifles bought, the numbers used in violent crimes is very small.

    I think that in order to solve the problem of bringing guns into Mexico, we need to step up on how we check people crossing the border. Pat down everyone, metal detectors, and other features. We do it to our own people getting onto planes, why not to the people going outside of the country. Look at it as like, if they have a weapon, it could be used against the U.S.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  11. donnaj

    Anderson: I live in Mexico and have for ten years, Usually I avoid only Lou Dobbs on CNN because of his skewed view of Mexico. However, I have to say your reporting on the border verges on irresponsible. It paints all of Mexico with the same brush.
    What you are doing is going to further depress the Mexican economy by scaring tourists away. Many of us are working very hard to improve the life of Mexicans by building libraries and helping Mexicans to start businesses.
    Americans might be surprised to learn that if the opportunity to support your family existed in Mexico, most Mexicans would prefer to live here.
    There are 50,000 Americans and Canadians retired safely in just the state of Jalisco. To balance your reporting, you need to include their opinions as well.
    Did you hear your own interviewee from the cartel say that the people who get killed are those who come to Mexico to party, buy or sell drugs, etc. Those of us who keep our noses clean aren't suffering.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  12. B. Gray

    I travel to Juarez often and if you don't go to the bad areas at night you are going to be fine. I know people that live there and they know that there is violence on the streets but they also know that if you are not involved, let the police do their work and don't go to the bad areas of Juarez you will be OK.
    The Mexican government needs to clean up their part of the mess and the USA needs to crack down on gun running....the penalties need to be severe.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  13. Gabe, El Paso, TX

    I'm an El Paso resident, watch the show daily (or at least the podcast). Anderson, El Pasoans are outraged with Clinton speaking for Americans claiming WE are to blame. I agree there is a problem in the states, drug addicts and gun problems (even American gangs have dangerous artillery), but to take the blame away from Mexico is a huge problem. Mexico has a very corrupt government, look at the past president issues. If the majority of drugs coming from Columbia to the cartels, shouldn't Mexico be protecting their southern boarder a lot better? How is that America's mistake? Yes, guns and Demand comes from us, what ever happened to Just Say NO that the Reagan's implemented. And where's our Gun control. So we work on that... while Mexico begins investigating the corruption in Police, Military, Government, protecting their southern boarder and perhaps making some arrests or solving those 4,000 plus unsolved murders from that past few years.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  14. char

    as a kid my family would go to el paso and to juarez often and stay and eat at the camino real hotel. i was even a duchess at the sun carnival in el paso. we always loved going there because it was usually warmer than it was in santa rosa, nm. i can't believe the pics i've seen lately. please be safe.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  15. concerned

    i watched anderson one night and he interviewd a guy that use to be part of the drug cartel. he said something that really stuck out to me and that was for all you people that use all of these drugs that are coming out of mexico EVERYONE OF YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! people you need to think about what you are doing. not only are you killing yourself but just think about what you are doing to your famillies and what kind of future you are making for your kids.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  16. pamela stowe

    Anderson, Great reporting! You bring the important issues to the people.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  17. warren Taylor

    So in the middle of this hideous and bloody conflict –and with the horrific murders of young women in Juarez several years ago, the question begs itself : Where's the Roman Catholic Church ? If they have been so powerful in Latin affairs over the years and centuries, where are they now when their people need them the most ? Do they take money from the cartels, do they conduct funerals for these hoodlums, and why don't they voice a strong opinion even if it has to come directly from the Vatican? Warren Taylor

    March 27, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  18. Lisa

    Thank you for covering the story. I am a teacher in El Paso and see the effects of these problems everyday. I am glad that the media and goverment are finally addressing the issue. I feel that supply and demand are part of the problem but the heart of the problem lie in the corruption of the Mexican law enforcment. Those of us who live along the border have experienced this.We can only hope that the Mexican government will clean house!

    March 27, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  19. Mary McLuckie

    Mr. Cooper:
    It is sad to see in the news how Juarez; once a bustling tourist haven has deteriorated into a 'drug war zone'.
    I remember as a very young (19) year old who went to Juarez a couple of times with a male friend of mine. Although not the cleanest town in the world; there was a lot of fun to be had...and a lot to discover.
    Although I did not want to indulge in the bullfights; I did enjoy trying out the different restaurants. Now, here was a place that had REAL Mexican food. Yum!
    The streets were lined with shop-keepers who would do their best to bargain with you right there on the streets and try to lure you into their shops. I remember being a day late getting back to work. I bargained for a serape that I knew my boss would love. (It saved my job). Another time, I bargained for a Mexican dress-style top and skirt from the wares that the shop-keeper had right their on the streets. It was a lot of fun to me, dickering for a bargain.
    Even food fenders lined the streets with their carts. Wonderful, authentic Mexican food. As long as you had a partner with you...(It was never safe to go alone)...a lot of fun was to be had.
    Now, my granddaughter has moved to El Paso. I pray that she stays out of Juarez. Although she is half Mexican, she does not speak the lanquage and I hate to think what might happen to her if she ventured over the border.
    A tourist-loving town has been lost...bringing even more hardship to the poor of this border town.
    Unregulated drugs have destroyed many people's life-styles. Only God will be able to stop this insanity.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  20. charlie

    Fight fire with fire. Pot is the drug of choice in the U.S., legalize marijuana. That will put the cartels right out of business. And the border patrol can focus on meth, cocaine and illegal immigration. In the U.S. legalzied pot would: increase tax revenue, increase employment, reduce work loads in the criminal and judicial systems, and keep hundreds of millions of dollars right here in our country.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  21. Pamela

    Marijuana is not a "gate way" drug and it should be legalized in the U.S., grown and harvested, that would take much of the wind out of the cartels' sails. California is leading the way and other states should follow their example. The reason we have not legalized marijuana is because marijuana would be truly difficult to control, meaning to tax. Let's get real about this and stop sending all our money to Mexico for a substance we could easily cultivate right here, marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Why are people so afraid of it? Could it be because of the anti-drug programs and propaganda we bombarded with during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  22. Bud Hogan


    How can anyone not understand the simplicity of the situation?

    If it is illegal, there is profit.

    It is THE SAME as what happened earlier this century with Al Capone.
    The law of prohibition MADE Al Capone a multi-millionaire.
    When prohibition was repealed, the nation healed.

    Robert Almonte either doesn't understand or he just wants to protect his job.

    As for the probable rise of drug usage, what right does anyone have to tell another human being what they can or can not do in their own home, on their own property.

    The government has no right to dictate our morality!!!!!

    The only laws that should be made are:
    1. Laws that protect us from a foreign power.
    2. Laws that deal with interstate commerce.
    3. Laws that protect us from other people both physically and financially.

    All other laws infringe upon our solemn rights as human beings to be free. Including our RIGHT to do drugs if we choose!!!!!!

    Our US Federal Government has overstepped its bounds and created most of the problems that we have in this nation, from the drug related crimes to the low test scores in our school system can be directly traced to the Federal Governments policies over the past 100 years.

    Does anyone else understand?


    March 27, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  23. Arsiniega

    Hi Mr. Anderson, I wish we could see some of this on regular TV stations. Many of us U.S. Mexicans don't see these programs and are the one's going into Mexico. When we get there we do hear from our families how its becoming at the borders. I think many police are involved on both sides U.S. & Mexico this is why it continues to happen. I traveled every year to Mexico by auto with my Mom & Dad for 21 years but now I wouldn't dare. You don't know who is the nice person anymore. Mexico needs to get there act together if you see people buying 1/2 million dollar homes don't they wounder where the money is coming from. Everyone seems to close there eyes, hopefully Mexico starts getting these criminals because it will ruin Mexico from Tourist wanting to travel there anymore. WAKE UP MEXICO & U.S. WE DON'T NEED DRUGS

    March 27, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  24. Stephen Conrad

    You do some good reporting but please keep your reporting subjective. In your interview with the alleged member of the drug cartel your question of where the guns come from and this alleged cartel member's answer of the U.S. could not have been more set up. What you are trying to make the situation of guns going into Mexico look like is that they are coming strictly from the U.S. While I do not doubt that some guns may cross our borders into Mexico the problem is not the weapons but in the way the criminals use them. Isn't it just possible Anderson that guns go into Mexico from other countries and why did you not ask that of the alleged cartel member ? Banning guns is not the answer. Again, keep your reporting subjective. There are too many sheep out there that will actually believe what they hear and read without question.

    March 27, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  25. datta016, Boston

    All right people, this is not a difficult one. In fact, this is extremely easy. Should we legalize all drugs? Absolutely not. Should we reconsider what we define as a drug? Absolutely. Before reading this next paragraph I please ask all readers not to hastily judge my argument until you have finished.

    Marijuana is not a drug. Yes, I said it. A drug is under most circumstances created unnaturally, chemically altered to provide a maximum effect, the most important of these effects being addiction (something all real drugs have in common).

    Now, so we are all on the same page, an addiction can be defined as the compulsive need and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. For any of you who have not tried marijuana, it needs to be understood that even for those who have smoked every single day for months, or even years, the symptoms of withdrawal (ie; a night, days, or even weeks you may not be able to obtain any) is comparable to a child being told they cannot have any dessert after dinner...they may not like it, but they will surely get over it, in most cases they will not even remember it was even an issue the next day.

    I feel at this time it is important to note that many LEGAL substances, such as nicotine, sleep aids, over the counter pills, and, of course, alcohol, all fit under the umbrella definition of addictive, readily available, and especially in the case of alcohol, accidentally DEADLY, compounds.

    To save time, as well as to avoid taking advantage of the space offered in this blog, I implore you all to take a glance into Google's search engine and the results it offers for the effects and deadliness of illicit drugs like cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines, opiates, etc. I then implore you all to try your hardest in finding even one marijuana overdose. Just one.

    Now, what should be done? While watching Anderson Cooper tonight I could not help but notice the huge role marijuana plays in the Border Hop Edition of Monopoly being played by these disgustingly inhumane drug cartels (any of you who watched the exclusive interview Mr. Cooper had with one of them knows my words are putting it quite nicely). With marijuana out of the picture, these drug cartels will lose a drastic amount of business. This, in turn, makes them that much weaker and vulnerable.

    If you have not been able to tell already, I am in favor of the legalization of marijuana, or at the very least decriminalization. Without getting into its benefits in the medical field (we're all going to get cancer of some kind eventually, and the benefits of marijuana and cancer patients have been very well documented, please, look it up), in doing so, not only will our economy's state of affairs be ever so slightly alleviated in the short term (every little bit matters today), but tremendously in the long run once the government can establish a nice infrastructure and tax setup.

    This would also help our economy indirectly by helping to clear out our already overcrowded prisons full of marijuana "drug offenders", which means our tax payer money does not have to be wasted daily on people who really haven't earned a reason to be in these prisons. And most importantly, this creates plenty of room for narcotic offenders, which brings us to the second part of the plan.

    After the legalization of marijuana, laws and restrictions on more serious and actual illicit DRUGS should become more strict. The stronger the deterrents, the harder it is for drug cartels to even want to be in the game, the less likely they will be able to succeed or even bother. This would be a classic example of cost-benefit analysis, which for many of them would prove negative.

    Finally, I am a huge supporter of President Obama, and I am glad President Obama feels comfortable enough to bring up the fact that the legalization of marijuana is a question being asked by many Americans across the nation. However, I was very disappointed in the way he handled the subject by merely cracking a joke about the Internet community's intelligence and merely dismissing the subject with a chuckle and a "No." He said nothing conducive to the subject, no explanations, no reason at all for saying no, when there are so many reasons for saying yes. I pray that it was merely a sad attempt to sidestep the question for now until he is absolutely sure he will not be politically crucified for following what common sense shows to be the right choice. I do hope he was able to catch the poll on Lou Dobbs' segment concerning the way he dealt with the issue (88% opposed, only 12% in favor). Hopefully time will tell with that.

    In closing, I thank you for reading my entry, and on a semi-unrelated note, can anybody please explain to me the reason Hemp is still illegal? Hemp is not marijuana, it is the economic stimulus and green jobs solution we are looking for. We can make over 25,000 things with it (including a reliable source of fuel). It can grow virtually anywhere. Farmers approve. Environmentalists approve. You can't get high from it (interestingly enough, to do so you would need to smoke a joint the size of a telephone poll = impossible). So why is it still illegal?

    March 27, 2009 at 7:18 am |
  26. Joel E. Wischkaemper

    March 26th, 2009 12:25 pm ET

    "I agree with Gabriel Torres. We need to control the flow of guns into Mexico. Mexico needs to ask the US Government to inspect all vehicles entering into Mexico, the way we do it when entering the US. I think this will help minimize the gun flow into Mexico. Its a money issue?"
    The United States does NOT inspect all of the vehicles that move over the border and into the United States. Way to frequently, (as the streets would have it) we look at less than 10% of the incoming vehicles. Obviously, we need to look at all of them and the Department of Homeland Security can do that if Napolitano so desires at this point.

    But no.. we don't need to look at all the vehicles moving into Mexico. Mexico has the laws that stop that movement of arms into Mexico, and while we have seen motley collections of arms seized here and there, we are not seeing evidence of US military armories being emptied and sold, or significant arms sales of military weapons to the Dope Peddlers in Mexico generally.

    Mexico.. Mexico needs to check all the trucks moving into Mexico. The United States needs to check all the vehicles moving into the United States. Because we both have a very serious problem on that border, we both need to talk about 100% inspections for a while.

    And because of what comes to the United States, (very contaminated narcotics) we need to build that fence way on down the line and make it even more difficult to get the junk into this country. We can let Janet show us how to get over it anytime she chooses to see the fence.. boots on the ground.
    May I point out that we were told the fence was in place.. built? We were told that, and what was meant by that was not that the fence was built, but rather obviously, all the Fence Napolitano would build had been built. No.. the fence has not been built.

    March 27, 2009 at 7:02 am |
  27. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    I watched your show yesterday,Hornest i as a German far away from this terrible war hade no idea how depise the drug dealer or murders think obout human life.i am really shocked.so thank you for doing this jo,telling the wold whats going on in this dangerous area,take care,and please go out of this please.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  28. John

    I don't believe in legalizing marijuana, and I don't think it will work. . What we need is border protection and for our elected officials to get off their duffs and do something about this. And now smuggled guns from u.s.a. are to blame in drug wars. So now what do we do, ban guns? Wrong. How about a death penalty for smuggling guns or dope? One thing about the death penalty is that we won't have to worry about that smuggler or doper.

    March 27, 2009 at 6:20 am |
  29. Joe H.

    Your story woke up some Americans who had no idea what was going on near our borders. I am a retired West Texas Peace Officer who's oldest son is now serving our country patroling the borders as a U.S Border Patrol Agent in West Texas. Imagine the sleepless nights I endure worring about him on a regular basis. Our government should become more involved and send in our military to address the issue. Some may say, " Why get involved" Well, these criminals have already invaded our COUNTRY! Keep up the great reporting.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:45 am |
  30. Mark

    Anderson Cooper,

    I am glad your out of the studio and reporting on the front lines of this horrible drug war on the Mexican/U.S border. This is where you belong, out in the field reporting, this is where you do your best work. Anchoring from the studio is boring and detached from the real news. You are a good anchor, but there is many good anchors. However, when you report from the field, you stand out from those good anchors and become your own outstanding anchor/reporter. The news becomes real when your anchoring out in the field. Your good at it. You can expose the corruption and violence in both Mexico and the United States. I constantly flip between Fox and CNN, however last night I stayed with CNN throughout your show. Also, I want to give props to Gary Tuckman for his reporting.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:32 am |
  31. Rod

    I dont doubt we have a drug issue,problem, epidemic what ever you want to call it. But I dont think a majority of Americans are ignorant. Because you say something or report something over and over minute by minute doesnt mean we will automaticlly believe it. Personally I think the masked guy on your interview is a police officer.No drug cartel member would do that I would think without being charged and getting a deal,its just not believable to me. When the supposed masked man keeps saying they. they this,they that. Yeh great for ratings but lets be serious it certainly seems like a load of crap to meI understand Americans need to know,but be honest with us dont BS us with interviews with masked,known drug cartel member,if you say they are killers,why would you put him on tv. why wouldnt. he be in jail.Look the guy in the mask is a cop,nice try.keep workin on it you will get to the truth ,and I hope you report it as THE TRUTH..

    March 27, 2009 at 5:24 am |
  32. Canadian baby~girl

    why are yous so worried about mexican pot when more is coming from canada. just let the mexicans kill each other off

    March 27, 2009 at 5:19 am |
  33. ryan walker


    First let me say that you should be commended for your bravery. You are in a war zone down there and in a conflict where some reporters are killed for speaking about it. So my hat is off to you and thank you for this report.

    I would like to take issue with your comment the the Mexican Military is "out-gunned" by the cartels. Your cartel informant said that the guns they use are purchased in pawn shops and guns stores in the US. While that maybe true, Im sure you are aware that you cannot purchase military grade guns from pawn shops and gun stores and since the Mexican military gets some of its firepower from the use military grade weaponry i find it hard to believe that they are out-gunned. They certainly maybe out-manned in terms of numbers and I in no way intend to diminish the difficulty of what they do, but lets be clear about the difference between an Ak-47 you can purchase from a pawn shop and the Ak-47s used by military forces around the world.. big difference.

    March 27, 2009 at 5:15 am |
  34. aaron in okc

    I love the blame being placed on the US for arms being available to the Cartels. Especially when a great many arms are not available for purchase by citizens in the US that are being employed by them. Try to purchase grenades/launchers,fully automatic machineguns and so on. You can't .

    March 27, 2009 at 5:05 am |
  35. Andrew Jake Mladinich III

    Dear Mr. Anderson Cooper,

    I watched your program on the drug war. A Dutch Captain Bering of the Bering Sea fame of Alaska discovered Alaska in the 1700's. The Dutch Kingdom of the Netherlands has marijuana use legal and sold in licensed "Coffee Shops" and they have 1/3 per capita less use than America because it is regulated and taxed. Marijuana use has increased 4,000% since it was criminalized in the 30's.
    I have to say about President Obama's comment was taken out of context. He did not say he would not legalized marijuana, he said he would not use marijuana as a tool to balance the budget.
    Big Difference.
    Jack Cafferty is right and I'm buying his book.
    Chris Cillizza is wrong and immature.
    Legalize marijuana!

    March 27, 2009 at 4:47 am |
  36. Boo

    Also, Mexico doesn't want our involvement because billions of US dollars are sent back to mexico to bring relatives here to the states or just provide a better life in Mexico.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:33 am |
  37. texas state militia

    mr. anderson,

    your interview with the drug cartel member was a hoax!
    first of all he was to well educated!
    when he spoke he had no accent, probably 3-4th generation born here in the u.s. california most likely.

    he was either a state or federal officer, d.e.a. probably

    the cartels keeps a tight watch on their people which makes them very dangerous.

    i suppose you did this to try and shake up the cartels, however the only thing you have done is, you have made yourself a target!

    and perhaps all cnn as well.

    my advise to you sir is not to sleep in the same bed 2 nights in a row, and remember your next taxi ride could be your last.

    and the weapons the mexican army is using that you showed were h&k not m-16 or ar-15's !

    the mexican army was so bad a few years ago they were selling their weapons to the drug dealers, no wonder they are out gunned and scared! (idiots)

    wish you all the luck in the world.

    March 27, 2009 at 4:18 am |
  38. ajp

    you know all this stuff yall have been hearing about mexico and the cartel recently is nothing new. this have been going on for years and years and now the u.s want to get invovled. why now? is it cause this is a reason to finally stop illegals from coming into u.s? cartels are not killings americans, there killing there own kind, so why does america care? united states should worry about there own kind. theres homeless veterans everywhere with no help from americans. theres americans losing jobs, homes, and all they have in this economy and all u woorry about is mexicans this mexicans that. United states should take care of there own before they take a step forward and try to solve something they have no control of and has nothing to do with americans. if you dont discipline your kids and if they didnt have a drug problem, cartels wouldnt be bothering. So all this, blame on U.S.A........spend millions and millions but you will never stop, never stop, illegals from coming over. you think of a way to stop them and there 5 steps ahead of you.....its always been like that and will never change. STOP WASTING TAX PAYERS MONEY AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR AMERICANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 at 4:17 am |
  39. kit

    One thing a bunch of people continue to ignore is that many of the drugs that are used today come from a plant. The Coca leave, from the coca plant is what is used to make cocaine, actually has medicinal properties. That means that it can be used in a good way. The opium flower, from opium plant, is what is used to make heroin. Guess what people, what do you think that 90% of pain medications are made from? Marijuana can be used for a multitude of medical problems. It induces muscle relaxation, creates hunger, stops nausea, relieves depression, and many more things. We can reduce that use of the illicit use of cocaine, heroin, and weed, by simple recognize the many ways that we can use them without causing problems in society. We can use them for medical purposes. A way to stabilize places like Afghanistan is to enlist their help with creating medications from the opium flower. A way to stop the fighting in many of the Middle and South America countries is to allow the use of the coca leaf. That takes away any need or desire for cocaine. Hell, the only difference between cocaine and the coca leave is that the coca doesn't have any of the addictive properties, or the dangerous properties. These plants can be used in many good ways if we just look at the facts without all the bias that the media and the government try to force on us.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:33 am |
  40. Mike

    Ok, i have watched the report and alot of it is great but your not hitting the American side of the story. I was arrested in May 08 for trafficing 423 lbs of marijuana, i have made the trip from Az to a small town in middle America over 60 times. Thats 400lbs once or twice a month for almost 3 years, and thats to a small city. So to glamorize the arrests made on shipments is stupid the amount of marijuana getting across our boarder is amazing. I'm sorry but alot these experts you have on are just reading the same ole scripted text we have been hearing for the last 20 years. The violence in Mexico is only going to get worse the more shipments seized and people arrested will only lead to more killings, the more money they loose the worse it will get i have seen it first hand.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:22 am |
  41. kit

    The truth of the matter is as long as the world and the government continues to distract and hide the full truth about drugs, people will continue to distrust anything the government says about drugs. It is alot like the way that teens learn about sex. If adults dont discuss sex with teens and be truthful with them, then teens will listen and believe thier friends, and 9 out of 10 times they will get the wrong information. When a governent portries a drug in the worst light possible, such as the 50s films protried marijuana, and they try it, and it is nothing like they were told, they will distrust and no believe anything that they were told about any other drugs. There is 14 million people who use marijuana in the US, because they know that the government is refusing to acknowledge the facts about it. Marijuana can be used to treat soo many different medical problems with 99% less side effects then the best medications on the market. Until the government comes to grips with the truth about drugs, more and more people will use drugs. Only once we all finally understand and accept all the facts about drugs will we ever control or even stop our need for drugs.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:16 am |
  42. dcoop

    It would be imperative for the U.S. government to increase the manpower of security at the border of US/Mexico. Having trained national guards with more DEA agents to combat the drugs coming over into the United States is a good way of solving the problem. The wall that seperates US/Mexico borders need to be improved & extended with towers every mile with watch guards monitoring the terrain as well as having minuature tanks patrolling the borders 24/7 to make life uneasy for the drug cartels & their distributors. Once we rebuild our security forces to deal with the drugs problem from Mexico to the US, this can reduce some of the problems of the drug trades & give citizens a piece of mind instead of being afraid about living by the border. The Mexico government & military should be included in the security project to help take some tension away.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:15 am |
  43. winar

    risky and dangerous report. Legalizing drugs absolutely not the answer.

    March 27, 2009 at 3:12 am |
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