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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. Dave Somers

    I used to work in Cd. Juarez as a consultante for a pharmaceutical company under the auspices of NAFTA. Back in 2000, there were plenty of problems, including the drug trafficking, poverty, the constant street vendors at the border crossings, but the administrative and law enforcement there was the most perilous. While working with a Cuban national, we encountered many problems getting permissions to cross the border and moving around the city. Many local vendors were suffering from the lack of commerce for the fine artifacts and special pottery and art that could be found in the commercial center.

    Despite that, I met many nice, helpful and honest people, struggling to make a life for themselves and willing to learn. Unfortunately, there is also a perceptible class divide between the well-to-do living in guarded, gated communities and the poor in the city. While wary of some areas, I enjoyed working there for the most part. Perhaps the press can focus on the broader, social aspects of the city and it's people, the businesses struggling to survive and their indigenous artists.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:58 am |
  2. maria. Idaho

    Hello Anderson! Today was a very important day for me. I became a US citizen. Pretty cool & this is one of the many reasons why I love it here. I was also sad to leave my Mexico but it really isnt a place that helped ME get ahead. I love my heritage but I don't regret leaving. Also I have many relatives in Juarez & guess what, they are scared to go out of their homes to go to work or even for groceries, so when I read on the blog that it wasn't that bad? Who are you kidding!

    Viva Mexico But most importantly Viva USA

    March 27, 2009 at 12:53 am |
  3. michael mahabag

    to the people who dont remember prohibition .yes the violence over acohol stopped then switched to the next illegal moneymaker thanks when will we learn be a old river or big bomb take the path of least resistence.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:50 am |
  4. Thomas

    The position of "Drug Czar" was created in 1988; after taking office in 2001 ... Bush appointed the nation's first Drug Czar in 1989, director William Bennett

    Please interview Bennet , he can spin the issue of FAILED DRUG POICY , just as he dose with every thing else he talks about !

    Another ex bureaucrat who takes no responsbility for his poicyis !

    March 27, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  5. Pete ,it does"t take a rocketscientist

    Did we just call it quits in the 80's after the drug war in florida?Where was the follow up on the drug trade with the columbians,mexico,the other south american countries?I guess our corporations and business elite were so intent in profiting from cheap labor/immigrants and shipping all of our jobs abroad they didn"t foresee crime,drugs, that came along with an open border ,now are schools are in disaray,the medical system is overloaded ,and many communities in california and our soutwestern states are near bankrupt.You build the wall/fence,you patrol, you build search areas near our point of entries, and you post signs warning of 4 to 6 hour delays,and then you build more search areas behind them, why not if you fly ,you can expect these delays in the name of [terroism]and [saftey] ,and then you militarize our side of the border as a show of unity and force that our country means business.The cartels have a foothold in 230 cities ,and the gangs associated with them are in every cummunity across the land! If we"ll just secure the border , we can funnel all the trafficing into these highly efficent search areas!We put a man on the moon,I know we have the ability ,to secure the border,to stop the illegal trade that travels both direction ,unless we want to turn a blind eye like we have for the past 30 years!

    March 27, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  6. Jackie, Florida

    Why haven't we heard more about the border til now, people have to die before the rest of the nations hears about it. Glad your there to tell and show us what is going on.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:39 am |
  7. DTK, New York

    Dear Anderson and crew,

    This report is very disturbing especially because I have a teenage son.
    It is not a situation that will be easy to resolve however we do need to educate our teens and show them the consequences of their desire to use drugs. There is a total disconnect in the mind of a teenager with regards to their usage and your story, so I suggest your report be made available to all the middle and high schools and colleges. It may discourage a few of them from using drugs which is fueling this horrendous and very scary cartel madness.

    As for adults, I hope they get the therapy they need to get off drugs. Perhaps legalizing marijuana and taxing it highly is worth a try to see if it may at least stop this awful bloodshed but I cannot see legalizing any other drugs.

    What has thi world come to?

    March 27, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  8. claire

    Hi Anderson

    I never want to see any type of drug legalize on either side of the border, Canada, US or elsewhere.
    I live in Vancouver BC, and have protested over the legal Heroin Injection site in Vancouver eastside where addicts can shoot up in safe environment with addiction dr, nurses and therapist that work there.
    When they opened this site about 4 yrs ago, its brought a different element of crime to our city, that filters outside of the poorest neighbourhood in Canada.
    It doesn't work, I don't care what Europe does, in my city this site has promoted using heroin or drugs can be done safely 1 block away from the VPD? I say shut it down, never make any type of drug legal, or set up clinics similiar to this, or your city or neighbouring muncipalities will see crimes rise.
    Its a joke, disgrace to my city and its not helping any addict in any way.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:35 am |
  9. Lawrence Cushing

    Hello Anderson Cooper at the Mexico boarder, What is wrong with this country America? from South America to South East Asia they are laughing at us. How can we play this failed policy for 50 years, When Drug prohibition ends, we take the profit out of black market drugs, all these drug dealers will need to get a real job. Be 21 or be gone, just like alcohol. You can't have a war on drugs, this is a war on American people, What we put into our body, is our God given right. It is more important then your right to (VOTE). The only way this will stop is to make it legal, take away the profit. School children are not spending $40 Billion a year on drugs, PLEASE -These are Americans from every walk of life. including me, Remember, It was all legal prior to the Harrison Act. Larry

    March 27, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  10. Michele

    I lived in El Paso for 3 years. I loved being so close to Mexico and went to Juarez weekly. I never felt unsafe. . This is heartbreaking to me. I have friends who are still there. It is their home and where they are raising their children. They are working everyday to make life in Jaurez better for the poor.
    This problem goes deeper than the topics making headlines. Poverty and desperation play a role in this, as well. Drug cartels pay much better than other jobs in Mexico. The population of Juarez has exploded in the past ten years. People coming from the interior to get jobs in international factories for less than $100 per week. They arrive without any of the family network that is so common in Mexican families.There is no grandma or aunt to care for the children while the parents work. Children are left unsupervised and education often ends by third grade. Older children care for the little ones. We are so worried about illegal immigrants coming to our country. Who can blame them?? They face a life of devastating poverty or life in the drug cartels. Who would want that for their children?

    March 27, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  11. Blood on WHOSE hands?

    Al Capone needed feds to "crack down" on alcohol trafficking to make more money. Mexican cartels need feds to "crack down" on drug trafficking to make more money. Same, exact problem. Same exact solution. Legalize, regulate and tax - both production, and consumption. Today, now that it's legal, nobody tries to buy alcohol from criminals. Tomorrow, when it'll be legal, nobody will try to buy pot from criminals. Those who destroy the possibility of legal trade - making criminals the only providers - have more blood on their hands than any recreational and medical marijuana user.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  12. Raul, Juarez, MX

    I live in juarez, i have been living here for the last 19 years and i have not gotten hurt for the drug violence. it is not too bad to live here. I have a great job and i am going to school. I only can say that Juarez is a great city that does not deserve to be seen as a battleground.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  13. Jill

    I am a 53 yr old women and I smoke pot on a reg. night basis and I know many many people my age smoking pot. I beleive they should make pot legilized. Smoking pot is like having a few beers. I know more people smoke than don't. I live in St. Louis, Mo and I am a dental assistant. I keep a full time job and have no problem at work. I do not smoke during the day when I work. I DO NOT believe they should legilize anything but pot. Other drugs should not be legalized. I have tried coke and I don't think that it shold be or any other drugs as herion or other hard drugs. I am a normal person and most people do not know I smoke. It make me feel more at a mellow state. Drinking to me is worse. If I had to get in a car with someone that smoked a joint or drank 4 beers, I will drive with the person that smoked the joint. ty. please legalize so little people like me don't feel like we are doing a really bad thing. JM St. Louis,MO

    March 27, 2009 at 12:25 am |
  14. Paul S, Houston Tx

    My thoughts and prayers are with the late Deputy U.S. Marshall and his family.

    Please let's NOT FORGET that he's "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY"

    He has the same rights that drug smugglers have, too bad we will never know the truth, someone made damn sure of that.

    God Bless.them all !!!

    March 27, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  15. Solbro

    Anderson,

    I am an American who lived in Mexico for 8 years.

    Mexico CANNOT win the corruption problem without invervention. And it is the corruption problem that has exasterbated the whole issue. Its like poring gasoline on a fire. Imagine what its like when your police force want 'in on the action'. We need to support the civil institution of Mexico (the whole criminial justice system) as we have done in Iraq. This was the war that Bush should have fought.

    Secondly,

    Its is now getting boring that you do not have the guts to separate marijuana from the rest of the illegal drugs. Most educated Americans atleast recognize that marijuana is now part of our culture and that it can be 'humorous' when some one is high (its a common occurence in modern cinema). There is wide spread recognition that it can have pharmaceutical benefits. That does not go for any of the hard drugs. We don't group prescription drugs with asprin. Why can't you have the guts to be real about it. Are you being 'politically correct'? That's not to say that it is not addictive or anything else. Just its really becoming a part of the American landscape... like shots of tequila.. or Jack Daniels. Its time the veil comes off and we atleast admit that it is now part of us... and we are not so sure that is bad.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  16. russ ; old vet

    All I'm saying is Hilary Clinton has a right too talk for OBAMA'S govt. She has no right too say in my behalf as a American in two War's that its the American's that caused this. And that reporter that let her get away with that in Mexico needs to look for another job. YA! Like this is a big set up. Clinton's have been trying there best to stop anyone that has a gun, to turn them in. So she goes on the world stage and puts out the word guns from the US its are screw up. PLEASE. Go to NZ or down under and stay. We have the cops being layed off up here and all over. So is Clinton going to take care of the families in American, that can't reach that cop in time. So drink all the Koolaid you want when they come a knoken on the door ask if they are the police or if they are MS-13 or EME. Cause AC if you believe these guys knok, just ask the governors that don't believe in the law. Example (287g) Say what?? These thugs believe in one thing, MONEY. If they will kill some for just chump change what do you think they would do for big money. So ask the right question and you get the correct answer. But if you ask a Clinton a question god knows what the answer will be. Take away the Koolaid and let Larry ask his dum question's. Then you get pupie dog stuff or what every NANNY'S talk about.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  17. Claudia

    Anderson,
    Thank you for this indepth reporting.
    One of your guests last night mentioned about the kidnapping situation in Mexico in particular advised tourists against taking taxis.

    Well, back in 1997, I was living and working as a communications executive in Mexico City and one night after work I became a victim of a kidnapping in a green ecological taxi (where 2 men came into our taxi with guns and the driver was involved) and my partner and I were held for about an hour at gunpoint, all our belonging stolen along with verbal mistreatment. Luckily, I was not rapped and just dropped off at a unfamiliar area after my partner was taken out of the taxi.

    I was fortunate to leave with my life and dignity. However, when I reported my story to the police; there were hundreds of cases of foreigners and nationals that were not so lucky; particularly women were rapped and later killed and husbands or boyfriends were forced to watch. In many cases, as mine, the police were involved in these abuses. It was as moonlighting gig for them to get past the economic crisis at that time.

    As you see, this terrible situation has been plaguing this beautiful and friendly country for many years. The idea in people's minds in Mexico City is that if one is not kidnapped one has not been fully inducted into the everyday way of life. Everyone in my office had a story to tell me about themselves, a relative and friend experiencing a taxi express kidnapping.

    I also reported my incident to the American Embassy in hopes that by sharing my story it would help to raise awareness to visitors and others moving to Mexico. They too reported on a plethora of cases from Americans that were aggravated or killed in taxis. The State Dept issued warnings.

    So, it is disappointing and sad to hear and see images that the situation from almost 12 years ago from my incident has taken a turn for the worse.

    Wishing you all the best for your show's continuing success in providing compelling coverage that I hope will bring consciousness to people and governments.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  18. tux

    The violence in Mexico is just the result of 30+ years of people poverty and goverment corruption.
    Drugs aren't new, drugs have been a part of the Mexican and American culture since the 60's only the size of the problem has changed, now it is way bigger and way more violent.
    In the past the goverment was dealing with just a few cartels, so they keep 'em under control, somewhere in the way high officials in the goverment got greedy and cartels multiplied. THERE IS NO WAY cartels could do business without someone in the goverment by their side. I DON'T CARE IF IS MEXICO OR USA nobody can move drugs forever without protection, and the bosses in some of this cartels have been around for as much as 20 years or even more. President Calderon is fighting a war that past presidents never fought (I remember Carlos Salinas de Gortari talking on tv "Mexico will never reach a Colombian level of violence" Do I need to say he was wrong? I can remember in 1998 the killings in "El Rodeo" (Ensenada, Baja California) 19 dead, even babies where killed in this act. It was just a wake up call for the authorities, but who could touch the Arellano Felix cartel? What about the discoteca Christine? The Cardenal Posadas Ocampo in 1993? This is not something new, it is just bigger and way out of control. What really makes me mad is the fact that people is surprised about it. What did you expect? Poor people without education living a successful and happy life? I am born and grown in Mexico and I feel sad and ashamed of my country, but we are just getting what we deserve after years and years of ignoring problems, now we say "USA is the cause of our drug problems" "USA is consuming our drugs" "USA is providing the guns for the cartels" and in some part this is true, but the reality is that the one to blame is the MEXICAN PEOPLE, we see things and we just let it go, we promote corruption, and in general we just allowed our country to fall in a big hole trough the years. It's going to take lots of blood to wash the mistakes of the past, but MEXICO WILL NOT FALL to the cartels.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:18 am |
  19. Mary Greer

    Anderson, I'm Aghast at what I've learned from your last 2 nights show on the War next Door! I'm a mother of 7 adult children and 13 grandchildren, several of whom have been through drugs.. Just went thru an intervention and after the education your show is giving me I wonder if a movie documentary that could be seen by all our drug users would make them realize that what they are the major Stars creating this horrible, violent loss of good lives. It's hard to take in, especially since I had no idea to how the cartell is making it's living! We are definitely to blame. Rhab is expensive and available to only those insured but hopefully, could that be made more accessible by our new Government?

    March 27, 2009 at 12:16 am |
  20. jared kroeger

    do you want help or excuses

    March 27, 2009 at 12:16 am |
  21. Kevin

    Should marijuana be legal? You tell me. Everyday I open the paper and see someone killed by a drunk driver or a drunk man beating his wife etc.... Obviously society would come to halt if everyone was stoned, same as if everyone was drunk, but I don't see that happening. I will not vouch for the other drugs mentioned because they are stronger, more addictive, etc.... Any right minded, practical, informed person in the know could tell you marijuana is by far less problematic than alcohol, and that is legal.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  22. gail Hoelzel

    The violence in Mexico is not new news to us living in Texas. This has been a problem for many years. When the country was vocal on the war in Iraq we had one happening 4 hours from the state capitol. Popular tourist places in Mexico for Americans to go have dried up with many of the businesses and people moving to the US to escape the violence which has now spread to the Rio Grande Valley. The US is trying to help Mexico, but the first thing Mexico needs to do is secure its border crossings. Mexico needs our help with bringing its crossing up to the same modern standards as the US. If you have ever driven across the US / Mexico bridge you know the long lines are the ones going out and not coming into Mexico. The show tonight did a good job of showing what the US is doing to keep our borders safe. It is only fair that Mexico does its part and that the US is not expected to monitor what is going in and out of Mexico.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  23. earl metcalf

    the only way to win the "war on drugs" is to take the money away. any and all other polices have not and will not work. the coca farmers in south America earn about $100 per kilo for paste. the money is in the transportation and disrtibution of the cocaine. sell in the drug store for $1 a gram then the mony goes away. this is the only solution for this grave problem. this means that the law inforcement DEA and others involved in this "war" will lose money and will not have a job. the present policy is self preservation for these groups. these groups only compound the problem. drug users need help not prison. as in WI.
    thanks for reading. a world trravler for 40 years and knows the reality.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  24. Sue Hill

    Anderson, I cannot believe people are seriously considering legalizing drug use. People with such ideas have obviously not lived around or been impacted by drug users to even *think* such a thing would improve the quality of American or Mexican lives in any way. I would like you to have some drug rehab workers on your program to speak about how negatively drug use can impact not just the individual using, but others all around that person at home, work or even in the community. It is absolutely preposterous to consider such a shallow, short sited idea as a potential solution. PLEASE get some experts on your shows who can speak to long term impacts of drug use on the human brain, long term impacts on other vital organs, on those impacted by secondhand use, e.g. children of drug users, etc....On the emotional deadening of the person who is dependent and the suffering of those who love them. And many drugs are addictive, not just dependency forming. How absurd to legalize addicting subtances, after we've spent many, many years with 'Truth" campaigns about big tobacco to break the cycle of cigarette adoption. STOP THE MADNESS by reporting only the 'economic' side of the discussion.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  25. Levonia Clark

    Anderson, you know and I know " A baby comes home in a blanket "

    Keep them honest Anderson – Levonia

    March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  26. Rick, Albuquerque

    Drugs should be legalized.....but lets face it, there's a strong oppocition againt legalizing them... and it's not going to happen becouse people are being killed in Mexico. We americans hold a high regard for human life,,, AMERICAN LIVES. We don't care enough about Mexican lives... We could care less how many people get kill over there, as long as we are OK,, we'll keep consuming drugs. Conservatives don't believe violence can actually cross the border and touch in a more personal way.. When it happens hopefully they'll open their eyes.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  27. scooby

    the sherrife that you just had on that is against legalizing drugs is against it because he would be out the money they steal and the houses and cars and other items they take in drug raids. and i know this to be true cause my friend was arrested for coke first affence when he got out two days later he whent to get his car out of impound and they took his wheels sterio system and laught at him nothing could be done. there are more dirty cops then good and when you get ridd of the bad ones they put more bad ones back in thats why he is against it but since prohabition dosnt work the next step in the laws eyes is to go round up all the lawyers and judges movie starsschool teachers drug counslers.yes is aid drug counslers i know dudes in chicago that work for the mayors that that go and do coke.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  28. Gandalf

    Strange everybody thinks this is a new problem in Mexico. I can remember back when there was virtually no violence on the border by drug smugglers, this changed when Mr Juarez and Mr Tijuana( I can't remember there names), who controlled most drugs crossing the border were attacked in Juarez while entering a building together killing Mr Juarez and severely wounding Mr Tijuana. After their departure from the scene the violence escalated to a small extent between drug gangs on the border. The violence seems to have escalated as the drug cartels were kicked out of Columbia and Panama..

    Guns are not illegal in Mexico, just an ordinary citizen being able to own a gun is, if you want to have a weapon, join a political party or union etc security force and it is legal for a Mexican to carry a weapon, usually a semi automatic pistol on their hip. If guarding the headquarters you had a rifle while guarding the door..

    I have a solution to the problem of drug, cigarette alcohol abuse, just shoot anybody who uses illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, abuses alcohol, a dollar bullet also solves over population problem and global warming..

    March 27, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  29. Kevin

    Dear Anderson,

    We live and are stationed at FT Hauchuca AZ. I am in a border town and I want to thank you for reporting on the problems down here. I go to certain spots and run across dope and or ILLIEGAL Aliens all the time. I usually have to carry my Glock and AR-15 with me. The Arizona DPS, Chocise County Sheriffs, and the Border Patrol, are doing the best they can. I take great pride in knowing when I am out in the desert hunting that I can call these guys/gals and they will come and get this crap off the streets. Sincerely CSM K.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  30. RonB

    Legalize marijuana, since by CNN reported statistics this will reduce foreign dependency on the drug by 14 million (likely 4-8 times that). This will blow a major hole in the Mexican smuggling of drugs, making it less profitable.
    Contrary to ignorance and the alcohol boycotters, I speculate it would actually reduce the dependence on hard drugs, and best of all create far better jobs than by continuing to militarize the country with law enforcement.
    We have laws for consumption, and laws for not smoking in public places. There are so so many families’ lives ruined by alcohol abuse, a legal drug. Most families’ lives are damaged by marijuana use because it is illegal. It should be a choice like alcohol and tobacco, governed by law, and not a crime punishable by law, abusive special interest law.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  31. Maria from texas

    I hope Pres. Omaba views your interview with the mid-level cartel member.In describing the cartel's mentality. Hearing the interview myself and having enjoyed Smoking weed; it's my glass of wine, for 33 yrs now I was saddened Omaba will not consider legalizing Weed.Pros and cons.Let's consider.Pros– pot is the most imported soft drug, the most consumed and the hardest to get across. The tax revenue would be very substancial. The cartel would definetly be hurt, even in My beloved Texas. The DEA and Marshals could reroute their efforts on the destructive drugs i.e. Cocaine, meth and heroin. I can't think of one con, well maybe one ,Liquor and Beer companies stocks may dip a little. Many persons that drink say they would rather smoke a joint, but thats means a piss test could mean their careers i.e. doctors, lawyers,judges,stock traders, etc. would be over. Let's face it folks, legalizing pot would not end the cartels, the corruption, the violence. It won't prevent the civil war in mexico that seems a very real possibility, but I would much rather pay taxes to the gov't than to have blood on my hands by having to rely on those damn thugs for my smoke.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  32. Marlene Petta

    Hi A/C
    Wow! Are you quick on the pick up, and getting the real cast together to send an extremely accurate cast together in a heartbeat. I learned so much, too. How can you possibly put this reality checking together so quick? The only think of, is with the help of God. This clarifies for me too the most impotant things we have in common, the disire and bravery to dicover the truth, and use it for the greater good. We ar both relentless, as is our father, and it is very obvious to me that you too, have done everything in your human powere to walk in the path of Jesus, although both us of us probably have a lot of flaws, which makes us human, and yet God loves us so much that with our hearts in the right place, and never having promised any of us rose Garden , is so generous with the gifts and blessings he keeps on on giving us, that He'll always take all of his chidren right where we are at. You truly have a heart of gold. God is clearly using us for his divine purposed
    to be served.

    I'm sure what you are picking up, too, is that a lot of the corruption of th Drug Lords is really about survival and fear for their families, as th worst of them all are actually becoming more and more desparate
    and threatened. It doest seem to really have any thing to do with money, but more more fear of being shamed from being stripped
    of their power, and losing the war.

    Honestly, I think that the best plan is to offer free copies of your program to all schools, and advertise its availability. and call it "The Truth About Drugs." I still think the biggest drug problems with kid and
    adults inlude tobacco and alcohol. In most European Companies, Alcohol is served with every meal and as a beverage.

    I agree with the Predient, don't legalize it, because Mexico and other countries will always be able to undercut us. Perhaps all tens, hower, shoud hav a period of random drug screnes, before they can can get their driver's license. Driving a car will, I bet, become much more powerful incentive than experimenting with drugs.

    In the last ten years or so, so many parents who lived in tthe city would never even let their kids ou of the house, or even go to the house of a friend whose parent, and kids, they did not know. The population in Detroit proper has become much mare sparce, with most families who wanted better education, governement with law enforcement void of corruption, and rarely even let their kid get anywhere. near Eight Mile Road or below.

    What an an incredible masterpiece you accomplished, and knowing exactly what questions to ask, to get down to the real truth, a great deal beyond my level of knowledge, and the real heart breaking reality for all of us and our kids.

    The cat I had for 17 years prior to mandy was always by my side and underfoot as well. Put the poor thing always made sure we knew when we accidentally stepped on his tail.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  33. IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR TONIGHTS SHOW

    ANDERSON: Report on this: The cartel wars in Mexico are also heavily politized. One political party supporting Cartel A and the other party supporting Cartel B. Drug money goes to politicians (Mayors Congressmen Public Servants etc.) as they have deep pockets to finance their campaigns. When a state governor belongs to a party different to that from the president (which is the case of Chihuahua) all hell breaks loose. You have the Sinaloa Cartel backed by public servants in the federal government fighting the Juarez Cartel backed by public servants in the Chihuahua government. Skeptic? Go to youtube and search for the video titeled 'quitapuercos' and follow the comments from all the characters of both cartels disclosing each-other`s operations. In Mexico these are known as 'cibernarcos' they use the internet to divulge their crimes and intimidate rival cartels and authorities not working for them.

    March 27, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  34. Paul S, Houston Tx

    After working as an under cover operative for the U S Gov for the past 20 years I don't see how we think we can stop the Mexicans from bringing stuff over here when we can't ever stop some of our own troops from bringing small arms back from Iraq, as I know from a recent investigation that some weapons from Iraq end up in Mexico seeing how a fully auto AK47 will sell for less than $2,000 in the US and in Mexico its worth anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on where in Mexico you try to sell it at.

    The reason I no longer work with the Goverment is because of all the corruption in our federal and local law enforcement, with me not being a certified agent I can't carry a weapon and when you have a corrupt agent or inspector that will sell my id- to a cartel for $5,000 to $10,000
    my life and my families life is worth more than that.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  35. Micky Mike

    I'm a resident of El Paso : I Love El Paso; I think its great that Anderson Cooper actually came to the Pass of the North to report a story unlike someone bias like Bill O'Reilly who thinks the Mexican Border is south of Bagdad!
    El Paso is a safe community, and that may be due to all the Law enforcement agencies we have including Fort Bliss. The truth is, is that when I was a young boy, I rode my bicycle to Juarez,,life was free, people were beautiful, and are still wonderful today,and yet I haven't gone there in years because of the violence.
    The answer to the problem is simple, the solution is even more simple, If all the Gringos,WASP East Coast Yuppies and Rich nothing better to do losers would stop using drugs and buying them there would be no problem, and Juarez would return to what it once was. All you East Coast users get your drugs from Canada ,England ,Italy,Germany or where ever you came from. Just stay out of West Texas!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  36. Jim in Alabama

    What yall have to realize is that Mr. Almonte will be out of a job just like the drug cartel's. He is defending his job!!! It's time for this country to wake-up!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  37. Steve Kz

    You ask law enforcement for a solution and you will get a law enforcement solution that we have tried for many years and have failed at.

    I worked as a police officer and in law enforcement in the LA area and can tell you that generally speaking, they are not forward thinking, innovative, big picture thinking people. They think from the gut and not from a science based, research based, innovative perspective.

    Ask experts in the medical field, addictions experts, experts on families, and prevention experts.

    The real danger to families is crack, meth, alcohol, oxycontin, etc, etc. Check the science based research. Focus on these. Don't waste your time and efforts on marijuana, benign plant (again check the research from medical associations).

    Law enforcement are experts at what they do, and we have the best. But making policy is not what they excell in. We have tried that and failed.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  38. Colby

    Anderson –
    In light of the argument that American demand is fueling the violence along the Mexican-American Border perhaps you would be interested in reporting on the details of this relationship. I have long believed a public awareness campaign should be developed to educate drug users as to how their money and demand for drugs directly supports violent criminal activity. I know many people who believe their recreational drug use is all fun and no harm is done to anyone else. However, what the recreational drug user fails to understand is that their “good time” supports unthinkable and truly gruesome crimes the world over.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  39. Carlos from CA

    Hey people, how are you doing? You know this buzz about leagalizing marijuana, is that really going to solve the problem? Why do people just give up so and surrender to what currupts society, drugs and weapons.
    What we need is a very strong campaign against drug abuse and a much stronger gun controle policy.
    Lets stop blaming other people for our problems. If we don’t fix the root of the problem -demand for recreational drugs – all that will happen is that the power of the cartels will shift from Mexico to another country.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  40. burns

    anderson,
    please help me understand how billions of dollars have been spent to fight the stop of illegal immigration and the war on drugs on the U.S.A. and Mexican border but there is still no continous fence, wall or iron gates blocking canals into the United States of America; such as the iron gate that has been behind you during your special on the Mexican/Texas border?

    Burns

    March 26, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  41. russ ; old vet

    AC; Talk too LOU DOBBS alot over the years. Just one thing about the Border! There is no border, its a open highway from Columbia to Canada. Don't drink the Koolaid down there cause the water is bad. And take anything Clinton comes out with ; with a grain of salt. Guns coming from a what store. Man these gun's are coming from all over the world. Ask that thug if his buddies are in the eme or a few other gangs hanging out every where. Check with the people at CNN; and not Larry King. or Wolf there sided show's. Go too the people who know!!!!! Lou's troops have been there and dun that. And not that Limie from down under either. He needs to stay in Iraq or Iran where he knows what is going on. Let you're crew go with Case out there in LA. Now that guy can show you where the bodies are. Old Vet

    March 26, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  42. Harold

    Why don't we protect our own border and put the ARMY on the border and stop all these drugs from coming in?

    March 26, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  43. Dodie

    My daughter is supposed to go on a Mexico mission trip in Ensenada
    Mexico. over Spring Break.She will be driving from Sacramento CA across the border from San Diego. Would you advise it? Why or why not?

    March 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  44. G

    Helloooooooo! It's time for you drug users to wake up!
    Everytime you buy illegal drugs then you're contributing to
    illegal crimes including the murder of innocent people!
    All of you are enabling these people to kill and control
    everyone around them! You are directly responsible for these
    crimes.

    If you really want to use drugs then move to Amsterdam.
    Read this carefully; IF THERE ARE NO USERS THEN THERE
    ARE NO SELLERS! That's the ultimate solution to the illegal
    drug problem.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  45. Nelson Davis

    I'm going to be 54 in June, and I've grown up with, and so far lived through, a never ending war on drugs.

    The top guys, for the most part, never get caught, and for some odd reason, the US Govt can never find all those hundreds of billions of dollars from the drug sales. How can that really be? I simply don't believe it.

    The fasted way to end this violent murder spree south of the Border, is to legalize and regulate street drugs. Overnight, the drug cartels will collapse.

    We've tried everything, and nothing works. America has the largest population of prisoners in the world.

    Time to lift prohibition of illegal drugs and wipe out the cartels and bring all this madness under control.

    Of course, those who profit from the drug trade are the ones who scream loudest about continuing the war on drugs. It's in their financial interest to keep drugs illegal.

    This is so funny. We invaded Iraq under the false argument that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, that he supported the terrorist who attacked our country, and yet, across our southern border.................nada.

    Ah, Saddam, one day, the good dictator, the next, the bad dictator......

    So, the war on drugs? We win by legalizing and regulating illicit drugs, just like we did alcoholic beverages

    March 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  46. SCOTT FROM UTAH

    they need to secure the point of entry on both sides of the border, not just the u.s. side! you try entering the u.s. from mexico it's not perfect but it's still a hundred times better than what mexico is doing! because mexico is doing nothing about it! they make it so easy to cross! all you have to do is pay a toll and you are in! come on are you serious! the military operation in mexico is a front, in my mind! unless they do something to slow down or stop illegal goods from entering mexico from the u.s. until something is done about the port of entry going into mexico! the rest is pointless and also shows that mexico may say they want to stop the drugs and violence but yet it's an open flood gate for anyone and anything to enter mexico! so lets not let mexico pull the wool over our eyes, they need to step up and do something about it! until then, things will stay the same!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  47. Brian

    Anderson,

    One of your guests were trying to make a comment on one of your questions that you redirected. The question involved all drug users in America having a hand in the "War Next Door".

    Your guest (i didnt catch his name). Was starting to state that if your using drugs legally for medical purposes i.e. through california medical dispensory's you are receiving marijuana purchased legally through Medical Dispensary's grown by native Californian's. Which the Mexican Cartels have no hand in and makes no profit from. This should be living proof that through partial legalization it has pulled the power from Mexican Cartels.

    All Californians I know dont buy/utitlize low grade brick weed from Mexico. You can always tell if the marijuana is Mexican because Mexican marijuana is compacted/flattened for transportation. They like to utilize American grown high grade marijuana that in turns stimlates the economy by the transfer of money remaining in the U.S.

    Also, you will soon see more monetary benefits in California from the new legislation being passed to raise and regulate the taxes to all medical marijuana purhcases.

    I don't condone use or use myself. Im just stating the facts.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:50 pm |
  48. Brian

    it is beyond ridiculous to blame pot smokers for the killing. the blame belongs to "lawmakers" for making it illegal, who would step up and admit how stupid that is? (certainly not those dishonest cowards) if "used" by adults, you tell everybody what harm that does? now compare it to alcohal or even prescription abuse.
    Brian

    March 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  49. Veronica

    I think the word corruption is misused when people do not have a choice, when their family's life depends on their cooperation, probably the word subdued describes it better.
    They should legalize marijuana!

    March 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  50. Nick R

    Thanks for the important and quality reporting on the southern border. However, I am concerned and a little dismayed by the lack of coverage on the emergency in Fargo. Clearly the latter is a more current and pressing concern. There seems to be a greater concern for AC360's agenda and programming rather than the people of the Red River Valley.

    March 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
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