March 27th, 2009
10:10 PM ET

Welcome to Juarez—Now get back on your side

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/03/24/us.mexico.relations/art.mexico.juarez.afp.gi.jpg caption="A federal police officer guards a checkpoint earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico."]
Rusty Fleming
Documentary Filmmaker and Author


I’ve been documenting the Mexican drug cartels and their operations in Mexico and the U.S. on film and in print for the past four years. I’ve had a front row seat to one of the most violent and brutal uprisings in the history of our two countries and still I am amazed that so few people, especially within our government comprehend this problem and haven’t a clue as to the true effects it is having on our own society, economy and geopolitical landscape.

I’ve had the opportunity to get at close range to some of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world. Whether that has been a blessing or a curse remains to be seen, but nonetheless, it has given me insight to a situation that is not only dangerous, but frightening— to see first hand what they are successfully doing with the money, power and influence they are amassing by selling their wares to our own people and around the world.

The men that run these organizations are not a bunch of coked out cowboys, slinging their pistols in the air as they party day and night. No, these are intelligent, educated men with the resources to surround themselves with some of the sharpest minds on the planet. They run global, multi-billion dollar businesses that operate around the clock, around the world. They know the power of knowledge. They have the latest in technologies and weaponry available, they use satellites for communications and surveillance. They employ their own private armies, fully trained and armed to teeth, in order to protect their operations.

Narco-terrorism, is alive and well and it’s living amongst us, not just along our border but all over the U.S.

Want proof? Last week 750 operatives from the Sinaloa cartel were taken down in over 120 cities across the country - and I mean THIS country, the U.S. - before that last fall 500 operatives working for the Gulf cartel were arrested in an operation spanning the south. That’s 1,250 narco-terrorists operating on American soil, receiving their instructions from Mexico, all arrested here in the last six months.

Now that the Mexican military has moved in, the killings have decreased substantially but this may only be the calm before the storm. On tonight’s show you’ll see Anderson touring mass graves where victims had been left by the narco-insurgents warring for this region, others with unclaimed bodies, leaving it up to Mexican authorities to bury them until family members come forward to claim them. (Shockingly, many people don’t claim their loved ones here for fear that the cartels will retaliate against them as well) And what was most disturbing about our tour today, was the fifty or so empty graves sites that Mexican authorities had dug and ready to be filled. As we looked out over those empty grave sites it occurred to me and as I turned to Anderson I said “This war isn’t over and they [Mexican Authorities] know it.”

Filed under: Mexico • Rusty Fleming
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Cuauhtémoc Q. Kish

    I am convinced that the ONLY way to win the war on drugs in MEXICO is for the US to bankroll a MERCENARY ARMY that will replace their corrupt soldier and police force. Forget about helicopters; forget about fences, forget about any possibility of getting the "corrupt" out of the definition of Mexican police. It's imbedded too deep.

    Additionally, we need to legalize marijuana. Let's stop pretending that the customer base in the US is EVER going to go away. Seriously, when was the last time a pot smoker entered a nursing home and killed, when was the last time a pot smoker ran a red light, when was the last time that a pot smoker hit his celebrity wife?

    March 30, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, VA

    The drug business flourishes because of "supply and demand,"-eliminate the demand---there will no longer be a supply. Personal responsibility-–something an army cannot remedy--it is up to us---make the choice.

    March 30, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  3. Joey Calphalone

    Nothing a few American snipers couldn't fix, given the opportunity that is.
    I say turn the tables on them. Strike fear into their hearts and they will run like the cowards they are. Keep killing the head of the snake and eventually, no one will step up to be the head...and the body will die. The army must take the offensive, like a real war, not a police action. This is, after all, a civil war in Mexico. The cartels are challenging the legitimate authority of the Mexican government to rule the nation. Until the Mexican government adopts this philosophy and prosecutes this conflict accordingly, the current situation will endure.

    March 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm |