[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/03/25/mexico.political.asylum/art.juarez.afp.gi.jpg caption="Mexican federal police recently began patrolling Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas."]
Steve Fainaru and William Booth
The Washington Post
President Felipe Calderón is rapidly escalating the Mexican army's role in the war against drug traffickers, deploying nearly 50 percent of its combat-ready troops along the U.S.-Mexico border and throughout the country, while retired army officers take command of local police forces and the military supplies civilian authorities with automatic weapons and grenades.
U.S. and Mexican officials describe the drug cartels as a widening narco-insurgency. The four major drug states average a total of 12 murders a day, characterized by ambushes, gun battles, executions and decapitated bodies left by the side of the road. In the villages and cities where the traffickers hold sway, daily life now takes place against a martial backdrop of round-the-clock patrols, pre-dawn raids and roadblocks manned by masked young soldiers.
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