10/25/11: The New York Times reports that American law enforcement agencies have significantly built up networks of Mexican informants that have allowed them to secretly infiltrate some of that country’s most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations, according to security officials on both sides of the border. The informants have helped Mexican authorities capture or kill about two dozen high-ranking and midlevel drug traffickers, and sometimes have given American counternarcotics agents access to the top leaders of the cartels they are trying to dismantle.
09/26/11: The Small Wars Journal reports that the recent publication of the US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), National Drug Threat Assessment 2011 (August 2011) provides an important strategic insight into Mexican cartel penetration into the United States. The report finds that Mexican-based transnational criminal operations were functioning in more than a thousand US cities during 2009-2010, 500 percent higher than previously estimated.
08/07/11: The New York Times reports that the United States is expanding its role in Mexico’s bloody fight against drug trafficking organizations, sending new CIA operatives and retired military personnel to the country and considering plans to deploy private security contractors in hopes of turning around a multibillion-dollar effort that so far has shown few results.
04/06/11: The Washington Post reports that countries around the world are concerned about the increasingly global reach of Mexican drug cartels, according to a statement by the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The United States is particularly worried about the spread of Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican gang blamed for the killing of a US immigration agent in February and the massacre of 72 migrants in northern Mexico last year.
04/01/11: The Washington Post reports that Mexican forces have been battling the La Familia drug cartel aided by technology and intelligence from the US, including overflights by drone aircraft and sophisticated software to eavesdrop on cellphone calls. With just 18 months left in his six-year term, President Felipe Calderon is working to show that his US-backed strategy of sending thousands of soldiers and police to fight the traffickers is working and that his government can calm the storm of gruesome violence that has killed more than 35,000 people.
03/21/11: The Financial Times reports that the US ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, has resigned following mounting friction between the countries over WikiLeaks cables that criticize Mexican government efforts to combat drugs cartels. Tensions between Pascual and Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s centre-right president, had worsened weeks after the US diplomat described the Mexican army as inefficient. His resignation is understood to be the first WikiLeaks casualty of a US diplomat in a foreign posting.
02/16/11: The Los Angeles Times reports that a US federal agent was shot dead Tuesday and a second wounded. The agents were intercepted by gunmen as they drove from Mexico City into a part of central Mexico increasingly under the influence of violent drug traffickers. The two special agents were with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and were apparently ambushed at the kind of fake roadblock often set up by traffickers and their henchmen.
09/04/10: The Washington Post reports that the State Department has determined that Mexico can receive millions in anti-drug money that was contingent on its human-rights performance, but officials said Friday that they are withholding additional funds in hopes of seeing more progress.
05/20/10: The Washington Times reports that Mexican President Felipe Calderon called on Congress Thursday to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons that he said are ending up in the hands of violent drug cartels south of the border. Speaking before a joint session of lawmakers, Mr. Calderon echoed statements by President Obama that the US bears some responsibility in propping up the drug trade with America's demand for narcotics and its supply of guns.
03/30/10: The Washington Post reports that Mexican army soldiers have detained an alleged leader of a violent cross-border drug gang who authorities suspect is involved in the slayings this month of three people linked to the US consulate in Ciudad Juarez.
03/24/10: The Washington Post reports that US and Mexican officials said Tuesday that they will seek to bolster nonmilitary spending on police and courts and look for ways to help ravaged communities, but they offered few concrete proposals for fighting the powerful drug cartels. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who led a high-powered delegation of Cabinet members to Mexico, said she and her counterpart, Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, agreed on the need for a joint survey to better understand the whys and hows of drug consumption in the two countries.
02/25/10: CNN reports that diplomatic officials denied there are plans to have American intelligence officials embedded with Mexican units. The statement was part of a flurry of reaffirmations of where the United States and Mexico stand with each other in relation to anti-drug operations in Mexico, spurred by a Washington Post report that US agents would be embedded with Mexican law enforcement units.
02/24/10: The Washington Post reports that for the first time, US officials plan to embed American intelligence agents in Mexican law enforcement units to help pursue drug cartel leaders and their hit men operating in the most violent city in Mexico. The increasingly close partnership between the two countries, born of frustration over the exploding death toll in Ciudad Juarez, would place US agents and analysts in a Mexican command center in this border city to share drug intelligence gathered from informants and intercepted communications.
12/27/09: The Washington Post reports that senior Mexican officials have begun a sweeping review of the military's two-year occupation of this dangerous border city, concluding that the US-backed deployment of thousands of soldiers against drug traffickers has failed to control the violence and crime.
11/23/09: The Washington Post reports that the Mexican military has convicted just one soldier of a serious human rights violation during a bloody, three-year campaign against drug traffickers, according to Interior Ministry figures that are significantly lower than those reported by the US government. The Mexican military has come under scrutiny because of a surge in complaints against soldiers, including allegations of torture, beatings and illegal raids and arrests. The Mexican army is leading the fight against the powerful drug cartels as part of President Felipe Calderón's US-backed strategy to put 45,000 troops into the streets and employ soldiers as police.
11/13/09: CNN reports that in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, business leaders are so concerned about spiraling drug cartel-related violence that they have asked the United Nations to send in peacekeeping soldiers to restore calm.
10/31/09: The New York Times reports that authorities in the United States and Mexico have agreed to have some Mexicans caught smuggling drugs into the United States returned to Mexico for prosecution, breaking with a longstanding drug enforcement practice.
08/20/09: The LA Times reports that Mexican drug cartels have spread to "our own backyards," Attorney General Eric Holder said today as he announced a dozen new indictments aimed at capturing suspected kingpins so they can stand trial in US courts. The indictments of 10 alleged bosses of the cartels and 33 other suspects expand previous US efforts to decapitate the cartels' senior leadership.
08/18/09: The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration has concluded that Mexico is working hard to protect human rights while its army and police battle the drug cartels, paving the way for the release of millions of dollars in additional federal aid.
08/17/09: The Washington Post reports that Mexico has replaced all 700 of its customs inspectors with agents newly trained to detect contraband such as guns, drugs, and big-ticket appliances smuggled to avoid import fees. The shake-up -- part of an effort to root out corruption and improve vigilance at Mexican ports with new technology -- doubled the size of Mexico's customs inspection force.
07/24/09: The LA Times has an editorial reporting on the growing number of human rights abuses attributed to the Mexican army in the drug war, and arguing that until Mexico acts to bring its army under effective rule of law, the United States should make the case for justice by trimming a symbolic 15% from its aid package.
07/13/09: The LA Times reports that Ciudad Juarez resembles a city under military occupation as President Felipe Calderon ratchets up his war against drug traffickers. Calderon launched the military offensive 10 days after assuming office in December 2006, saying it was necessary to restore government authority in parts of the country. Today, 2 1/2 years later, Calderon and Mexico face a stark reality: The longer and harder the war is prosecuted, the more complex and daunting it becomes.
07/09/09: The Washington Post reports that the Mexican army has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers, according to documents and interviews with victims, their families, political leaders and human rights monitors.
06/23/09: The New York Times reports that Mexican drug cartels recruit young men from both countries and operate their smuggling and murder-for-hire rings on both sides of the divide.
06/18/09: The LA Times reports that a recent GAO report found that the United States lacks a coordinated strategy to stem the flow of weapons smuggled across its southern border, a failure that has fueled the rise of powerful criminal cartels and violence in Mexico.
06/08/09: The LA Times reports that Arizona Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard says Western Union consistently has rejected requests for cooperation, undermining efforts in Arizona to go after the crime cartels that control much of the increasingly violent trade in humans, drugs, weapons and laundered cash from their havens in Mexico.
06/06/09: CNN reports that the White House has unveiled a strategy to combat rising drug crimes along the Southwest border, vowing to curb the flow of narcotics and weapons that has been endangering more and more US communities.
04/21/09: The Washington Post reports that a few months ago, the mayor of the most violent city in Mexico would sometimes sleep across the border in El Paso for safety. Now, with the military firmly in control of Ciudad Juarez, an entire day can pass without a single drug-related killing. Violence has plummeted here since President Felipe Calderón dispatched thousands of soldiers to take over public security, a strategy designed to crush the drug gangs that turned Juarez into a symbol of lawlessness.
04/16/09: The Washington Post reports that President Barack Obama, during his visit to Mexico City, was expected to announce today his support of an Inter-American Arms Trafficking Treaty which would curb the flow of arms and ammunition from the US to cartels and other criminal groups throughout the hemisphere. Formally known as the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Items, the treaty has 33 signatories in the hemisphere, but the US is one of four signatories that has not yet ratified the treaty, though US officials claim the government has sought to abide by the treaty's spirit for years. If ratified, the treaty would require countries to take a number of steps to reduce the illegal trade in arms, ammunition, and explosives.
04/15/09: The Washington Post reports that President Obama, acting under the authority given to him by the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, identified three Mexican drug cartels as kingpins and directed the Treasury Department to seize their assets.
04/06/09: The New York Times reports on efforts by the Obama administration to deploy hundreds of customs agents to US-Mexico border checkpoints, where they will augment efforts to monitor cash and weapons flows from the US to Mexico.
04/05/09: The Washington Post reports that after promising $1.4 billion last year under a landmark initiative to help fight drug trafficking in Mexico, the U.S. government has spent almost none of the money, fanning criticism on both sides of the border that the United States is failing to respond quickly to the deepening crisis.
04/04/09: An op-ed in the Washington Post writes that the Mexican government is in a fight to the death with powerful drug cartels, and the Obama administration's main focus appears to be preventing the violence from crossing our border. Yet allowing the cartels to win would be disastrous for the Mexican people and dangerous for the United States. U.S. strategy should be not just to bolster our borders but to help Mexico establish the rule of law and score a decisive victory against the cartels that both menace that country and threaten our own security and prosperity.
04/04/09: The New York Times reports that US AG Eric Holder and his Mexican counterpart, Eduardo Medina-Mora, said the stakes of their new efforts to stem the drug violence wreaking havoc in Mexico were high for both countries. Both men dismissed assertions in a Pentagon report in December that the crisis had pushed Mexico to the verge of becoming a failed state.
04/03/09: Jurist reports that the Mexican Senate passed an amendment to the country's constitution that would permit seizure of property from suspected drug traffickers and other criminals prior to conviction. Under the proposed amendment, which will now be sent to the lower house, prosecutors may seek the seizure of property and income derived from organized crime; currently, a conviction on the charges is required before property can be seized.
04/03/09: The Financial Times has an editorial discussing the US's role in Mexico's drug war and the fragility of the country's government. The Financial Times also reports on the US's role in arming Mexican drug gangs.
04/02/09: The AP reports that the Obama administration's top cops and their Mexican counterparts are looking for ways to stop arms smuggling across the border as well as new strategies for fighting the drug cartels that have fueled violence in both countries. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has traced 95 percent of the weapons seized at the scenes of Mexican drug violence back to the U.S.
04/02/09: The Miami Herald and the AP report that the Obama administration plans to spend more than $400 million to upgrade ports of entry and surveillance technologies to help thwart drugs and arms smuggling along the U.S-Mexico border. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that the projects will help keep violence from spilling across the border.
04/01/09: The Arizona Republic reports that while Mexico has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the world, the country's drug cartels are armed to the teeth with high-powered illegal weapons because guns are so easy to buy in the United States and smuggle over the border.
04/01/09: Fox.com reports that the Violence Policy Center today released a comprehensive study of how the U.S. civilian firearms market contributes to the ongoing drug-related violence in Mexico. The report urges the Obama administration to take immediate action under the federal 1968 Gun Control Act to cut off imports into the U.S. of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons and "cop-killer" handguns capable of piercing police body armor. Such weapons are imported into the U.S. and then illegally trafficked into Mexico.
03/31/09: The New York Times reports that President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, during an official visit to London, said his country and the United States would work as partners in the fight against violent drug cartels but would not conduct joint military operations against them.
03/30/09: Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts argues in an opinion in the LA Times that helping Mexico take on the drug cartels helps the US, but the effort will require unprecedented cooperation between the two countries. Senator Kerry recommended several areas that needed improved cooperation, including, stopping the flow of handguns across the border, shutting down the US demand for illegal drugs, better intelligence sharing, and recommending ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Weapons and Explosives.
03/27/09: CNN has a commentary piece by Wayne LaPierre, the former executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association of America, who argues that the Mexican drug war is not a reason to restrict gun ownership in the U.S. He argues that Attorney General Eric Holder is making good on his promise to ban guns citing the Mexican cartel killings as the excuse to resurrect the Clinton gun ban.
03/25/09: The Miami Herald reports that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton admitted that the US shared in the liability for the US - Mexico border violence, stating that America's "insatiable" demand for illegal drugs and inability to stop weapons smuggling into Mexico are fueling an alarming spike in violence along the border. She said the administration will work with Mexican authorities to improve security on both sides of the border.
03/25/09: CNN and Reuters report that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano unveiled a $700 million plan on Tuesday to help Mexico fight violent drug cartels, which includes a U.S. crackdown on the flow of weapons and money into Mexico. The move sets the stage for visits to Mexico by three administration Cabinet members, starting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an effort to stem drug-related violence and prevent it from spilling into the United States.
03/25/09: The Boston Globe has an oped arguing that "Hillary Clinton should take advantage of this week's visit to Mexico to openly question the Mexican government's failing human rights record." Mexican "President Felipe Calderón has centered his anti-drug strategy almost exclusively on the use of the military," and "if the United States wants to support a lasting peace south of the border, it should complement its military support with demands to respect basic civil liberties."
03/24/09: The New York Times reports that the Obama administration announced sharp increases in the number of federal agents and the use of high technology along the Mexican border, as part of a series of steps aimed at preventing violence, drugs and money from spilling into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security plans to double the size of both its border enforcement task forces and its violent criminal aliens teams, to triple the number of intelligence analysts along the southwest border, and to quadruple the number of border liaison officers working with Mexican law enforcement officials.
03/24/09: National Review Online examines Mexico’s current troubles including the drug wars’ heavy toll and recent violence against the police. The article concludes that Mexico is not a failed state, and won’t be any time soon. In fact, the reason for the explosion of violence is precisely that the state is asserting itself, trying to end the cozy and corrupt arrangements that allowed drug cartels to buy all the pols and cops they needed to conduct their business unmolested.
03/22/09: The Washington Post features a piece which states that there were 368 reported kidnappings for ransom in Phoenix last year -- perhaps more than anywhere else, other than Mexico City, where kidnapping is such a long-established industry that the wealthy sometimes buy kidnap insurance. Law-abiding citizens here are rarely at risk. Most of the kidnappings are drug smugglers and human traffickers preying on one another.
03/19/09: The Washington Post features an opinion piece which argues that the chaos in Mexico is the result of its government's decision to wage war against rampant drug cartels that are fighting mostly against each other but also against the portions of Mexican law enforcement they have not corrupted. Operating in that nation's north, they are serving this nation's appetite for illegal narcotics and illegal immigrants.
03/17/09: The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that the Mexican drug cartels, which have set up shop in hundreds of U.S. cities, pose a "real security concern," the nation's commander of homeland defense told a congressional committee Tuesday. Gen. Gene Renuart testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee with three other unified command chiefs who addressed issues ranging from piracy off the Somalian coast to Russian naval exercises.
03/13/09: Former DHS Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Julie Myers Wood argues in Security Debrief that the outdated memoranda of agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice which limit DHS authority to independently investigate cross-border drug activity should be revised to grant DHS officials more freedom to operate.
03/09/09: The Houston Chronicle reports on how wealthy Mexicans and their families are fleeing the drug-related violence now roiling Mexican towns bordering the United States.
03/08/09: CNN reports that President Obama and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on Saturday discussed how the U.S. military can assist Mexico in addressing growing violence from drug cartels. The conversation, which Obama initiated within hours of Mullen's return to the United States from a visit to Mexico City, underscores the growing concern with which the United States views the situation.
03/05/09: The Miami Herald reports that the drug violence in Mexico has gotten so bad that booming numbers of Mexican and American professionals are having their cars fitted with armor plates, bulletproof glass and James Bond-style gadgets such as electrified door handles and push-button smokescreens.
02/27/09: The Times of London reports that a wave of 755 arrests in the US of Sinaloa drug cartel members, a cartel based in the Mexican state of the same name, has weakened the cartel. Meanwhile, Mexican authorities announced their intention to send 5,000 ground troops into the lawless town of Ciudad Juarez which sits in Mexico directly across the US border from El Paso, Texas. US Attorney General Eric Holder called Sinaloa and other Mexican drug gangs "a national security threat" and said the gangs will be "destroyed."
01/31/09: Homeland Security Blogwatch reports that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano intends to lead a crack down on the flow of firearms illicitly smuggled to Mexican drug gangs operating in Mexico along the Texas border.
01/08/09: The New York Times reports that DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff is developing plans for a "surge" of civilian and perhaps even military law enforcement should the bloodshed from the Mexican drug wars spread across the US - Mexico border. Chertoff said, "We completed a contingency plan for border violence, so if we did get a significant spillover, we have a surge."
Thread: US - Mexico border drug war