Security on the southern border of the United States has been recently increased, just days after a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The former First Lady avowed that the U.S. shares some of the responsibility for the current war between narco gangs and Mexican authorities, with a resultant spillover north of the border. Customs officials on the border are seizing weapons and cash in an effort to stem the tide of illicit supplies to the narcotics cartels now engaged in open warfare on each other and Mexican law enforcement.
In Laredo TX, one of the busiest border checkpoints, border officials seized more than USD$5 million in cash and weapons during the month of February 2009. Other border crossing points have harvested even greater seizures. Mexican authorities have complained for years of what they have termed the laxness of their American counterparts towards the flow of weapons legally purchased in the U.S. and bound towards its southern neighbor. Mexican authorities claim that weapons purchased in the U.S., legally or illegally, wind up in the hands of the drug cartels.
In response, U.S. Customs officials are checking more vehicles on their way into the U.S. and using drug-sniffing dogs to find illicit drugs. President Obama announced this past week that he was offering $184 million towards better border security, chastened by the concerns voiced by governors and mayors of border states and cities. According to Spanish daily ABC, Mayor Raúl Salinas of Laredo applauded the news saying “The Obama plan is a good start but we need more agents on the ground. The plan still comes up short.” Added the mayor, “We want to put police check points all along the border and on the international bridges.”