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Homeland Security: Drug cartels top threat

March 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Drug cartels are the biggest organized crime threat to the United States. That's what the Homeland Security Department's head of operations, Roger Rufe, told a congressional committee Thursday. Violence linked to the Mexican drug rings has been seen in cities from Phoenix to Atlanta. In Mexico, officials say more than a thousand people have been killed in drug related violence this year.

Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says it's time for the U.S. to take action.

"The United states and this Congress cannot ignore our role in assisting our neighbor and ally in this fight, and of course preventing that violence from slipping into the united states," Sanchez said.

Homeland Security officials say American troops could be used as a last resort to secure the border. President Obama says now is not the time to militarize the situation. Mexico blames the flow of weapons across the border from the U.S. for part of the problem.

The Mexican government has deployed 700 extra federal police to Ciudad Juarez to help combat the activities of the drug cartels. That's because local police are swamped with the drug violence. Earlier this month more than 3,000 Mexican federal troops were sent to the city.


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