Javier Emilio Pérez Ortega, a Mexican police chief, showed up at a sleepy, two-lane border crossing last month and asked U.S. authorities for political asylum, reports the Washington Post. In the four months he had served as Puerto Palomas police chief, drug traffickers had threatened to kill him and his officers if they tried to block the flow of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines into the U.S. As President Bush met this week with Mexican President Felipe Calderón in New Orleans, the repercussions of Mexico’s battle with drug cartels are increasingly gushing into the U.S.
“Mexico’s problem is Sheriff Cobos’s problem,” said Sheriff Raymond Cobos, whose jurisdiction in Luna County, N.M., stretches to the border with Puerto Palomas. Cobos ordered a major state highway closed after shootouts in Puerto Palomas. Gunfire is often heard by residents of Columbus, as well as by Border Patrol agents, who have significantly increased their vigilance.