Tons of heroin and cocaine move north across the Southwestern border, and millions of dollars and truckloads of weapons move south feeding the escalating levels of violence that have turned parts of Mexico into war zones and spread as far as North Texas, says the Dallas Morning News. At least 80 percent of the weapons used by drug traffickers in Mexico come from the U.S., Mexican officials say. They’ve repeatedly asked the U.S. for more help in stopping the flow of weapons.
On Monday, U.S. and Mexican officials unveiled a cooperative effort called Armas Cruzadas to disrupt cross-border weapons smuggling through the sharing of databases and better monitoring of illicit sales at guns shops and guns shows. On Tuesday, the U.S. House authorized spending $1.6 billion over the next three years to help Mexico and other countries counter growing drug violence, including $74 million for the Justice Department to stem the flow of guns south. Funding will have to come separately. Operation Armas Cruzadas grew out of the unprecedented cooperation between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies at every level, said Julie Myers of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. “We’re getting good intelligence and they’re extraditing more top-level criminals than ever before,” she said.