Mexican Drug Violence Threatens U.S. States



Mexican narcotics cartel violence threatens to bleed across the border into Arizona and other states already coping with an epidemic of drug-related murders and kidnappings, law-enforcement officials told Arizona legislators yesterday, the Arizona Republic reports. Experts described gunbattles just south of the border where Mexican gangs fought rival cartels as well as police, blasting away with machine guns and lobbing hand grenades. “This is organized crime,” said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. “The enemy we are combating is extremely well organized, extremely disciplined and extremely well trained.”

Officials said bloodshed that historically has been confined to Mexico is escalating and migrating. Phoenix ranks second in the world in kidnappings for ransom, behind Mexico City. In 2008, Phoenix reported 366 abductions, mostly tied to Mexican human smugglers and narcotics gangs. “The violence associated with drug cartels is also reaching into Arizona,” said Dan Wells of the state public safety department. “This is a new and rising phenomenon that is very alarming.”

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