Agency Turf Wars Hurt Mexican Drug Battle


The Obama administration is sending hundreds more agents to the Southwest in an effort to target Mexican drug networks and limit violence spilling into the U.S., but the Wall Street Journal says the initiative could be hampered by turf wars among U.S. law-enforcement agencies. Competing units have refused to work together on the task forces that the administration is bolstering to target the drugs, guns, and cash that are fueling fighting among Mexico’s drug lords. The agencies are operating under rules that are up to three decades old.

The greatest immediate impact is likely to come from the addition of more than 360 Department of Homeland Security agents heading to the border or crossing into Mexico to work with authorities there. The deployment is expected to cost up to $184 million. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was refusing to allow some of its agents to participate in several of the special task force groups established by the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate border efforts to crack down on guns and drug proceeds headed to Mexico. The bureau investigates illegal gun sales inside the U.S., while Homeland Security enforces laws against the illegal export of guns.

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