Obama Bolsters Anti-Cartel Forces on U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON --- Responding to escalating drug violence in the American Southwest, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano announced today several Southwest border initiatives
designed to crack down on Mexican drug cartels through enhanced border

The plan calls for additional personnel, increased
intelligence capability and better coordination with state, local and
Mexican law enforcement authorities.

“This issue requires immediate action,” said Napolitano.
“We are guided by two very clear objectives. First, we are going to do
everything we can to prevent the violence in Mexico from spilling over
across the border. And second, we will do all in our power to help
President Calderón crack down on these drug cartels in Mexico.”

The DHS says the announcements reflect an emphasis on information sharing and
integration with state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as
an effort to further engage Mexican authorities.

With violence
escalating across the border, Napolitano will increase
personnel and improve screening and technology to help Mexico target
illegal guns, drugs and cash. In addition, DHS will initiate strategic redeployments totaling more
than 360 additional officers and agents at the border and in Mexico.
Costs across the board, totaling up to $184 million, will be revenue
neutral, funded by realigning from less urgent activities, fund
balances, and, in some cases, reprogramming.

DHS will double assignments to ICE’s Border Enforcement Security
Task Forces (BEST), from 95 to 190, at a cost of $5.7 million; triple
the number of intelligence analysts working at the border, at a cost of
$3.3 million; and increase ICE Attaché personnel, agents working in
troubled areas in Mexico such as Ciudad Juarez and Hermosillo, by 50
percent, from 24 to 36 agents, at a cost of $650,000. The ICE Attaché
in Mexico City seized more than $25 million in U.S. currency since
fiscal year 2008 through a partnership with CBP called Operation

In addition, Napolitano announced that ICE will double
agents assigned to Criminal Alien Program Violent Criminal Alien
Sections, located in the five Southwest border field offices, adding 50
agents and officers, at a cost of $2.3 million; and quadruple the
number of agents designated as Border Liaison Officers, who work to
create cooperative relationships between U.S. and Mexican law
enforcement authorities, from 10 to 40, at no cost.

DHS will also send new technology to the border, bolstering Secure
Communities biometric identification deployment at locations at the
highest risk for violence committed by criminal aliens, at a cost of
$95 million, and implementing 100 percent southbound rail screening
using non-intrusive inspection equipment to detect anomalies in rail

In addition, CBP and ICE officials have seen significant success in
confiscating illegal weapons and cash headed Southbound at the
Southwest border. On Friday, CBP officers at Lincoln-Juarez
International Bridge in Laredo, Texas, seized nearly $3 million in U.S.
currency hidden in a bus. Operation Armas Cuzadas seized 997 firearms
at or near the border during March 7-13. In total, that operation has
captured more than $4.5 million over nine weeks.



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