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McKeon expresses concern about drug trafficking violence

Posted: March 18, 2010 2:48 p.m.
Updated: March 18, 2010 5:00 p.m.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C - In light of the tragic loss of three people connected with the U.S. Consulate in Mexico last weekend, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) today pressed the Department of Defense on Mexican drug trafficking violence. The following exchange took place at a House Armed Services Committee hearing with the U.S. Southern and Northern Commands:

"Let me begin with one of the most imminent national security challenges on our nation's doorstep: the narco-criminal enterprise operating in Mexico. As both the Ranking Member of this Committee, as well as a representative of southern California, I am deeply concerned with the scourge of violence fueled by the ongoing battles among powerful cartels.

"The recent killings in Ciudad Juarez illustrate the danger and reach of the escalating drug war. Soon after he took office, President Obama honed in on this issue, endorsing the Merida Initiative, which was passed by Congress in 2008.

"But that interest seems to be flagging, even though the violence is not. In 2009, narco-related violence reached all-time highs with nearly 8,000 drug-related murders in Mexico. According to some, violence this year is expected to be even higher.

"Mexico cannot win its war without America's help and we cannot afford for Mexico to lose. From your perspective, where and how should we build upon the momentum initiated by Merida and translate that effort into a lasting partnership? What role do you see NORTHCOM playing in terms of building the capacity of the Mexican military to counter the threats it faces?"

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