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Drugs, Weapons and Mexico

Richard Engel writes: I just returned to New York from Mexico. The drug war in Mexico is truly an amazing story with major implications for the United States. When seen from the ground it is clear that this is a battle for control of Mexico, a war for the rule of law, as the Mexican government struggles to take power back from seven main drug cartels. The United States and Mexico are intertwined in this struggle. The cross-border smuggling goes both ways, with drugs flowing north to American consumers, and weapons and money traveling south to the cartels. Officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Department of Homeland Security have repeatedly confirmed this two-way street. Perhaps Billy Hoover, a senior ATF official said it best. In an article in US News & World Report last year Hoover is quoted as saying, “No trucker wants to waste a trip by traveling with an empty load, and, likewise, the people who bring narcotics north simply put weapons into their cars for the trip south.”

Several viewers, however, wrote in to point out that I erred when describing the exact kind of weapons moving to Mexico. I said assault rifles and .50 caliber "machine guns.” According to a veteran ATF official, it would have been more accurate to say “.50 caliber rifles -- bolt action or semi-automatic.” Thank you for the sharp ears. I apologize for any confusion. More stories on Mexico are coming up. Hope you keep watching.