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Napolitano: Mexico Not A Narco-State "At This Point"

(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says Mexico is "not at this point" in danger of becoming a failed narco-state. But she says the ongoing drug cartel related violence is a threat to both Mexico and the United States.

Napolitano will be traveling to Mexico City April 1-3 to meet with her security counterparts and attend a conference on arms trafficking. Attorney General Eric Holder will also be there.

Napolitano says the Obama administration is very focused on Mexico and is in the process of increasing security efforts along the border. Additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol officers are being deployed, and the administration is still working on a broader plan to deal with potential "spillover violence," though details are not yet available.

Most of the violence involves "cartel on cartel" fighting. So far, Napolitano says, U.S. officials do not see any evidence that cartels are targeting law enforcement or border officials on this side of the border. There has been an increase in the number of kidnappings in the Southwest U.S., but Napolitano says they largely seem to involve drug gangs targeting other drug gangs.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are bolstering efforts to choke off the flow of weapons heading to Mexico. Various sensors, scales, and license plate readers are being used to identify suspicious vehicles, with some success. For example, 997 firearms were confiscated in one week this month.

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