Mexico's drug war in the US

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MARCO WERMAN: The Mexican newspaper, El Universal, has been running a series this week focusing on drug-trafficking north of the border, in the United States. The Mexican newspaper reports that the drug cartels are increasing their operations inside the US, and that includes bribing officials in several US border states. The reports are paired with editorials that say the US should stop blaming Mexico, and do more to stop the drug trade on its own soil. One of the reporters on the series is Evangelina Hernandez. She's in Mexico City. So tell us what you found out regarding corruption on the US side of the border, corruption specifically.

EVANGELINA HERNANDEZ: First of all, the US authorities recognize the corruption is inside of the agencies, federal, state or in the local authority. We talk with people from the border patrol, the DAA and police in the different places in the border. They have some of the elements under investigation, or even in jail, because they receive money from the Mexican drug cartels.

WERMAN: And when you say they've received money, are you talking about law enforcement officials receiving money?

HERNANDEZ: Yes.

WERMAN: US officials recognize there is corruption, but it's a completely different thing to have solid proof of corruption. Does proof exist?

HERNANDEZ: Oh yeah, of course. Last month, the Sheriff in Texas now is in jail--

WERMAN: In Texas.

HERNANDEZ: -- and received sentences for 25 years in jail, because he accept money from the Mexican cartel.

WERMAN: I think a lot of Americans will say, "Yeah, sure there's drug trafficking here, and wherever there are drugs and lots of money, there's going to be corruption, but none of this is as bad as in Mexico." What did your reporting say about that?

HERNANDEZ: Maybe the difference is, in Mexico, the corruption is in the agencies.

WERMAN: In Mexico, you believe it's the corruption is within the agencies.

HERNANDEZ: The difference in United States is, you pay one official, yeah? In the border patrol or the local police. But the situation is, if you pay one of them, they open the way to put the drugs inside on the United States.

WERMAN: So in other words, the officials who are taking these bribes are not necessarily being told by drug kingpins in Mexico to let these trucks through, but the drug kingpins are giving their mules the money to pay off people at the border, American officials at the border.

HERNANDEZ: Yes.

WERMAN: What kind of drugs are we talking about coming over the border?

HERNANDEZ: Cocaine, marijuana, and heroin, methamphetamine.

WERMAN: Let me ask you this, I mean, based on what you found out through your reporting, what do you think the United States should do to change its anti-narcotics policy?

HERNANDEZ: For me, we share the problem, Mexico and United States. We fight with the army. We need to help the young people to have more values and don't look for everything they've found in the drugs, abuse of drugs. You have to use doctors and psychologists and people who help people.

WERMAN: Why did your newspaper embark on this series?

HERNANDEZ: You know what, all the time we Mexican people are blamed because of the official discourse in the United States. It's, "Mexico is trafficking drugs and they came with drugs to the United States, sell drugs in United States." But what are they doing? Why the Department of Justice says, "The Mexican trafficking organizations, they put drugs in the US border and use the freeways to trafficking drugs inside US territory?" And I say, who gives the control to the Mexican cartels, to have the power in United States? The US border has strong security.

WERMAN: Evangelina Hernandez, a reporter with El Universal in Mexico City. Thank you very much for your time.

HERNANDEZ: Thank you.