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April 16, 2009
The Drug War in Mexico
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Confronting a security threat on America's doorstep, President Barack Obama launched a swift diplomatic mission to Mexico Thursday to show solidarity with a troubled neighbor -- and to prove that the U.S. is serious about halting the deadly flow of drugs and weapons. The escalating drug war in Mexico is spilling into the United States and onto Obama's lap as a foreign crisis much closer than North Korea or Afghanistan. Mexico is the main hub for cocaine and other drugs entering the U.S.; the United States is the primary source of guns used in Mexico's drug-related killings. Mexican President Felipe Calderon's aggressive stand against drug cartels has won him the aid of the U.S. and the prominent political backing of Obama -- never as evident as on Thursday, when the popular U.S. president is sure to stand with Calderon on his own turf and note his courage. (22 images)

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A soldier stands guard next to the crime scene where a man was murdered and other wounded in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday, April 9. Drug violence has spiked since President Felipe Calderon began a national crackdown on organized crime in 2006. Battles among cartels, their rivals and soldiers have led to nearly 9,000 deaths and a cross-border crime spillover. AP / Rodrigo Abd


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A relative attends the funeral of Eduardo Gonzalez Ramirez, 40, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, April 14. According to Ramirez's grandmother, Esequia Leiva Pena, he was detained by soldiers one week ago and that was the last time he was seen alive. Enrique Torres, spokesman for a joint military-police operation in Chihuahua state, said the army did not arrest Ramirez and that criminals sometimes pose as soldiers. Ramirez, 40, was beaten to death, according to forensics. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Relatives mourn over the body of Eduardo Gonzalez Ramirez, 40, at his funeral in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, April 14. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Drug addicts get high along the Tijuana River near the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, March 8. President Barack Obama has provided more money, technology and manpower to secure the U.S. border region, and is seeking $350 million in new Pentagon funds to help Mexico fight drug trafficking. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Drug addicts sleep as others get high along the Tijuana River near the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, March 8. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Alleged drug traffickers and items seized from them are displayed to the press in Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, April 2. AP / Guillermo Arias



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A police officer walks by a detainee sleeping in a temporary detention center in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, March 8. AP / Guillermo Arias



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A soldier stands on guard in front of packages containing marijuana at a warehouse in Tecate, Mexico, Wednesday, April 8. Mexican Army soldiers found 297 packages containing 1900 kilograms of marijuana during an operation in a warehouse in the border town of Tecate. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Arrested suspects cover their faces as they sit in a police vehicle after their detention in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, March 7. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Police officers search suspects for drugs and weapons in the Zona Norte of Tijuana, Mexico, Monday, March 9. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Police officers search residents for drugs in the Zona Norte of Tijuana, Mexico, Monday, March 9. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Soldiers stand guard at a crime scene where a man was shot in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, April 14. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Boys look on as soldiers stand guard where a man was shot in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, April 14. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Federal police guard a crime scene where a man was shot in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, April 14. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Police officers point at seized weapons as detained suspects stand after a presentation to the media in Tecate, Mexico, early Wednesday, April 8. Mexico`s federal police arrested 21 suspects related to the organized crime, 12 of whom are allegedly involved on a shooting against federal police officers on Tuesday in Tecate. AP / Guillermo Arias



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A man who was arrested looks at a police officer in downtown Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, April 13. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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A federal police officer takes pictures at the site where two Tijuana's police officers were shot and injured in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, April 11. Drug violence has spiked since Mexico's President Felipe Calderon began a national crackdown on organized crime in 2006. Battles among cartels, their rivals and soldiers have led to nearly 9,000 deaths and a cross-border crime spillover. AP / Guillermo Arias



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Morgue workers carry the body of an unidentified man who was murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Sunday, April 12. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Relatives mourn the dead of Miguel Angel Elizalde, 28, who was killed by unknown assailants in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico, late Wednesday, April 8. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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A boy touches a statue of the "Santa Muerte," or "Death Saint," during a protest by the folk saint's followers against the destruction of their shrines in Mexico City, Sunday, April 5. Mexico's government is targeting the folk saint, destroying "Santa Muerte" shrines in its all-out war on the cartels, saying the unofficial religion is usually a sign of something more sinister: Crime, drugs, even brutal killings. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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A woman wearing a tattoo of Mexican folk saint "Santa Muerte," or "Death Saint," attends a protest organized by its followers against the destruction of the saint's shrines in Mexico City, Sunday, April 12. the folk saint, destroying its shrines in its all-out war on the drug cartels, and saying the unofficial religion is usually a sign of something more sinister: Crime, drugs, even brutal killings. AP / Eduardo Verdugo



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Martin Gutierrez Lopez, second from right, a recovering drug addicted, gestures after being baptized by evangelical pastors of the "El Senor es mi Pastor" church in the Bravo river, U.S.-Mexico border, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Saturday, April 11. Gutierrez currently takes part in a rehabilitation program organized by that evangelical church. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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