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Hearing surprises senators

03 April 2009

Officials: Drug-war spillover exaggerated
By Ramon Bracamontes / El Paso Times

EL PASO — Sen. John Kerry and two members of his Foreign Relations Committee heard a clear message Monday in El Paso: Sending U.S. soldiers to the Mexico-U.S. border is unnecessary.

Speaking almost with one voice, police officers, politicians and border experts who testified at a Senate field hearing said a military buildup would be of no help as the United States tries to assist Mexico in its war against the drug cartels.

The drug war has claimed more than 6,000 lives in Mexico since January 2008. Blood has been spilled in just about every major Mexican city, including those along the border, leading to worries that the violence could expand to the United States. In recent weeks, law enforcement officials in Denver and Tucson have said drug violence with roots in Mexico had touched their communities.

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