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US, Mexico security chiefs agree more cooperation is need to stop drug, arms trafficking

US, Mexico security chiefs agree more cooperation is need to stop drug, arms trafficking

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff praised the Mexican government's fight against drug cartels, but warned that there has been an "uptick" in attacks on U.S. Border Patrol officers by criminal gangs.
Chertoff spoke at a gathering of Cabinet-level representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico to discuss security and economic issues in the Baja California resort of Los Cabos.
The Homeland Security secretary praised Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who has sent thousands of federal police and soldiers to outlying states to try to stem a wave of bloody battles and assassinations linked to disputes between drug cartels.
"I think the Calderon administration has done an exemplary job, a wonderful job, in tackling these organized criminal groups," Chertoff said.
But he noted that "we have seen an uptick in violence against our Border Patrol by these organized criminal groups."
A U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in January when he was run over by a suspected drug smuggler.
Chertoff also pledged to move forward with innovations to safely speed border crossings.
"We are moving forward with a number of forms of identifying documents that ... will allow people to move more quickly through the border than they can now, and yet will be more accurate in identifying criminals," Chertoff said.
In February, the U.S. launched a "passport card" that will be the size of credit card and include security features.
Chertoff's remarks suggest more such innovations are coming.
"The key in the end is to use technology, ingenuity and planning to find a way to advance a border plan that allows the vast majority of travelers and traders to move unhindered," Chertoff said, "while keeping out and identifying those people who are a danger to our communities."
U.S. officials at the meeting defended the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, the 1994 trade accord that has come in for harsh criticism from candidates in the U.S. Democratic primary race. The officials said NAFTA has helped the economies of all three countries.


Updated : 2021-04-11 03:12 GMT+08:00