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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Borderless Drug Wars

The drug violence that has left nearly 4,000 people dead this year in Mexico is spreading deep into the United States, leaving a trail of slayings, kidnappings and other crimes in at least 195 cities as far afield as Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Honolulu, according to federal authorities.

The involvement of the top four Mexican drug-trafficking organizations in distribution and money-laundering on U.S. soil has brought a war once dismissed as a foreign affair to the doorstep of local communities.

Residents of the quiet Beaver Hills subdivision in Lilburn, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, awoke to the trans-border crime wave in July, when a brigade of well-armored federal and state police officers surrounded a two-story colonial home at 755 East Fork Shady Drive, ordered neighbors to lock their doors and flushed out three men described as members of a Mexican drug cartel. One was captured after he tried to slip down a storm drain. Another was caught in the ivy in Pete Bogerd’s backyard. He lives two doors up and is president of the neighborhood association.

It blew us away,” Bogerd said. “I didn’t know we had that many cops.”

A short while later, police hauled out a 31-year-old from the Dominican Republic who for nearly a week had been chained and tortured inside the basement, allegedly for not paying a $300,000 drug debt. [Mark Godsey]

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