Las Cruces – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman said the deaths of three individuals with ties to the U.S. Consulate - two of them Americans -- in Ciudad Juarez on Sunday demonstrates the strong need to continue joint U.S.-Mexico operations to dismantle Mexican drug cartels.
"Like all Americans, I am outraged by these brutal murders and I send my deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in these vicious attacks," Bingaman said. "These acts of violence should strengthen our resolve to continue working together to break the backs of the drug cartels."
An estimated 17,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Calderon began cracking down on drug cartels in 2006, with about 4,700 deaths in Juarez since 2008. Under the Merida Initiative, a bi-lateral partnership signed in 2007, the United States has allocated about $1.5 billion to help fight drug trafficking.
The Obama administration's fiscal year 2011 budget includes an additional $410 million for the Merida Initiative as well as $17 million to bolster Bingaman's efforts to address the flow of weapons being smuggled into Mexico.
"The United States has taken significant steps in partnering with Mexico to fight drug cartels. But we must do more to address the underlying cause of this criminal activity -- our country's demand for illegal narcotics. In addition to providing law enforcement assistance to Mexico, we also need to do more on our side of the border to reduce drug use and stop illegal weapons trafficking," Bingaman said.
Bingaman said he hopes Congress supports funding to continue fighting drug cartels, as well as reducing the demand for drugs, when it writes the spending bills that fund government operations.