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Klobuchar: Shutting Down Mexican Drug Cartels Vital to Combating Drugs, Violence in Minnesota

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 5:27 am

Washington, D.C. – During a Judiciary Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said she was deeply concerned about the spike in drug-smuggling activities by Mexican drug cartels that are bringing dangerous drugs like meth to Minnesota.  Klobuchar questioned law enforcement officials about what can be done to combat the recent rise in violence of these cartels.

“As a former prosecutor, I saw firsthand the devastation that drugs bring to our communities and I worked to shut down drug operations like meth labs in Minnesota,” said Klobuchar.  “We must remain vigilant in our fight against drugs.  The cartels have spread their destructive influence from Mexico all the way up to Minnesota. This is a national problem that will require the full attention and cooperation of federal, state, and local law enforcement.”

Last month, federal law enforcement officials arrested 27 individuals in the Twin Cities with ties to Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel as part of Operation Xcellerator, a nationwide strike at one of the dominant Mexican drug cartels.  The sting operation resulted in 755 arrests and the seizure of over $59 million.  The investigation exposed the cartel’s operations in Mexico, Canada and the United States.

During her tenure as prosecutor of Minnesota’s largest county, Hennepin county, Senator Klobuchar worked to crackdown on meth production labs and Minnesota passed tough legislation to prevent the production of meth.  Now, production has shifted to “super labs” run by cartels in Mexico. It is estimated that 80 percent of the methamphetamine in the U.S. is produced in Mexico, with the cartels controlling a similar percentage of the meth supply in Minnesota.

Throughout northern Mexico, drug-related violence, including killings and kidnappings, has skyrocketed in recent months as Mexican law enforcement authorities have broadened their crackdown on the cartels, some of which rank among the largest crime syndicates in the world.

The hearing, “Law Enforcement Responses to Mexican Drug Cartels,” was held by the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs.  Witnesses at the panel included Arizona Attorney General, Terry Goddard, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

Assistant Director for Field Operations, William Hoover and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Administrator and Chief of Intelligence, Anthony P. Placido.

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