Terrorism: April 9, 2003

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It's been reported that at least 14 Al Qaeda terrorists are in Mexico and are working with Mexican organized crime groups (such as drug-trafficking organizations) to infiltrate the United States. No other details about the Al Qaeda plan or its targets in the United States were disclosed.

Corruption in Mexico creates opportunities for terrorists smart enough to take advantage of them, although the link between crime and terrorism has only been firmly illustrated with the Columbian FARC rebels. Three senior Mexican army officers, including a general, were recently convicted of accepting bribes from the reputed head of a Mexican drug cartel to protect shipments of cocaine and marijuana into the United States. They received sentences of 15 years each, in a case the government hailed as a victory against organized crime. 

U.S. law enforcement authorities have long believed that Mexican drug lords moving tons of marijuana, cocaine and heroin into the United States each year were, backed by corrupt Mexican military and police officials. The smugglers often are protected by heavily armed soldiers and policemen, well-paid to escort drug shipments across the border. It is that $500 million in bribes will be paid this year alone.

Nine people were found tortured and killed outside the border city of Nuevo Laredo on April 2, with three of the four bodies dressed in shirts of a kind normally worn by Mexico's federal police. The investigation is continuing. - Adam Geibel

 

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