The Obama Administration is moving forward with a new plan to stop the flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels.
Under the new policy, four border states - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas - will be required to report the sales of high-powered rifles. The National Rifle Association says it plans to sue, calling the plan illegal.
This morning on American Morning, Kiran Chetry speaks with Dennis Henigan, acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and Chris W. Cox, chief lobbyist of the National Rifle Association of America. She asks them about the pros and cons of this new plan.
Tim Padgett, Latin America Bureau Chief for TIME magazine, wrote the magazine's latest cover story, titled "The War next door: Why Mexico's drug violence is America's problem too," focusing on how the Mexican drug war has reached a turning point.
While violence is at an all-time high, public outrage has also reached new heights. Padgett joins Kiran Chetry today on American Morning to talk about a grassroots demonstration that has grown in the country and to comment on how both the US and Mexican governments are handling the drug war problem.
U.S. and Mexican officials continuing their investigation of the disappearance and alleged death of American David Hartley, despite the grisly murder of the lead investigator. Hartley’s wife, Tiffany, claims her husband was killed by drug pirates on the Falcon Lake. Tiffany Hartley spoke with American Morning's John Roberts about the latest in the case.
(CNN) – The brutal drug trade violence in Mexico is pushing our neighbor to the brink and forcing many of its residents to flee their homeland. But many people, looking for a way out of the chaos, are facing enormous obstacles here in the United States. Our Thelma Gutierrez has the report.
The state of Arizona is finding itself on the front line of the war against Mexican drug cartels. Their attorney general will meet this week with leaders of other southwestern states to try to stop the flow of drugs across the border with Mexico. To do that, they say they will have to stop the flow of cash as well, including a new way smugglers are trying to get past the cash-sniffing dogs.
Lawmakers say gift card technology is now making it easier for drug lords to move cash across the border undetected. These 'stored value instruments' are often issued by offshore banks and allow large sums of money to be moved throughout the world. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.
Kiran Chetry: Walk us through these gift cards. How have they become so useful to the drug cartels?
Terry Goddard: This isn't your Starbucks or Best Buy gift cards. What we're talking about here are stored value instruments, which have chips in them…that basically can store fairly large amounts of cash. The total amount is undetermined; it depends on who the depositing bank or financial institution is. As a result, since they're not considered monetary instruments, they can be taken across the border and you don't break any laws. It is a huge loophole in our financial crimes observations.
Chetry: So you're talking about gift cards, these blank cards that can be preloaded with large amounts of cash. How do they cash it in once they get across the border?
Goddard: These basically are your passport for cash. They are your way of getting into a financial institution. If you're buying coffee with them, obviously your return is not that big. But if you've got a participating financial institution, say in the Cayman Islands or in Central America, then all you have to do is go to a group that corresponds with that financial institution, present your card and take out your cash. So there's nothing at the border that you have to display. Under U.S. law, these cards, however much they may be worth are not considered financial instruments. Therefore, the border patrol, customs agents when they see them there is no violation because they're not part of the money that you're required to declare. And they can't read them, which is a big problem. Basically we need to have transparency so that if a law enforcement agency looks at one of these cards, he or she knows how much it is worth.
President Obama makes his first trip to Mexico today as drug violence continues to plague the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be with the president on his visit. She joined Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning Thursday.
Kiran Chetry: We heard from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said America's insatiable demand for drugs is in part fueling the drug wars. Do you think we're partly to blame for the violence we've been seeing along the border?
Janet Napolitano: Well, there certainly is a relationship. You can't deny it. These are huge drug cartels that have developed over time. They're very violent. Witness the fact that there were over 6,000 homicides in northern Mexico last year including 550 that were assassinations of law enforcement or public officials in Mexico. What we're working to do, is to work to stop the flow of guns and cash in to Mexico that are helping fuel these cartels. But also, we're working at the border to make sure that the spillover violence doesn't occur in our own cities and communities.