U.S. authorities arrested nearly 700 people in a nationwide crackdown on Mexican drug cartels this weekend, AFP reports. Altogether, the raids netted more than $12 million, 282 weapons and huge quantities of illegal drugs.The synchronised sweep, dubbed Operation Fallen Hero, is part of the U.S. response to the shooting of an American immigration in Mexico earlier this month.
President Barack Obama plans to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Washington Thursday to discuss the ongoing drug violence as the U.S. continues to reassess its approach to Mexico’s drug war in the wake of the attack.
At least 28 people were killed in drug-related violence in Mexico over the weekend, according to the AP. More than 35,000 people have been killed since Calderon launched a military offensive against the cartels in 2006.
Operation Fallen Hero has also worked with local officials to carry out raids against cartel cells in Central America, where Mexico’s drug gangs have expanded their presence since the 2006 crackdown. In Guatemala, the violent Los Zetas cartel has established operations throughout the country to control the smuggling routes between Colombia and Mexico, the WSJ reports. The U.S. has increased its focus on the drug war in Guatemala and other Central American countries, and President Obama plans to visit El Salvador next month.
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