NOGALES – Federal agents tap on car windows, opening trunks, looking in vain for contraband.
“We're sucking up a lot of exhaust out here,” supervisory Customs and Border Protection officer Edith Serrano says, shrugging in her uniform.
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This is what the Obama administration's new commitment to help Mexico fight its drug cartels looks like.
President Obama this spring promised his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderón, that the United States would fight two of the biggest contributions U.S. residents make to the drug cartels Calderón has vowed to eradicate: cash and weapons, the latter hard to come by in Mexico.
The Associated Press fanned out to the busiest crossings along the Mexican border – San Diego, Nogales, El Paso and Laredo – to see how effective the inspections are.
The findings? Wads of U.S. currency headed for Mexico, wedged into car doors, stuffed under mattresses, taped onto torsos, were sniffed out by dogs, seized by agents and locked away for possible investigations. No guns were found as the reporters watched; they rarely are. Read more