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How Mexican Drug Barons Are Buying Off the Feds

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But what’s perhaps more surprising, and certainly less discussed, is how bribery and corruption have also afflicted even the highest levels of law enforcement on the American side of the border, infecting everyone from customs officials, to policemen and D.E.A. agents, to officers much higher up the food chain. According to witnesses testifying to a Senate homeland security subcommittee in 2010, Mexican drug lords have assembled mountains of cash specifically earmarked to bribe U.S. personnel. Part of the problem is that America sees itself as incorruptible and thus immune to enticements from the cartels, so internal investigations can be spotty. Mexicans take bribed cops, officials and politicians for granted, while Americans are more reluctant to ponder the possibility of corruption in their ranks.

Inside Mexico (according to Spanish news agency E.F.E.) the drug syndicates have access to a slush fund of around $100 million per month, which they dip into at will to bribe cops, federal agents, judges and other officials. The payouts allow the cartels to keep the authorities largely at bay, and yo operate with relative freedom. And while day-to-day corruption is certainly less prevalent in America than it is here, plenty of U.S. government employees have been convinced to take Mexican traffickers up on their lucrative offers.

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