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Mexico beefs up its security operation in the northeast

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Mexican federal authorities beef up security along the northern border
  • Government report does not say how many forces are involved
  • The region has long been a hot spot for drug activity

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- The Mexican government announced Wednesday it was strengthening its security operation in the country's drug-riven northeast by sending more soldiers and federal police to the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.

Alejandro Poire, security spokesman for the federal government, said the goal of the movement was to keep criminals from regrouping, according to the official Notimex News Agency.

But the report did not say how many forces would be involved.

The region has been the scene of bloody battles between the Gulf cartel and the Zetas. Tamaulipas is the state where 72 Central and South American migrants were found killed in August.

Poire said Mexican authorities have dealt strong blows that have weakened the groups but the violence has shown little sign of abating.

In response to the announcement, the governor of Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernandez; and the governor of Nuevo Leon, Rodrigo Medina, promised to present a common front with federal authorities in the fight against organized crime, Notimex reported.

Both leaders also demanded actions to reduce social pressures along the northern frontier and to reduce the traffic of arms toward the south.

Hernandez asked that the northern frontier be sealed to prevent arms and money from entering the country, Notimex said. He also asked for the establishment of mechanisms to coordinate activities with the U.S. government for more orderly repatriation of undocumented Mexicans from the United States.

This year, he said, U.S. authorities will repatriate some 700,000 undocumented Mexicans, many of whom return without funds, which represents a big social pressure for border cities.

For his part, Rodrigo Medina pointed out the need to link the new security measures with opportunities for employment, study, culture and development -- to help keep youths from joining organized crime.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon intensified the government's fight against drug cartels and organized crime after taking office in December 2006, according to government figures.