Sat, Feb 18, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Mexican president urges US to stop flow of weapons

AP, CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO

A soldier gives instructions to a tank that is destroying more than 7,500 weapons seized from organized crime at an army base in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Thursday.

Photo: EPA

Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday unveiled a “No More Weapons” billboard made with crushed firearms and placed near the US border as he urged the US to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico.

The billboard, which is in English and weighs 3 tonnes, was placed near an international bridge in Ciudad Juarez and can be seen from the US.

Calderon said the billboard’s letters were made from weapons seized by local, state and federal authorities.

“Dear friends of the US, Mexico needs your help to stop this terrible violence that we’re suffering,” Calderon said in English during the unveiling ceremony. “The best way to do this is to stop the flow of automatic weapons into Mexico.”

Before unveiling the billboard, Calderon supervised the destruction of more than 7,500 automatic rifles and handguns at a military base in Ciudad Juarez.

Calderon said more than 140,000 weapons have been seized since December 2006, when he launched a crackdown against drug traffickers. More than 47,500 people have been killed since then.

One of the cities most affected by the violence is Ciudad Juarez, where more than 9,000 have died in drug violence since 2008.

Also on Thursday, Mexico’s attorney general said a federal prosecutor who was assigned to a northern state has been detained on suspicion of protecting the brutal Zetas drug cartel.

Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales said federal prosecutor Claudia Gonzalez has been sent to prison. She did not say when Gonzalez was detained or give any other details.

Gonzalez was based in the city of Saltillo, capital of the border state of Coahuila.

The state on the border with Texas has seen a spike of violence as the Zetas and the Sinaloa drug cartel fight for control of drug smuggling routes into the US.

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