Gov't cites trio of Mexican groups as drug sources

April 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Obama administration on Wednesday placed three Mexican organizations on a list of suspected international drug kingpins. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made the announcement during his daily briefing.

The move came a day before President Barack Obama travels to Mexico. On the agenda: talks about drug-trade related violence on the border of the United States and Mexico.

The federal blacklist is aimed at financially cutting off significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their organizations and operatives worldwide. It's called the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act but is known commonly as the Drug Kingpin Act. It became law in December 1999.

Those on the list are denied access to the U.S. financial system and all trade and transactions involving U.S. companies and individuals.

Earlier, federal drug enforcement authorities said that Mexican drug cartels are spreading south into Central America as they are squeezed by stepped-up law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thomas Harrigan, the Drug Enforcement Administration's chief of operations, said the two countries' crackdown is pushing some cartels south.

There have been significant seizures of cartel weaponry in Guatemala, and another DEA official said they're seeing gun battles among Mexican cartels operating in Guatemala and Honduras.

To help fight the cartels, Obama has promised to dispatch nearly 500 more federal agents to the border, along with X-ray machines and drug-sniffing dogs.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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