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Attorney General Eric Holder at the Mexico/United States Arms Trafficking Conference
CUERNAVACA, MEXICO ~ Thursday, April 2, 2009

Remarks as prepared for delivery.

First, let me express my thanks to Attorney General Medina Mora and Secretary of Government Gomez Mont for making this conference possible.

 This is my first trip to another country as Attorney General.   I wanted to come to Mexico to deliver a single message: We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in this fight against the narcotics cartels.  The United States shares responsibility for this problem and we will take responsibility by joining our Mexican counterparts in every step of this fight. 

 And, together, we will win – thanks in large part to the courage of my Mexican colleagues here today, who are on the front lines every day, and with whom I am proud to collaborate.

 The topic that has been addressed over the past two days could not be more important – the development of an arms trafficking prosecution and enforcement strategy on both sides of the border.  

 I would like to thank the Mexican and U.S. experts who have worked so hard on this issue.  On our side, Secretary Napolitano and I are committed to putting the resources in place to increase our attack on arms trafficking into Mexico. 

 Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels.  My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner, DEA is adding 16 new positions on the border, as well as mobile enforcement teams, and the FBI is creating a new intelligence group focusing on kidnapping and extortion.  DHS is making similar commitments, as Secretary Napolitano will detail.

 But as today’s conference has emphasized, the problem of arms trafficking will not be stopped at the border alone.  Rather, as our experts emphasized, this is a problem that must be met as part of a comprehensive attack against the cartels – an attack in depth, on both sides of the border, that focuses on the leadership and assets of the cartel.  This is the type of full-bore, prosecution-driven approach that the U.S. Department of Justice took to dismantle La Cosa Nostra – once the most powerful organized crime group operating in the United States.  
 With partners like those we have here today, I am confident that together, we will defeat these narcotics cartels in exactly the same way.  I am proud to stand with you, and to join you in this fight.  Thank you again for inviting me here.

Quiero que el pueblo Mexicano sepa que mi nación está con ustedes en la lucha contra los narcotraficantes.

México y los Estados Unidos comparten mas que una frontera—compartimos cultura, sangre e intereses comunes. Somos hermanos unidos contra una batalla que ganaremos.

Tenemos que aprender de uno a otro, trabajar juntos y luchar juntos.  Si hacemos estas cosas, si nos dedicamos juntos a esta lucha, no tengo duda que tendremos éxito.

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