From the Brainroom: Drug Cartels

Mexican and Colombian cartels generate, remove, and launder between $18 billion and $39 billion in wholesale drug proceeds annually.

Mexico's war against the drug cartels began in 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed more than 30,000 troops to tackle the gangs

According to State Department about 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States is trafficked through Mexico

Arizona's 370-mile border with Mexico serves as the gateway for nearly half of all smuggled marijuana

Vast majority of cocaine available in U.S. drug markets is smuggled by Mexican cartels across U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexican cartels maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors in at least 230 U.S. cities.

In the first three years of President Felipe Calderon's six-year term, Mexico's army has had 153 clashes with drug gangs.

In the six years of his predecessor Vicente Fox's term, there were only 16 clashes In 2008, President Bush signed the Mérida Initiative Mérida Initiative would provide $1.4 billion to Mexico and other countries over three years to help combat drug smuggling and violence

Drugs trade in Mexico generates at least $10 billion in yearly revenues There at least 6,290 deaths attributed to drug wars in 2008 Over 1,000 deaths attributed to drug wars in first two months of 2009

At least $17.2 billion in U.S. banknotes were transported to Mexico through illicit nonbank channels over a 2-year period

Obama administration unveiled a strategy aimed at stemming the Mexican cartels' illicit drug shipments into U.S.

Drug shipments estimated to be worth at least $15 billion annually

Plan includes some $700 million in existing aid for Mexican law enforcement designated by the Bush administration

Biggest immediate impact of the new program is likely to come from the addition of more than 360 Department of Homeland Security agents heading to border or crossing into Mexico to work with authorities there

U.S. will also deploy new equipment for scanning vehicles headed into Mexico,

Justice Department will send at least 116 more of its own agents from two agencies Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Mexico said it would give out rewards of $2 million each for information leading to capture of 24 top traffickers

Mexico said it give out rewards of $1 million each for 13 of their main operators

Wall Street Journal: Mexico Rises on the U.S. Agenda
National Drug Threat Assessment, National Drug Intelligence Center, US Department of Justice, 2009
Federal Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora; US Department of State
Wall Street Journal: 3/25/09
Council of Foreign Relations: Mexico's Drug War
Time Magazine: War on Drugs