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Hannity

Special Investigation: Impact of Mexico's Drug War on U.S.

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 3, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Violence in Mexico is spiraling out of control. Now, right now the Mexican military is rolling into Juarez, just a few miles south of El Paso, Texas.

Now, two weeks ago there, drug cartels murdered three police officers. Last week they posted signs stating that, if the police chief did not resign, they would kill a public official every 48 hours. Now they weren't kidding. After two councilman and the deputy police chief were murdered, the chief of police held a press conference announcing his resignation.

Now, last night we told you about Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's comment about the violence. Quote, "Right now it has not crossed the border, but it is a contingency we have in mind because it could. We have contingency plans, should violence spread into the United States."

Well, governor, it's already here.

Now, take a look at a report that we first did on June 22 of 2008. It shows the direct impact on American cities that Mexico's out-of-control violence is having. Watch this.

Video: Watch the 'Hannity' special investigation

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY (voice-over): Chaos in the streets. Kindergarten students running for their lives as machine-gun fire blasts right over their heads. This is war, and it's happening much closer than you might think.

Mexican drug cartels are waging an increasingly bloody battle for control of smuggling routes into the United States. The results: thousands dead in the streets, hundreds of police officers murdered, kidnap victims beheaded and dumped on the side of the road.

MICHAEL MARIZCO, JOURNALIST: We've had 450 officers and soldiers gunned down in Mexico in the past six months. We've had 1,700 executions, all narco-related.

HANNITY: In December '06, Mexican President Felipe Calderon ordered 40,000 soldiers and 5,000 federal police officers to border regions to battle the cartels. Since that time, more than 10,000 people have been killed.

Last year alone 843 dead in the city of Tijuana, south of San Diego. More than 1,600 in Juarez, just south of El Paso, Texas. Juarez had 148 murders in the first month of this year.

MARIZCO: Never before has Mexico faced a time like this, except perhaps during the Mexican Revolution.

HANNITY: In the border town of Nogales, Mexico, police launch massive sweeps of the city three nights a week. They swoop in on anyone or anything that looks suspicious, trying to stop the violence before it happens. So far, it is a losing battle.

MARIZCO: There has been no slowdown in the amount of narcotics moving into the United States. When it comes to migrant smuggling, this is ground zero right here. This is the state of Sonora.

HANNITY: And the violence does not stay south of the border. Two hundred miles north of Sonora, the Phoenix, Arizona, SWAT team raids a house on a residential street. Inside, they find 21 illegal aliens being held for ransom against their will.

A few miles away, crime scene technicians pore over a car that kidnappers used after abducting a man at gunpoint.

OFFICER LUIS SAMUDIO, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT: He was tied up with wires of some type, and I guess they assaulted him by hitting him over the head with a gun.

HANNITY: It's a scene that plays out over and over again in Phoenix, where the kidnapping problem is exploding.

SGT. PHIL ROBERTS, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT VIOLENT CRIMES BUREAU: In 2007 we had 359 extortion-related kidnappings. Again, those are not domestic violence kidnappings or sexually-motivated kidnappings or anything like that. These are extortion-related kidnappings where people are getting abducted off the street, and they're contacting, normally, family members and saying, "We want 'X' amount of money."

Ninety-nine percent of all the kidnappings that we are investigating are in some way or another related to illegal border activity, whether it's drug smuggling or human smuggling.

HANNITY: So far, both the suspects and victims have all been connected to Mexican border crimes.

ROBERTS: There's so many human smugglers coming up here with their contraband, their human cargo, and also the drug activities involved, too. There's a large amount of — we'll call it illegal cash here in the valley. A lot. And there are people that want that cash. And what they're doing is they're going to extort that from other bad guys.

HANNITY: All the crimes have one thing in common: severe brutality.

LT. LAURI BURGETT, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT VIOLENT CRIMES BUREAU: We have seen acts of violence here that are very extreme. They're held and tortured for a week, and sometimes shot.

ROBERTS: We've had people murdered like in the house back over here. We've also had people who have gone through phenomenal events of torture that you only think come out of a Hollywood movie.

BURGETT: When they make those ransom calls, you can hear them on the other end of the phone, you know, engaging in some act of violence with them. Sometimes they're hitting them. You can hear the kidnap victim kind of screaming for help.

ROBERTS: We've had people electrocuted. We've had people sodomized. We've had people had appendages cut off. It's hard to imagine that there are people in society that will do this and really do it without even — without even caring. But if you look at the atrocities that are actually occurring in Mexico, it's not hard to believe.

"MARIA," KIDNAP VICTIM'S WIFE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Four people came into my house. They were armed, and they took my husband against his will. And it was terrible, because my children were there.

What began was like a nightmare, based on his calling. They started making threats, telling us not to call the police. He was tortured, he was threatened. He was beaten. Each call I had to hear him screaming.

People think that this kidnapping just happens and then it's over. But it's not: it's something that lasts for the last of your life.

HANNITY: Phoenix detective Al Richards sees an alarming trend in the human smuggling world.

AL RICHARD, DETECTIVE, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have groups of illegal aliens that contract with smugglers in Mexico to be brought all over the United States. What they don't realize is they're bought and sold as they make their way to Phoenix.

When they get to a drop house in Phoenix, a drop house operator starts extorting them for more money. And they'll keep them in houses like this until they can pay.

HANNITY: Inside the drop houses, the kidnappers remove the shoes and clothes of their captives, making it harder for them to escape.

RICHARD: In this house, there was over 60 people, and they were being tortured and threatened to make them pay.

There was a 12-year-old girl that was in the group. Her mother was threatened that her daughter would be raped and tortured. And the suspects repeatedly told her, "How much is your daughter's life worth?"

We found a room underneath the stairwell which was being used as an extortion room. There was a single chair, multiple phones, a baseball bat, and people would be brought into that room and threatened while they called their family members, asking for anyone to send money.

Instead of trying to develop the smuggling routes and contacts in Mexico, we have what's called bacadoras (ph) which are take-down men that will seek out houses like this, and they'll go them to do a home invasion to steal the human cargo.

They don't have the best intelligence, so they may think they're going after this house, but they hit the next-door neighbor instead. So you have six arms men kicking down your door, looking to steal illegal aliens.

This isn't just on a residential street. You can be going down the freeway at 65 miles an hour. And they're going to confront you at gunpoint. They'll force the vehicle off the road, and they'll kidnap people out of the vehicle and take them to a house and extort them.

HANNITY: The spiral of violence continues from south of the border. To the streets of American cities, forever changing those in its path.

"MARIA": It invades your life. It stays with you for the rest of your life. It stays with you the rest of your life, and it's horrible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: So will anyone challenge Miss Napolitano, considering she is responsible now for keeping us safe? Frightening.

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