tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current February 22, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PST
(vo)mexico is being torn apart by a brutal drug war, as rival cartels are locked in a battle for dominance over the lucrative united states drug market. and to keep the drugs flowing north... >>this is another ar. (vo)the guns must flow south. >>just a short walk over this of the world. (vo)just across the border from downtown el paso, texas, lies cuidad juarez - ground zero for the mexican drug war. >>we just got a call that two people have been shot. (vo)here gang land execution
style murders have become a
daily norm. the morgues have run out of space to stack the bodies. >>how many people do you think that you've killed? (vo)we look into the eyes of a hitman and venture into the territory of some of the most violent gangs in the world where desperate young men are in training to kill for the cartels. >>is that what you aspire to you wanna be in the big leagues with the cartel? (vo)we embed with the mexican army and investigate claims that the high powered assault weapons being used by the cartels are bought in the united states and smuggled into mexico, fueling the drug war violence that is spiraling out of control. >>last year, thirty thousand guns were recovered in mexico that we knoew came from the united states.
>>about ten feet in front of me
(vo)this may look and feel like a war zone, halfway around the world. military tactics, and heavy weaponry, just like that which is being used in places like iraq and afghanistan. but we are in fact only five minutes away from el paso, texas, in juarez, mexico, where the mexican army has been deployed to battle drug cartels, in what is widely considered the most dangerous city in the world. >>even the special forces have come in as you can see. the cartel is so heavily armed the military needs everything they got to go up against these guys. (vo)even with the army deployed to many of the major cities in mexico, the violence has only intensified. at issue, are drug smuggling corridors into the united states
being viciously fought over by the sinaloa and juarez cartels. in the past four years, more than 47,000 people have been killed in mexico. in juarez alone, its not uncommon to have more than a dozen execution style killings in a single day, earning juarez the infamous name, "murder city." (vo)to report this story, we enlisted the help of miguel macias, who runs a security firm that protects diplomats, factory supervisors and journalists. with miguel in a chase car, we rode along for the night with the juarez csi teams, the
busiest in the world. >>so it looks like it's a male and a female, and the bodies are just there lying in the street right now in front of us. it looks like execution style. while attempting to flee their cars, during a targeted killing. >>it looks like the entire back seat is literally flooded with blood. (vo)as the csi teams gather evidence, most of them wear masks to hide their identities. investigating crime in juarez is dangerous business. >>do you ever fear for your life? >>yes.
(vo)at the morgue, the gun shot victims come in one after another. the latest victim is a 35-year-old male shot over a dozen times with an assault rifle. >>he's just riddled with bullets all over both arms, his chest and his legs. just looks like he just got sprayed. (vo)in our first days in mexico, we witnessed the unrelenting brutal killings that have become a normal part of life here, but it wasn't until we saw the bodies stacked to the ceiling of the freezer in the morgue, that the enormity of the violence terrorizing this country, really sank in. >>you can see the bags are dripping with blood and there's body parts sticking out of them.
states. in a country in which half of the population lives in poverty, the cartels are known to exploit young people and even the elderly, as drug smugglers and arms traffickers. in the eyes of the authorities everyone is a suspect. >>man, we are going really fast. (vo)traveling at speeds of seventy to eighty miles an hour, through narrow streets and along dirt roads, the police move from one crime scene to the next chasing what seems like a never-ending body count. >>we weren't here for fifteen seconds when the police got another call that another shooting has occurred. (vo)we spent the entire night driving from one murder scene to another. the next morning we arrived at
this one. a young woman shot with both an ak 47 and a 9mm pistol, while attending the funeral service of her brother, who himself was shot just a few days before. >>this one looks particularly gruesome. you can see the ballistic teams right now counting the number of shell casings that were found at the scene. from here i can count up to 27. (vo)at most crime scenes in juarez, it's impossible to get anyone to talk about what they saw. the hit men are known to remain in the area, watching everything that goes on, making sure the victims are dead, and that no one is talking with the authorities. today, though, two elderly women wanted to talk to us. they're fed up, they said, with the violence that is terrorizing their neighborhood.
(vo)wanting to learn more about who was actually carrying out these brutal murders, we arranged to meet with a contract killer from la linea, a brutal gang used by the juarez cartel to carry out targeted hits on their rivals. >>how are we going to go about meeting this guy? (vo)miguel hid his people around the parking structure where the meeting was to take place, just in case, something went wrong. >>is it cool being right here? (vo)the hit man agreed to talk to us for just fifteen minutes, and covered his face to protect his identity. we met out the open, careful to stay within sight of miguel's bodyguards and in range of their weapons. >>are you armed right now? >>how many people do you think that you've killed?
>>fifteen persons >>how old were you the first time you killed somebody? (vo)there is an unlimited supply of poor young men in mexico like this one, willing to work and kill for the cartels. >>that's about two hundred dollars. wow. that's not a whole lot of money. >>do you have any regrets about what you do? >>why have you agreed to talk to us? (vo)the hit man misunderstood my question and thought that i was implying he might have some reason not to trust us.
(vo)the mood turned quickly >>so you think we should leave? >>uhh, yeah. (vo)and miguel insisted it was time to end the interview. >>the question on our mind is, is that guy fine with the way this whole thing went? >>miguel, how do you think that whole thing went? were you nervous at all during the interview? (vo)as we drove away from the interview, eerily, almost immediately, we came upon another murder on the streets of juarez. >>looks like a typical hit. the guy was shot while driving.
>>what do you think happened? >>oh this is normal for juarez. this is the same scene, only change the bodies. (vo)had miguel looked through the lens of our camera, he would have recognized that this was not just another one of the killings he sees everyday. the victim was, in fact, his cousin mario, an american citizen who worked as a supervisor in a factory in juarez. he was killed in either a kidnapping attempt, or carjacking, gone tragically wrong. (vo)miguel learned of mario's death the following morning when he saw the photos in the newspaper >>i just can't believe that we were there last night filming this and we had no idea.
you are in the war room. it's a beautiful thing. >>jennifer granholm on current tv. >>i'm a political junkie. this show is my fix. >>in politics, she was a gutsy leader. in cable news, she's a game changer. >>be afraid, be very afraid. now, the two term governor from michigan is reshaping the debate with a unique perspective and a forward-thinking approach. >>our goal is to bring you behind the scenes with access to stories that you've never seen before. >>she's a trailblazer determined to find solutions. >>one of the key components of a war room is doing a bit of opposition research. >>driven to find the thruth. >>i'm obsessed with the role of govenment. >>fearless, idependent and above all, politically direct. >>part of the mission here in our own war room is to help these candidates stay on track. make your voice heard.
(vo)until a few years ago, juarez, mexico was a thriving border town. when the north american free trade agreement took effect in the early 1990s, huge multi national corporations built factories all over town. workers flooded in by the thousands. >>as a gateway to the world of possibilities. (vo)juarez was a city on the rise. >>ciudad juarez opens its arms to men and woman who come in search of opportunities. (vo)but after the economic downturn in the u.s. in 2001, more than 100,000 people in juarez lost their jobs. even more jobs were lost in 2006, when more than ten thousand companies shuttered their doors after the drug war violence erupted. once a bustling tourist destination for americans, today downtown juarez is a virtual ghost town.
we went to see the man charged with pulling juarez back from the brink of collapse, mayor hector murguia. i wanted to ask him what he thought about the violence drugs, and guns that have turned his city into the murder capital of the world. (vo)to see where the drug cartels are finding so many young men willing to fight and die for them, we headed deep into the teeming colonias around
juarez, where young men find themselves with virtually no opportunities for work at all and a temptation to join the criminal gangs rising up all around them. >>what is it about growing up here that makes joining the cartels so attractive to young kids here? >>no work. no park. things for the kids to get interested in something. (vo)ruth rodriguez is a former gang member who lives in colonia panfilo natera, one of the poorest and roughest neighborhoods in juarez, home to the azteca street gang, foot soldiers for the juarez drug cartel. >>wow, and that's somebody's home right there? >>yes. >>a lot of the kids live and they grow up in houses like this? >>yes sir. i can say about 75%. >>so how long have you lived here? >>like, nine months. he's been living here nine months. >>the place is about 100 square
feet. it sleeps a family of four. all the walls have been made out of scraps of wood, and as you can see there's not really a floor. this would be a very difficult place to live. do you ever worry about your baby? >>you're scared that an animal is going to get to the baby. jesus. >>and as it's raining, you can see it's already starting to leak a little bit. a makeshift bathroom that's just, literally, a toilet in the ground surrounded by rugs. these shacks have no running water? >>no, no. >>and this is how most of the kids grow up? >>oh, almost all of them. yeah almost all of them. >>como estas? bien. good to see you. (vo)we met ruth's son juan hanging out with his friends on the streets of the colonia. none of them go to school or have a job. >>when the cartel offer money to do jobs for them is that tempting? >>you're that desperate for money?
(vo)away from his mother, juan and his friends showed off the guns they have to protect themselves from rival gangs. >>is it difficult to get a gun? >>no, no. >>where do you guys see yourself in five years from now? >>is that what you aspire to? you want to be in the big leagues of the cartel? (vo)as juan moves even closer to a life of crime, ruth worries that her influence on him is waning. she says that her rules at home are no match for the rewards offered by the drug cartels on the streets. (vo)as we walked together through the neighborhood, ruth noticed a van filled with kids
from a rival gang driving slowly in reverse with the sliding door open. the van was headed straight for juan and his friends standing across the street. (vo)the kids in the backseat of the van were armed. were ruth not there to talk them down, somebody would likely have gotten shot. >>it's my kid, oh, that's hard. >>what's your biggest fear? >>seeing him on tv. getting shot or something. that will be hardest thing. yeah. (vo)coming up... poverty and lack of opportunity may help explain why so many young men are willing to join
and die for the drug cartels but in a country with some of the strictest gun laws in the world, where exactly are these criminal organizations getting their guns? [[vo]]...we're the idea nobody wants to hear. ...until the truth reveals itself. boat-rockers. and above all... and there's only one place you'll find us. weeknights on current tv.
we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. just refreshing to hear. no other television show does that. we're keeping it real. (vo)as the drug war has intensified over the last few years in juarez, mexico, the daily executions have become more gruesome. the juarez and sinaloa cartels use horrific violence to demonstrate their ruthlessness and power to each other and to the population at large. the photos from the crime scenes run uncensored in the daily papers. >>every page it's more and more bodies of people that have
been killed. that's what consumes this entire paper. bodies, bodies, bodies, bodies. (vo)in this morning paper, depicted in gory detail were 27 murders, committed the night before. (vo)many of them were killed in a brazen attack on the juarez prison where thousands of criminal gang members are housed. in the surveillance footage from the attack, the prison guards can be seen vacating their posts allowing a group of men, all armed with high powered assault rifles, to enter the facility and open fire on a room full of members from a rival gang. (vo)we arrived at the prison to find relatives of inmates gathered outside the gates desperate to find out if their loved ones were on the list of those who had perished in the attack the night before.
(vo)the families were demanding answers from the authorities about how armed gang members were able to infiltrate the prison so easily and massacre so many. (vo)later that day, the mayor's spokesperson addressed the media. the prison attack had renewed criticism about the easy accessibility of assault rifles among criminal gangs in mexico. >>and do you believe they came from the united states?
(vo)in the state capital of chihuahua city, officers with the mexican army showed us the weapons that their men have seized. from crime scenes like the one at the prison. >>if you look in here these are all ak47 clips. this is another popular variant of the ak47, that's coming through into mexico because it's small and compact. you get a lot of bang for your buck. you can hide it in your coat really easily or on your side. (vo)the vault contains more than 10,000 guns and over 150,000 rounds of ammunition, all seized in the last few years in just one small area along the border with the united states. >>guns are illegal in mexico right?
>>so most of these were american? (vo)some estimates put the number of guns flowing into mexico from the u.s. at 2000 a day. it's a staggering figure given that there are only six thousand legally registered firearms in all of mexico. (vo)coming up, we go undercover at a gun show and discover how easy it is to legally buy high-powered assault weapons in the united states with no questions asked.
(vo)mexico is being torn apart by a brutal drug war as rival cartels are locked in a battle for dominance over the lucrative united states drug market. and to keep the drugs flowing north, the guns must flow south. (vo)to find out more about american guns in mexico we traveled to washington to meet agent charles houser of the united states bureau of alcohol, tobacco & firearms, the agency tasked, with policing gun trafficking. >>it's commonly thrown around that 90% of the guns that seized in mexico were originally from
the united states. >>i can move that number around a little bit. i can get it maybe down to 85% or up to 93%. does it really matter when last year, 30,000 guns were recovered in mexico that we know came from the united states? >>so we're just now leaving el paso, and just a short walk over the border here, over this bridge is juarez, mexico, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. from the united states come not in large shipments that are at risk of being intercepted, but with individuals who, like us, are rarely searched crossing over into mexico. >>we're all carrying bags, and as you can see we are walking across now and nobody checks.
border successfully with all of this ammunition hidden in a shopping cart. she was only stopped when a police officer noticed her unable to lift the heavy cart onto a city bus. she had covered the bullets with can goods in a crude effort to hide the contents inside. >>right here we've got ammunition for an ak47. this is definitely illegal in mexico but legal in the united states. >>from what we understand you're an american citizen? >>have you done this before? >>no >>did you buy all of this in the u.s.? >>pretty typical. she's poor. she has two kids and was looking to make a little extra cash acting as a mule getting this stuff across. >>okay, this is your typical ak 47 long gun. (vo)in the el paso office of the u.s. bureau of alcohol tobacco and firearms, agent robert champion showed us some of the weapons and ammunition that his team has seized on its way to the border with mexico.
>>this the american version of ar 15 type firearm. >>this is what the cartel is really liking right now? >>yes. >>this is a 50 cal, belt fed 50 cal. it was attempted to be smuggled into mexico before we >>you can buy this legally in the u.s.? >>yes. >>what is this used for? >>i mean, i think this is what they're using to a certain extent in iraq or afghanistan. >>and how difficult is it for to purchase these guns in the united states? >>go to a gun show without any paperwork and purchase these guns, as many as you want. gun show loophole. at gun shows along the border, unlicensed individuals are allowed to sell guns, including assault weapons without performing a background check or filling out any paperwork. to understand how the gun show loophole works we went to meet rick bolanos, a gun collector who lives on the us side of the
border near el paso, texas. rick served in vietnam with his four mexican american brothers and earned a purple heart when he was shot in the stomach with an ak 47. >>we live right across the border from ciudad juarez. all you have to do is look at the news every day. twenty people dead. fifty people dead. those weapons are coming from here. (vo)rick took us to a gun show a few minutes from juarez mexico, on the u.s. side of the border. >>the ironic thing about it is these same drug smugglers will use those weapons that they purchased in the united states against our border agents, against our ice agents, so we're being killed by our own weapons. and i'm going to show you how easy it is to purchase weapons there. >>okay. so we're gonna time ourselves, give ourselves one hour and see how many weapons we can walk out with. >>absolutely, without going through a criminal background check, without having to show identification, without answering any questions other than 'here's the cash.'
re outfitted with hidden cameras. the licensed dealers at the gun show are required by law to conduct background checks before selling guns and most of them do. but the law allows unlicensed individuals to sell assault weapons from private collections right along side the licensed dealers. these unlicensed individuals are not required to run a background check or fill out any paperwork. (vo)after we told him that we would probably not pass a background check, the private seller sold rick two ar-15
assault rifles. over the course of the next 30 minutes, rick purchased one high-powered assault rifle after another without ever being asked for id or filling out any paperwork that would allow the guns to be traced back to him. as we were preparing to leave the gun show, we were approached by two men speaking spanish and driving a car with mexican license plates. (vo)back at his house, rick unloaded the weapons he bought at the gun show, enough firepower to arm a small gang. >>7.62 all of the nato soldiers use them.
another bushmaster, with a scope. looks like it's pretty much unused. real popular with drug runners in mexico. these are the types of weapons that they see down south. and 40 minutes would be stretching it. you know? really the time it took us to get in there and purchase these weapons probably totaled about 30 minutes. >>and it was all perfectly legal? >>it was all perfectly legal. >>why did you want to show me all this? >>truthfully, what i want to do is i want to wake america up. i want to wake america up to the fact that people are dying over there in mexico needlessly, ya know. i want them to show them some compassion. we can't stand by and let 45, 50,000 people get killed. 17. 20. 25. 30 people just because we don't want to close up our gun laws. (vo)back in juarez, no one knows better what the effect has been of guns flooding onto
who he is. the only thing that's clear is that this guy is in the street dead. >>members of congress, his excellency, the president of mexico. (vo)as the death toll in the drug war rises, president felipe calderon has put pressure on the united states to help. >>there is one issue where mexico needs your cooperation and that is stopping the flow of assault weapons and other deadly arms across the border. controversial new regulation for gun dealers operating in u.s. border states. >>mexico can count on the united states as a full partner in this effort. (vo)the new regulation strongly opposed by the gun lobby, requires that the over 7,000 gun shops along the border report multiple sales of assault
rifles and shotguns to the atf. that does not make me a bad person. it's just basic business. t rifles in el paso, texas. >>it's what keeps america free today, is that right there. n. >>since 1776 they said, 'hey you have the right to keep and bear arms.' you know, that's no government intervention. they didn't say anything about filling out any paperwork or anything like that. >>does it concern you at all that so many people are being killed in mexico by american guns? >>you feel bad, you know, as a person because somebody got killed and stuff like that but... >>but that wouldn't stop you from selling these guns? >>no. >>no. why? >>it's america, why not? wisconsin, a state with some of the least
restrictive gun laws in the country, where it is not uncommon to see people packing a pistol on their hip at dinner in a restaurant or as they shop for supplies at the local hardware store. we went to an open carry gun picnic, where families enjoy a cookout by the lake, while packing heat. the picnic's host, john layman, was eager to show us his expanding arsenal. >>79 rounds in a clip. >>what do you have that for? >>because i can. >>are you concerned that obama's gonna take your guns away? >>absolutely, absolutely. and constitutionally we have the right to carry all of this any time we want and where we want. >>you know they're finding a lot of ak variants in mexico and this is one of the ones they're concerned about being trafficked around. >>well that's a problem in mexico not in the u.s. >>yeah, but they're using guns that are coming from the u.s.
>>but then they're-- well then why aren't we securing the borders to stop it. uld condemn this unprecedented attempt to exploit another country's crisis to advance a gun ban here in the united states of america. (vo)with a revenue of over 250 million dollars a year, the nra is the strongest force for shaping u.s. gun laws. >>i mean like most americans, i reject the premise that diminishing our second amendment rights could ever curtail mexico's drug cartels. from the gun lobby. we're talking about interdicting these guns before they get into the hands of these vicious cartel criminals in mexico, and they're talking about the inconvenience of a form. (vo)dennis henigan is the acting president of the brady campaign to prevent gun violence. he says the nra has worked tirelessly to weaken the u.s.
bureau of alcohol tobacco and firearms, the agency tasked with enforcing gun laws. >>this is an agency that has lived in mortal fear of its own destruction for literally decades, because the dark cloud of the nra is always hovering close by. an agency that under tremendous pressure to do something about this gun trafficking, but doesn't have the legal tools to really do it effectively. (vo)over the last four decades, the nra has wielded remarkable influence over congress, persuading lawmakers to curb the atf's budget. >>my problem also is resources. my agency has been at the same amount of manpower since 1972. >>same number of men since 1972? same, like... >>we haven't had a director in over six years. >>why hasn't the atf had an active director in over six years? >>uh, it hasn't been confirmed by congress. >>why do you think that is? >>that's some political areas that i'm not allowed to go
into. ficking investigation, code named fast and furious, made national news and emboldened the agency's critics. >>an agent with the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms claims the agency has a policy that is actually putting guns in the cartel's hands. (vo)as part of the fast and furious investigation, atf agents in phoenix allowed suspected smugglers to purchase weapons in hopes of tracking them to the cartel buyers, only they lost track of the guns allowing thousands of assault rifles to make their way across the border into the hands of the drug cartels. (vo)at the open carry picnic in wisconsin, the atf's fast and furious operation was the major topic of conversation. >>the atf is arming those people down in mexico, according to what i've been seeing on the news. so, maybe the atf should put stricter gun control on themselves and leave us, the united states citizens, alone.
f different people. some of them believe that, you know, the atf is basically now arming the cartel, you know, because of fast and furious. how would you respond to that? >>that's just a small percentage of all the firearms that were being recovered right now in mexico. >>like if you had to put a guess on the percentage what do you think it would be? >>oh. can i? can i? >>no. no. >>i can't speak on this? >>we're not speaking on the percentage. >>any misstep we take, it's we've got a target on our backs. we always have. g war rages on in mexico, firearms continue to flow across the border, and the body count continues to rise. >>so we're currently back at
the csi headquarters where they're unloading the latest victim of gun violence in a seemingly endless drug war that has claimed the lives of more than 47,000 people in the past four years. (vo)at current tv, we salute the insightful perspective. >>reasonable republicans might run in the opposite direction. good luck finding one. >>at current tv, we celebrate journalistic integrity. >>vanguard is going out there and aggressively pursuing stories that we believe are important. (vo)at current tv, we expect accountability. >>there's the school sign, here's