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US Gives Mexico Millions to Fight Drug Cartels

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Aired 4/19/09

The U.S. government has finally released the first part of a $400 million aid package to support Mexico's police and soldiers in their fight against drug cartels.

U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza says the so-called Merida Initiative will enable both nations to work more closely in the drug war, sharing information about cartels in real time.

The U.S. released the first $197 million at a signing ceremony Wednesday in Mexico City. The rest will be come throughout next year.

The money comes at a critical time: Mexico's death toll from drug violence has soared above 4,000 so far this year, and drug-related murders and kidnappings are spilling over the U.S. border.

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