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Stories by Amy Isackson

GAO Says Lack Of License Plate Readers Scuttles Southbound Smuggling Crackdown

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A recent report by a government watchdog reveals a hole in border security. The report says most southbound border lanes headed into Mexico lack license plate readers.

Mexican Authorities Find Bones And Teeth On Land Used By The "Stew Maker"

Mexican authorities says they've found human remains in Tijuana, tied to a man called the "Stew Maker," who allegedly dissolved more than 300 people in acid.

Passports, Pastimes & Projects To Be Affected If Gov't. Shuts Down

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Federal officials have released limited information on how the southwest would be affected if the government shutdown.

Local Economy Could Take Hit from Government Shutdown

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San Diego's military and other federal employees could lose pay. The county has the largest number of federal employees in the the country.

Little Improvement for Mexican Drug War Reporters, Despite Increased Attention

Thirty reporters have been killed in Mexico’s drug war during the last four years. This week, three media summits in San Diego address press freedom and safety south of the border. Though the crisis has received more attention lately, little has improved in Mexico.

People In Mexicali Still Recovering From Quake A Year Later

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A year ago, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the region from Mexicali as far north as Los Angeles. Around the epicenter, in the Mexcali Valley, about 30 miles south of the border, the quake left 25,000 homeless and ruptured lives. People are slowly putting things back together.

2010 Census Bears Out Southwest's Building Blunders

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The 2010 Census confirms just how dismal the housing market is in much of the Southwestern United States. In Southern California, the numbers show people flocked inland. That sparked building fever. But many of these dream homes have become a nightmare, like in the City of Brawley in Imperial County, located 150 miles east of San Diego.

Mexico's First Forensic Science Masters Program In Baja California

In conjunction with San Diego State University, the new program is designed to help improve justice south of the border.

Hispanic Population Growth Fuels U.S. Increase

A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center says Hispanics accounted for more than half of the nation's population growth in the last decade.

Border Patrol Detains 13 Marine Impersonators

The Border Patrol in San Diego detained two U.S. citizens and 13 undocumented immigrants all wearing U.S. Marine uniforms and riding in a white van with altered U.S.-government license plates.

Tougher Penalties For Undocumented Immigrants Caught At Sea

People caught crossing into the U.S. illegally by sea face tougher penalties. Officials hope it helps prevent migrants from dying.

Wikileaks Reveals U.S. Diplomats' Concerns About Drug War In Tijuana

Diplomats were informed that Tijuana's then-police chief had made a deal with drug-cartel operatives.

SDSU Helped Baja California Authorities Gauge Tsunami Response

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A quilt of images and information knitted together by San Diego State University geologists helped Baja California authorities prepare for the tsunami generated by the earthquake in Japan.

Smuggling Tunnel Found Near Calexico

Mexican authorities have unearthed a suspected smuggling tunnel that runs beneath the border between Mexicali and Calexico. It is about two miles east of the Calexico East port of entry.

U.S. Border Authorities Seize More Methamphetamine, Boats

Federal authorities in San Diego report a big increase in the amount of methamphetamine they seized along the border in fiscal 2010 compared with the previous year. The border agencies' recently released year end statistics also show more human smuggling by sea.

3 Arrested In Alleged Murder-For-Hire Plot

California authorities report a murder conspiracy was foiled and three hit men allegedly hired by a Tijuana drug gang were arrested without incident.

Mexican Authorities Make Arrest In San Diego Teacher's Death

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Baja Calfiornia's Attorney General said a San Diego professor, Henry Acejo, killed in Tijuana last December, was the victim of a crime of passion.

ATF Director Says More Staff Needed To Fight Gun Smuggling

A top federal official says his agency doesn't have enough staff to follow up on leads in gun cases or properly inspect guns shops.

Assault Weapon Reporting Rule For Border States Delayed

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) officials had hoped the rule, they say would help them control the sale of guns that Mexican drug cartels favor, would have made it through the White House a month ago.

Man Outfitted Moving Trucks With Secret Compartments To Smuggle Marijuana

A former manager of a Temecula moving truck rental company has pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to conspiring to move more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.

CBP Commissioner To Focus On Tuscon and San Diego Coast

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin says controlling the border in Tuscon and beefing up security off San Diego's coast are top priorities this year.

Woman Tied To Kidnap Crew Extradited To San Diego

A woman who allegedly used her feminine wiles to help a Mexican kidnap crew capture their victims in San Diego has been extradited from Mexico.

Mexican Contingent Meets With Governor Brown

In the spirit of binational solidarity, Baja California's governor and tourism secretary and Tijuana's mayor attended California Governor Jerry Brown's swearing-in ceremony. The Baja California contingent met briefly with Brown afterward.

US Firearms Officials Want To Track Semi Automatic Sales

The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wants to monitor the sale of semi-automatic weapons in states along the U.S.-Mexico border to help control drug cartel violence.

Drug Cartel Leaders Extradited From Mexico Face Charges In San Diego

Mexico has extradited 15 people wanted for crimes in the United States. A dozen are charged with federal drug crimes and three face state charges for violent crimes.

Federal Agents Go Door-To-Door To Crack Down On Drug Tunnels

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US federal Authorities are trying out a new tactic in their hunt for subterranean drug smuggling tunnels near the border in San Diego. Authorities are going door-to-door to ask business owners to keep their heads up for underground activity.

Accused Teenaged Assassin Was Born In S.D.

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A 14-year-old boy born in San Diego was arrested in Mexico this week. Authorities claim he killed at least four people on behalf of drug traffickers in Central Mexico. Other members of the teen's family have also been arrested including his mother, who was living in San Diego. KPBS Border Reporter Amy Isackson joins us with the latest details.

Officials Confirm Alleged 14-Year-Old Gang Killer Is U.S. Citizen

U.S. officials have confirmed an alleged 14-year-old drug gang killer in Mexico is a U.S. citizen.

Tijuana's Former Top Cop Takes State Job

Tijuana's controversial ex-police chief has been named second in command of public security for the state of Baja California. He was appointed despite pending torture charges.

New General In Charge Of Tijuana

A new military general is in charge in the border city of Tijuana. Gilberto Laderos Briseño is replacing the general many credit with helping rescue the city from drug violence.

Tijuana Inaugurates New Mayor

A new mayor took the helm in Tijuana Thursday afternoon. The 65-year-old Carlos Bustamante was born in National City and has made his fortune in Tijuana.

Certain Holiday Gifts To Be Confiscated At The Border

Handmade Mexican wreaths and a Mexican fruit punch will get confiscated at the border if you decide to do some holiday shopping in Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is warning cross-border travelers to be careful of what they buy.

US Officials Warn Warehouse Owners Near Border To Watch For Tunnelers

U.S. federal authorities are going door to door in San Diego warning warehouse owners near the U.S. Mexico border to watch out for tunnelers.

Tijuana Has A New Police Chief

Tijuana’s incoming mayor, Carlos Bustamante, has ended weeks of speculation about the future of Tijuana’s police. Bustamante has appointed a new police chief.

Tijuana's Leyzaola Dilemma

The days of one of Tijuana’s top crime fighters may be numbered. Though Tijuana’s Police Chief has survived assassination plots, he may fall victim to Mexican politics. A collaboration between KPBS and

Study Shows Immigration Judges Reject More ICE Deportation Claims

A new study says Immigration and Customs Enforcement wastes resources by targeting the wrong people for deportation.

Smugglers Transported Marijuana Through Tunnel On Motorized Cart

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The Mexican army allowed reporters into the drug smuggling tunnel Thursday afternoon that connects a Tijuana warehouse with one in San Diego. The smugglers used a motorized cart to transport the drugs to San Diego. KPBS Border Reporter Amy Isackson got a ride.

US And Mexican Authorities Find Tunnel, Seize 30 Tons Of Marijuana

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U.S. and Mexican authorities have found a drug smuggling tunnel that runs from Tijuana to San Diego. It isn’t the most sophisticated or the longest tunnel discovered, but is significant for the amount of marijuana authorities seized.

Border Tunnel Discovered

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United States and Mexican authorities have discovered a drug-smuggling tunnel and 20 tons of marijuana at a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California.

Attack at Tijuana Rehab Center Kills 13

Baja California Attorney General Rommel Moreno says last week's historic marijuana seizure is the principal line of investigation in the murder of 13 men at a Tijuana drug-rehabilitation center on Sunday evening.

Record Pot Seizure Total Grows

Mexican federal police say Monday's marijuana seizure in Tijuana is the country's largest pot seizure ever. Authorities seized more pot than the 105 tons they initially reported.

Envision San Diego

Record 105 Ton Marijuana Seizure In Tijuana

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Tijuana police seized a record 105 tons of marijuana they say was headed for sale in the United States. It’s one of the biggest pot busts in all of Mexico in recent years.

Can Wireless Technology Help Treat Diabetes?

Tijuana diabetes patients are testing wireless technology to see if it can help them manage their disease. It's a collaboration between health centers and wireless technology companies in both San Diego and Tijuana.

Envision San Diego

How Would Legalizing Pot Impact Cartel Violence?

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One of the arguments made by supporters of Prop. 19 is that regulating it will reduce drug cartel violence. Officials on both sides of the border doubt whether it would have a significant impact.

Prop. 19 Won't Immediately Calm Cartel Violence, If At All

Supporters of Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana in California say Mexico's drug war has failed and its time for a new approach. Even so, they say Prop 19 is not a quick solution.

Bakery Owner Charged With Harboring Illegal Immigrants

The owner of a wholesale bakery in San Diego has been charged with hiring undocumented workers. Immigration authorities say half of the employees were not authorized to work in the U.S.

Envision San Diego

Study Says Prop. 19 Unlikely To Affect Drug Groups' Revenues

A new study by the Rand Corporation says Proposition 19, that would legalize marijuana in California, would pinch Mexican drug smugglers' pocketbooks. But Proposition 19 would not pack the wallop backers advertise.

Two Beheaded Men Hung From Bridge In Tijuana

Two bodies were found hanging from a bridge in Tijuana's outskirts early Monday morning. Tijuana authorities also report four young men dead in a separate case.

Envision San Diego

US, Mexican Authorities Say Prop. 19 Won't Squelch Drug Cartel Violence

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Supporters of Proposition 19, that would legalize marijuana in California, argue that regulating the drug will end violence associated with Mexican drug cartels. Officials on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border doubt that because marijuana is just one of many drugs that cartels smuggle.

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Firefighters Stop Blaze That Threatened Power Lines In Bell Valley Area

US and Mexican fire officials say they've stopped the spread of the fire on both sides of the border. The blaze began in Mexico around one o'clock this afternoon and burnt into the US.

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