Border Violence Spills onto Mexican Ranches, Farms

July 7, 2010 - 2:53 PM
Drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is spilling into the region's agriculture, threatening the safety of ranchers and farmers and slowing down what was expected to be the best harvest in years.
Laredo, Texas (AP) - Drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is spilling into the region's agriculture, threatening the safety of ranchers and farmers and slowing down what was expected to be the best harvest in years.
 
Ranchers now have trouble getting their animals to market. Farmers who once toiled long hours in the fields fear being attacked in the dark. Some are even being forced to pay protection money to keep from being kidnapped or having their harvest stolen.
 
In late 2007, the Mexican military tried to curb violence by entering urban areas along the eastern end of the border, an area prized by drug traffickers for its valuable smuggling routes.
 
The stepped-up military presence pushed more traffickers onto ranches and farms. In February, the fighting intensified after two allied gangs split and went to war with each other.