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I bring you news from the third front, that being the southern border with our neighbor Mexico, the first front being Iraq, the second front being Afghanistan. We are engaged in three conflicts, three wars. And the third front is the conflict on our border, the border war with the drug cartels.
The $40 billion-a-year illicit drug trade in Mexico has resulted in a vicious wave of violence in northern Mexico and the United States. President Calderon of Mexico has said in the last few years 23,000 Mexicans have been killed and murdered on the streets of Mexico. To put it in perspective, that is over twice the murder homicide rate in the United States.
Recently, there were two incursions by Mexican military helicopters across the Texas-Mexico border into the United States, and their intentions are still unknown. Those incursions were about 3 weeks apart. Some here in Washington questioned whether these astonishing reports of Mexican military helicopters actually were true.
Well, here is a photograph, Mr. Speaker, that was taken by some individuals in Zapata County, Texas. That is on the border with Mexico. This is an RV park. And this is one of those Mexican military helicopters. It is a Russian-made, built helicopter. It has the word ``Marine'' on the side, that being the Mexican Navy's helicopter. And this photograph was taken by more than one individual. Photographs of the first incursion were also taken. And the question remains why is the Mexican military helicopter coming into the United States, and why is our government silent about their intention? We do not know.
The international criminal drug cartels are just that: they are international. They are connected to terrorist organizations worldwide, and they make money selling drugs to fund their narcoterrorism. Which begs the question, Why are Americans allowing Mexican military helicopters to invade our airspace? I wish we had an answer from our government. Are they protecting drug shipments into the United States? We don't know. Are they doing something else? We don't know.
This photograph, by the way, this helicopter is over two miles into the United States. The Texas-Mexico border is not like Arizona and New Mexico and California. There is a river in between. It's hard to miss the river when you fly over it. So it's obviously not a mistake on the part of whoever is flying this helicopter.
You know, the primary duty of government is to protect the people. But the Federal Government, our government, has gotten so big and stuck its nose in so many places it doesn't belong it's no longer, in my opinion, performing its primary duty, protecting the people. Congress seems to be a little bit more concerned about steroids in baseball than they are concerned about protecting our border from people who come across without permission.
At the El Paso sector of the Border Patrol in Texas, our agents now are being targeted by the Azteca hitmen of the Juarez drug cartel. What that means is this: the Juarez drug cartel is bringing dope into the United States. Our Border Patrol is doing an excellent job, best that we will let them do, of preventing that from occurring. So they have hired their own hitmen, the Azteca hitmen to target our Border Patrol agents. Our Border Patrol agents have a $250,000 bounty on their heads for being Border Patrol agents, for trying to do their job. And they are being targeted for kidnappings or murder. It makes no difference. I think that ought to upset some of us here in Washington, D.C.
You know, the Azteca gang works for the Juarez drug cartel. They prot