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No plan to boost US border presence

Associated Press / April 18, 2009
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SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff toured a portion of the US-Mexico border yesterday but said there are no plans to send troops there as some politicians are seeking.

Admiral Michael Mullen took a brief tour of the border in and around El Paso, but said his first trip to the area should not be taken as a sign of any intentions to send the military to the border as a bloody drug cartel war plagues Mexico.

"I'm here to learn more about it [the border], specifically because of my responsibilities, and we'll continue to support just as we have in the past," Mullen said.

Mullen said his briefings from commanders with the Army's Joint Task Force North at nearby Fort Bliss and the US Border Patrol were designed only to ensure continued cooperation among authorities.

Soldiers run antidrug and other security missions along the Mexican border but some border-state governors and members of Congress have increasingly called on President Obama to send more troops to the southern frontier.

Violence continues to mount in Mexico's battle with warring drug cartels - more than 10,670 people have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched a government offensive against the powerful drug gangs in 2006.