BY RICHARD SISK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Updated Wednesday, March 25th 2009, 5:13 PM WASHINGTON
- Hillary Clinton brought mea culpas to Mexico Wendesday for the guns and money flowing south from the U.S. that have fueled the bloody drug wars between the cartels and the Mexican army.
"It's not only guns, it's night-vision goggles, it's body armor," Clinton said enroute to Mexico City in her third foreign trip as Secretary of State.
"These criminals are outgunning law enforcement officials," Clinton said of the street warfare in towns near the border that have claimed more than 6,000
lives in the past year.
"And since we know that the vast majority, 90% of that [weaponry] comes from our country
, we're going to try to stop it from getting there in the first place," Clinton said.
Another factor fueling the bloody Mexican turf battles, Clinton said, is America's "insatiable" demand for illegal drugs.
Clinton's arrival in Mexico City for meetings with President Felipe Calderon competed for front-page space with the arrest of a major drug thug, Hector Huerta Rios, known as "La Burra [Female Donkey]."
Huerta Rios was said to be the drug kingpin in Monterrey, where Clinton will visit Thursday.
In remarks prior to Clinton's arrival, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa hailed the "constructive attitude" of the new administration of President Obama, which was seen as a dig at the administration of former President George W. Bush.
In addition to sitdowns with Calderon and Espinosa, Clinton will also be meeting with Mexico's top military and law enforcement officials in the drug war to coordinate on the U.S. administration's plan to send more immigration and drug to the border area.