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Article posted: 2/3/2013 7:00 AM

U.S. military expands its drug war in Latin America

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The captain of the USS Underwood, Peter T. Mirisola, fires a grenade launcher during small arms qualifications onboard the ship while patrolling in international waters near Panama. In the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War, the U.S. has militarized the battle against drug traffickers, spending more than $20 billion in the past decade. U.S. Army troops, Air Force pilots and Navy ships outfitted with Coast Guard counternarcotics teams are routinely deployed to chase, track and capture drug smugglers.

Associated Press/October 2012

U.S. Navy sailors look out at a small sailing vessel as the USS Underwood prepares to approach them while patrolling in international waters near Panama.

Associated Press/October 2012

Sailors pose for a photo on the flight deck of the USS Underwood while patrolling in international waters near Panama.

Associated Press/October 2012

Honduran soldiers stand next to a plane after checking passengers information in Brus Laguna, Honduras.

Associated Press/May 2012

About this Article

In the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War, the U.S. has militarized the battle against the traffickers, spending more than $20 billion in the past decade. U.S. Army troops, Air Force pilots and Navy ships outfitted with Coast Guard counter-narcotics teams are routinely deployed to chase, track and capture drug smugglers. "The results are historic and have tremendous implications, not just for the United States and the Western Hemisphere, but for the world," U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said.
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    • The captain of the USS Underwood, Peter T. Mirisola, fires a grenade launcher during small arms qualifications onboard the ship while patrolling in international waters near Panama. In the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War, the U.S. has militarized the battle against drug traffickers, spending more than $20 billion in the past decade. U.S. Army troops, Air Force pilots and Navy ships outfitted with Coast Guard counternarcotics teams are routinely deployed to chase, track and capture drug smugglers.
    • U.S. Navy sailors look out at a small sailing vessel as the USS Underwood prepares to approach them while patrolling in international waters near Panama.
    • Sailors pose for a photo on the flight deck of the USS Underwood while patrolling in international waters near Panama.
    • Honduran soldiers stand next to a plane after checking passengers information in Brus Laguna, Honduras.
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