Billions in 'Blood Money' Fuel Bloodshed In Juarez, Mexico

"The threats mainly come the same way they threaten the police department, on police patrol radios," he said.

That was when he called in the troops. But the battle continues on many fronts. The streets of Juarez may be quieter these days, but at the city morgue, the bodies are still piling up.

Julio said his years of killing for the cartel wrecked his life. "No, no going back," he said. "I was a very frightened man. I lost everything then. I lost my dignity. I had to kill, you know, even wanting to kill just to please my boss."

U.S. Officials on Cartel Payroll?

Also deeply disturbing, Julio claims to have had help smuggling drugs from corrupt U.S. government officials. He said the Mexican drug bosses have many U.S. officials on the payroll. They are known to the smugglers only by number, not by name. And they make sure they are on duty when they open the border for the smugglers.

FBI agent Keith Slotter said the vast majority of border officials are honest, but he admits corruption by the cartels is on the rise.

"For them to be successful, they have to be able to get across the border, and they are willing to pay a lot of money to 'grease' the skids," said Slotter.

While the FBI is on the case in the United States, in Mexico the justice system is broken. The vast majority of crimes in Mexico in 2008 went unsolved. So the war in Juarez goes on. The Mexican army has clamped down on the city, but for how long?

American gun sales keep the cartels armed. Ninety percent of the weapons seized in Mexico come from the United States. Meanwhile, millions of Americans just keep getting high, an irony that causes Mayor Reyes concern.

"When I read an article a few weeks ago about Michael Phelps using marijuana and not being prosecuted even though there was the evidence right there, I think wow, we are doing all this effort ... because the drug use is in the United States. The dead are in Mexico."

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