By Casey Stegall, FOXNews.com
Law enforcement officers working along the U.S.-Mexico border are stepping up efforts to respond to what is in effect a war going on south of the border, where drug cartel violence has spun out of control.
In Texas, where the two countries are separated only by the Rio Grande River, stopping the violence from spilling into the United States means taking to the water — with 34-foot-long gunboats that pack some serious firepower.
The stakes are high. Since 2007, roughly 56,000 people in Mexico have been killed in the escalating drug cartel violence. The U.S. government and local police agencies are working around the clock, 365 days a year to try and stop the flow of drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants into America from our southern neighbor.
Of the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, about 1,200 of it is in Texas. The terrain here is very different compared to California, New Mexico and Arizona — states with dry land on the border.
The narrow and winding Rio Grande, meanwhile, is a hotbed of activity, since you can literally swim from one side to the other in just a few minutes. Officials say this makes it extremely enticing for smugglers, which is why authorities have to be one step ahead.
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