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Two Texas high school students were killed this week in Mexico's violent drug war.
El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico are essentially one large city, separated only by the Rio Grande. Many residents--of both cities--cross the border daily for school and work, invariably linking the two border towns together.
Carlos Mario Gonzalez Bermudez and Juan Carlos Echeverri did this five days a week during the school year. Despite being U.S. citizens, the boys lived in the cheaper, crime-ridden Juarez, commuting into El Paso to attend local private Catholic schools. This is not uncommon of students in El Paso, Texas, as 20% of those at Bermudez's school did the same, according to the AP.
Saturday afternoon, the two boys fell victim to that crime. While looking at cars at a Juarez dealership, they were shot down by a barrage of 60 bullets, most likely coming from members of one of the local drug cartels. In Juarez, killing has become an everyday occurrence as the turf war between two drug cartels escalates. More than 3,000 people were killed last year alone, reports the AP.
Though the boys were victims of a Juarez shooting, a lot of Americans may be asking themselves, what, if anything, can the U.S. do to bring the killers to justice?
The answer? Not a whole lot.
The United States has no jurisdiction to prosecute crimes that occur in Mexico, regardless of whether they result in the death of a US citizen. The most they can do is offer support to local prosecutors and engage in a little diplomacy to push the case through. Unfortunately, even these steps aren't likely to end in justice for Bermudez and Echeverri.
Mexico has been having trouble prosecuting crimes that involve the drug cartels, as witnesses remain quiet in fear for their own safety. And for this Juarez shooting? The local Mexican prosecutor knows of no suspects or motive, further reports the AP, and is having a hard time getting witnesses to talk.
Even though the U.S. can't bring the boys justice, it can do one thing: make it more affordable for U.S. citizens to live in the much safer El Paso, Texas, so no one else becomes the victim of another Juarez killing.