Random vehicle checkpoints, patrols of masked soldiers and police in SWAT gear are some of the signs of the massive military buildup ordered by Mexico's president, Ciudad Juarez police spokesman Jaime Torres Valadez has said. Another 1,500 soldiers are expected to join the 3,500 that rolled into Juarez earlier in March 2009 to support municipal police in street patrols and ultimately take control of their operations, Torres said. In addition to the army troops, about 3,000 federal agents arrived to carry out investigations Torres likened to those of the FBI in the United States. "They'll stay as long as necessary," Torres said, in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas. Extreme violence among warring drug cartels and between them and the Mexican government has long plagued Juarez and the state of Chihuahua, but the situation has been getting worse. In February 2009, the city's chief of police was obliged to quit, after threats from organized crime to kill a policeman every day that he remained on the job. And now, the U.S. Consulate in Juarez has specifically warned Americans to avoid an area southeast of the city. "There has been a dramatic increase in drug related violence in the Guadalupe Bravo area and there is no indication that the situation will improve in the near future," the consulate said on its Web site.
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