The following is a fact-check of the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:
SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ)
1) A police chief in Nogales, Arizona said that his police officers are being told they will be murdered by the Mexican drug cartels – TRUE
2) As a result of violence and the influence of the Mexican drug cartels, the government has installed signs in the southern part of Arizona warning people they are in a drug and human smuggling area - TRUE
SEN. McCAIN: Why is it that the police chief in Nogales reported that his police officers are being told they’re going to be murdered by the drug cartels on the other side of the border? The, the rise of violence and the influence of the drug cartels and the human smugglers have made our government put up signs in the southern part of the state of Arizona warning them that they are in a drug smuggling and human smuggling area of this country.
1) According to both CNN and ABC News, police officers from Nogales, Arizona were threatened by a Mexican drug cartel. Informants told the police department that off-duty officers should ignore illegal drug drug shipments or face retaliation. Although, there is no specific indication that retaliation would include murdering the officers, it is reasonable to assume that that is what the threats were meant to imply. Thus, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.
It is worth noting, however, that Sen. McCain made the statement to indicate the increasing danger in the area. While the Senator’s statement is TRUE in and of itself, included in the same CNN story referenced above was this point as well which we feel is relevant to the context of his overall point:
And while the region is a major drug corridor, Nogales has an extremely low crime rate. There has only been one murder in the past three years. By contrast, the police chief says, just across the border there have already been 126 drug-related murders this year.
One thing made clear in both articles, however, is that the violence on the other side of the border is significant, and often especially targets Mexican police officers. And again, there is no question the threatening of US police officers is a sign of escalation.
2) According to the Associated Press, signs have been placed along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona by the federal government to warn visitors to the Sonoran Desert National Monument that drug and human smuggling may be occurring south of the highway. Therefore, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.
This sign is one of eight that were recently placed along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona by the federal government.
This fact-check took a combined 2 hours.