However, two of the speakers pulled out at the last minute: Drug Czar Kerlikowske and Border Czar Alan Bersin.
UTEP Assistant Professor Tony Payan, an authority on the two-year conflict between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels, said the absence of Obamaâ€™s two top advisors suggests that the young administration is still uncertain about its own stand on the nationâ€™s decades-old drug policy.
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles offered this scathing assessment:
â€œI donâ€™t know why youâ€™re all so surprised about the federal governmentâ€™s unwillingness to address this because, quite frankly, theyâ€™ve ignored the problem for years, and thatâ€™s why weâ€™re in the situation weâ€™re in now.
â€œAs a matter of fact, the only reason that weâ€™ve got national attention is because itâ€™s on the backs of the dead people in Juarez.â€