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U.S. gives Mexico money to fight drug war

The U.S. government released Wednesday the first installment of a $400 million aid package to support Mexico's police and military in their war against the drug cartels, reported Fox News.

This money is a portion of the Merida Initiative, reported the BBC, and it will assist Mexico's efforts in taking on the drug trade by equipping security forces and strengthening justice systems in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza released $197 million at a ceremony in Mexico City, and the rest of the money will be disbursed during the year, reported Fox News.

The money could not come at a more critical hour, reported Fox News. The death toll in Mexico due to drug-related violence is over 4,000, while murders and kidnappings are becoming more frequent over the border as well.

According to the BBC, last weekend alone, there were 25 deaths in Tijuana, including nine bodies that were decapitated, which Mexican officials claiming that a lot of the violence is due to the gangs turning on each other.

The Merida Initiative will allow the U.S. and Mexico to work more closely, reported Fox News.

However, according to the BBC, none of the $197 million released will be in the form of cash. U.S. legislators worried that the money would end up in the hands of corrupt officials.

President Felipe Calderon has long sought, and been promised, aid from the U.S. in fighting the drug war, reported the BBC.

"It's time to work together to find the best practices that work across the hemisphere, and to tailor approaches to fit each country," Obama said, reported Fox News.