US military expands its drug war in Latin America

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ADVANCED FOR USE SUNDAY FEB. 3 AND THEREAFTER In this Oct. 12, 2012 photo, sailors participate in M4 rifle small arms qualification on the flight deck onboard the USS Underwood while patrolling in international waters near Panama. In the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War, the U.S. has militarized the battle against drug traffickers, spending more than $20 billion in the past decade. U.S. Army troops, Air Force pilots and Navy ships outfitted with Coast Guard counternarcotics teams are routinely deployed to chase, track and capture drug smugglers. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)The crew members aboard the USS Underwood could see through their night goggles what was happening on the fleeing go-fast boat: Someone was dumping bales.