Sunday, October 23, 2011

FBI report: "The US Southwest Border region represents a continuing criminal threat to the United States"

The following is from the FBI's just released 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment.

MDTO stands for Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization.

Also of interest is the high percentage of gangs affiliated with Drug Cartels.

The Southwest Border

The US Southwest Border region represents a continuing criminal threat to the United States. The rugged, rural, and porous area along the nearly 2,000 miles of contiguous US-Mexican territory invites widespread criminal activity, including drug and arms trafficking, alien smuggling, human trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, and public corruption. US-based gangs, MDTOs, and other criminal enterprises in both the United States and Mexico are readily exploiting this fluid region and incur enormous profit by establishing wide-reaching drug networks; assisting in the smuggling drugs, arms, and illegal immigrants; and serving as enforcers for MDTO interests on the US side of the border.

Violence in Mexico—particularly in its northern border states—has escalated with over 34,000 murders committed in Mexico over the past four years.38 While intensified scrutiny from Mexican law enforcement has forced significant disruptions in several dangerous MDTOs, such disruptions have also served to disrupt the balance of power among these organizations. This has prompted drug cartel rivalries to employ more aggressive tactics as they attempt to assert control over the Southwest border region and its highly lucrative drug trafficking corridors.39 Although the majority of the violence from feuding drug cartels occurs in Mexico,o Mexican drug cartel activity has fueled crime in the porous US Southwest Border region, where easy access to weapons, a high demand for drugs, ample opportunity for law enforcement corruption, and a large Hispanic population ripe for recruitment and exploitation exists.40

Hispanic prison gangs along the Southwest border region are strengthening their ties with MDTOs to acquire wholesale quantities of drugs, according to NDIC reporting.41 In exchange for a consistent drug supply, US-based gangs smuggle and distribute drugs, collect drug proceeds, launder money, smuggle weapons, commit kidnappings, and serve as lookouts and enforcers on behalf of the MDTOs. MDTOs subsequently profit from increased drug circulation in the United States, while US-based gangs have access to a consistent drug supply which expands their influence, power, and ability to recruit.42

Gang-related activity and violence has increased along the Southwest border region, as US-based gangs seek to prove their worth to the drug cartels, compete with other gangs for favor, and act as US-based enforcers for cartels which involves home invasions, robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Chart 3. Gang Associations with Criminal Organizations.

Figure 8. Mexican Drug Cartels

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