Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mexico Bleeds over the Border

Although most journalists and pundits admit that the drug violence afflicting Mexico has become very bad indeed, many of them also argue that there is no evidence of a spillover into the United States. Nevertheless, there are growing indications that the spillover effect is not a myth. There have been ominous signs for some time. Mexican drug organizations had established close connections with domestic gangs in some two hundred fifty U.S. cities—and all fifty largest cities—by mid-2008. The increasing Mexican domination of all phases of the drug trade in the United States carries with it the obvious risk that the turf battles in Mexico between rival cartels could become proxy wars in U.S. communities. There is evidence that such struggles are already underway. In at least three cases, members of La Familia kidnapped competing drug dealers in Houston and held them for ransom. Similar events have occurred in Phoenix, Las Vegas and other U.S. cities. Cartel hit men have not only killed victims–including Americans–in Mexico, but they have apparently struck at individuals inside the United States. During 2008 and 2009, seven individuals were killed execution style in Laredo, Texas, across the Rio Grande from Nuevo Laredo—a major arena in the turf wars between the drug gangs. Authorities arrested and convicted two Gulf cartel enforcers for the string of executions. In October 2008, a Las Vegas child was kidnapped because a relative owed money to one of Mexican drug gangs. In September 2009, three armed men dragged Sergio Saucedo, a resident of Horizon City, Texas, out of his home and shoved him into an SUV. Saucedo’s wife, as well as school children in a packed bus, witnessed the abduction. His body was found several days later in Ciudad Ju├írez, with its arms chopped off and placed on the chest. U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested four men, including two who were U.S. citizens, the following February in connection with the crime. The drug lords are now bold enough to put Americans living in the United States, including law enforcement personnel, on target lists for execution...more

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