Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Mexico: The Highway Of Death

Federal security forces have experienced a sharp increase in violent attacks in western Jalisco state by gunmen belonging to the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG). The situation in Jalisco is now similar to that in Michoacan state before the large-scale army intervention. Municipal and state police forces in the area have also been targeted. Since February 24, five police officers have been murdered by cartel gunmen. The cartel gunmen killed three municipal policemen in the town of Tlaquepaque (near the state capital, Guadalajara). On March 1 gunmen tried to assassinate the mayor of Ahualulco (west of Guadalajara). He was traveling in armored vehicle and survived the attack. Back in 2010 the CJNG was a faction within the Sinaloa cartel. Federal authorities now say it is now a separate and powerful criminal cartel...It has been awhile since anyone thought of Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) as merely a street gang. However, U.S. security officials have begun describing MS-13 as a highly-organized criminal operation that cooperates with Mexican drug cartels. For example, there is evidence that MS-13 helps Mexican cartels distribute drugs in the US. El Salvadorians living in Los Angeles, California area formed the original MS-13 street gang in the early 1980s. In the last decade a new leadership cadre emerged. The organization now has branches in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. These countries serve as transit points for smuggling South American cocaine through Mexico and into the U.S. The new leaders built on these existing operations, using money acquired from criminal activities to capitalize businesses in Central America and in the United States. The MS-13 businesses launder money for MS-13 (and perhaps other criminal organizations.) Security officials in the U.S. and Honduras believe some of these businesses have also created “legitimate” business operations, after running extortion schemes to drive out truly legal businesses...more

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