How children become "cannon fodder" for Mexican drug cartels

Wired's Danger Room blog points to this new report [PDF] by the NGO International Crisis Group, which details how Mexican drug cartels recruit and coerce kids as young as 11 years old to kill. Narcos “have recruited thousands of street gang members, school drop-outs and unskilled workers” over the last decade, and the report claims “cartel bosses will treat the young killers as cannon fodder, throwing them into suicidal attacks on security forces.” [Wired.com]

Drug cartel violence in Mexico, an animated video explainer

Jess Bachman at Visual.ly says,

We just produced this animated short on the escalating drug cartel violence on the US-Mexico border. This is some horrific stuff that is a lot closer than Afghanistan and Syria and something we play a much larger role in, yet it get's no national coverage. Additionally its not even mentioned as part of the gun control debate. Mexico has strict gun laws... where do the cartels arm themselves? Imported from the U.S. of course. Our gun policy is not just a domestic one. Here's to hoping we can keep the drug war at the forefront this term.

Subpoena for AG Holder imminent in "Fast and Furious" guns-for-narcos investigation


(Eric Holder. Photo: REUTERS)

A congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to be issued soon, according to CBS News, and will order him to hand over documents to lawmakers showing when he became aware of "Fast and Furious," a "gunwalking" operation that supplied guns to Mexican drug cartels. Snip from CBS:

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and "gunwalking." The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson - more than a dozen of them - by name.

In Fast and Furious, the ATF allegedly allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to see where the weapons ended up, and take down a cartel. But the guns have been found at many crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.

In related news, the very latest in a series of reports at the Los Angeles Times about "Fast and Furious" reveals that guns from that covert US operation were found literally inside the home of a narco boss in violence-plagued Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:

High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF's Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars.

Photo, Los Angeles Times: The arsenal uncovered by police in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which included weapons from the ATF's ill-fated "Fast and Furious" operation. Note the highly classy "Scarface"-dollar-bill poster above the bookshelf, a favorite motif among gangsters worldwide.