Benefiting from the inflated margins of the illegal drug
trade, Mexican cartels move billions of dollars worth of cocaine,
methamphetamine, & marijuana to the high-demand markets of the United
States, using sophisticated weaponry and horrific violence to defend
their markets against competitors and directly challenge attempts by
state militia to control their activities. In return, they purchase
guns from border states like Texas, Arizona, and California to arm
their narco-insurgency. The Mexican state apparatus has become a
hollow shell, heavily militarized but incapable of managing its
PEMEX, the major oil developer along the Mexican Gulf, has reported
siphon about $1B in oil annually, reselling it on the open market
to fund their insurgency.
This tactic has escalated to include the
kidnapping of PEMEX workers, possibly to further infiltrate the
company. It was recently reported that cartels
may be using IED's to attack the Mexican military, suggesting that
the techniques of full-scale insurgency developed in Iraq are now
finding their way to Mexico.
Of particular interest are cartel incursions into the United States.
The DEA is tracking cartel networks across the major cities of the southern United
States. Americans have been indicted smuggling
weapons south across the border. Arrests of compromised Customs and Border agents has increased 40% in the
past year. Agents say that substantial cartel violence in the US is
only a matter of time. The US DHS has submitted plans to deal with cartel incursions into the
Recently, Pinal county sheriff, Paul Babeu, states that Mexican drug
control parts of Arizona. "We are outgunned, we are out manned and
we don't have the resources here locally to fight this," said Babeu,
referring to heavily-armed cartel movements three counties deep in
Arizona. Even Phoenix
has seen ongoing cartel violence.
It's important to understand that the Mexican narco-insurgency is
possibly the most direct threat to the stability of American
communities, far more so than any of our foreign wars. Immigration
laws will not work, just as drug laws have failed to stem the flow of
drugs across US borders. Legalization of drugs is perhaps the most
obvious solution, though it's not without its own costs. In all
likelihood, near-term management will take the form of increased troop
deployment to southern states, coupled to advanced enforcement
technologies. For example, Wired recently reported that the
FAA is considering how to integrate drones into US airspace.
Certainly the landscape of the America's southern states is shifting
to include a more violent and militarized gang presence.