The Mexican government continues to fight a criminal insurgency in Northern Mexico. Criminal organizations formed their own paramilitary organizations and openly resist government rule. The violence is spilling across the border, as expected.
There’s a twist now. Not only are the gangs growing bolder, but they are cooperating with radical Islamist organizations. This continues the trend seen elsewhere in South American, where groups like Hezbollah cooperate with communists, drug smugglers, and others.
I’ve talked about the Mexican War before. Right now, the Sinaloan Cartel and Gulf Cartel called a ceasefire to resist pressure from the Mexican government.
There has been mixed progress by the Mexican counterinsurgency strategy. The military divided the drug gangs and prevented them from growing into larger hierarchical organization, but the gangs continue to decentralize and fragment.
They continue to make a ton of money off the drug trade and human smuggling across the US border. Any progress Mexico makes is countered by the criminals ability to regenerate. The business is too lucrative to shut down.
This is the Border Investigation Report from the House Committee on Homeland Security:
Along the border with Mexico, there are 43 Ports of Entry, 18 in Texas, connecting with major U.S. interstate highways. These Ports or Entry and highway systems are intended to facilitate lawful trade and commerce. However, the Mexican drug cartels have been able to use these highways for their own ends, seeing in them an efficient means to transport their drugs and illegal aliens across the border.
Mexican drug cartels operating along the Southwest border are more sophisticated and dangerous than any other organized criminal enterprise. The Mexican cartels, and the smuggling rings and gangs they leverage, wield substantial control over the routes into the United States and pose substantial challenges to U.S. law enforcement to secure the Southwest border. The cartels operate along the border with military grade weapons, technology and intelligence and their own respective paramilitary enforcers.
The Mexican Drug Organizations are reaching out to American gangs like MS-13 and establishing trade networks.
I’m not exaggerating when I say the Drug gangs are armed as well as military insurgents. We’re facing criminals armed with IEDs, assault rifles, sniper rifles, grenades, and body armor.
The criminal organizations are indeed extremely advanced, well-equipped, and highly adaptable to enforcement measures marshaled against them. In January 2006, ICE
agents, along with ATF agents and Laredo Police Department officers seized an enormous cache of weapons in Laredo, Texas. Authorities confiscated two completed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) materials for making thirty-three more, military style grenades, twenty-six grenade triggers, large quantities of AK-47s and AR-15 assault rifles, 1,280 pounds of ammunition, silencers, machine gun assembly kits, 300 primers,
bulletproof vests, police scanners, sniper scopes, narcotics and cash. These seizures clearly illustrate the level of violence along the border, especially in Nuevo Laredo and Juarez area.
Human trafficking is a growing problem. The coyotes egregiously violate the human rights of their ‘customers’, often raping women and abandoning others in the desert. They usually charge $2000 or less per person. For special non-Mexican customers, they charge $20,000 or more per person and make a more serious effort to smuggle them into the US.
The number of aliens other than Mexican (“OTMs”) illegally crossing the border has grown at an alarming rate over the past several years. Based on U.S. Border Patrol
statistics there were 30,147 OTMs apprehended in FY2003, 44,614 in FY2004, 165,178 in FY2005, and 108,025 in FY2006. Most of them were apprehended along the U.S. Southwest border.
That’s a rather large figure. When you break it down, many are from Central America and the Caribbean. But even if we exclude those non-Mexicans, we are looking at a significant number of non-Americans passing through Mexico.
There are confirmed cases of Hezbollah agents acrossing the border. A handful have been captured. We have absolutely no idea what is going on down there.
General James Hill, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has warned the United States faces a growing risk from both Middle Eastern terrorists relocating to Latin America and terror groups originating in the region. General Hill said groups such as Hezbollah had established bases in Latin America. These groups are taking advantage of smuggling hotspots, such as the tri-border area of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, and Venezuela’s Margarita Island, to channel funds to terrorist groups around the world.
Hezbollah and Hamas opened branches in South America to deal with drug gangs years ago. They provide explosives experts in return for drug money to finance their wars at home. Hezbollah started missionary efforts in the region too.
Iran has also been forging an alliance with Venezuela, which explains Hezbollah’s growing presence in the region. One has to wonder if Iran considers Venezuela and Mexico as lilly-pads to attack the US with a terrorist campaign. Or perhaps they’re just in it for the money.
Either way, this is turning out badly for Mexico.