2008: The impending withdrawal of the National Guard from the US-Mexican border
is a bit controversial. A number of US leaders (particularly state governors)
think the Guard serves a useful purpose. The Guardsmen provide backup for the
US Border Patrol. They also are a public and political statement about US
intent to protect the southern border. As of the end of June 2008 there are
under a thousand National Guard soldiers on "border duty" and most of them are
involved in infrastructure construction (fence lines, roads, maintenance).
2008: "Spill-over violence" from Mexico's drug war, ie, violence moving north
into the US, is once again a hot topic. "Hit lists" including US citizens, are
one reason, but police on both sides of the border have reported threats from
drug cartels to "expand the war." Indeed, this would get the drug cartels some
very big headlines and scare the US public. But angering the American public
would be a huge mistake on the part of the cartels. Cartel leaders may assume
that they could sucker the US and the Mexican government into some type of
conflict. That's Hollywood thinking. What these kind of attacks would do is foster closer cooperation between
the US and Mexico.
2008: A Mexican state policemen was murdered in the Sinaloa capital of
Culiacan. Mexican investigators report he was killed by fire from AK-47 assault
rifles. Culiacan is regarded as a "highly sensitive area" by Mexican federal
authorities and the Mexican Army. In May 2700 troops and paramilitary police
deployed to Culiacan to try and stop drug cartel violence in the city.
2008: The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has turned up a
"death list" (hit list) attributed to Mexican drug cartels. The list includes
the names of an American policemen in New Mexico. Allegedly several US citizens
appear on the list. Several lists have appeared in the last month, naming people in northern Mexican cities
(most of them in the city of Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El
2008: Mexican police forces are complaining again that they lack the firepower
to take on drug gangs. Local and state-level Mexican police are still for the
most part armed with pistols. The Mexican federal police want to provide local
and state police with more submachine guns and assault rifles.
2008: The Houston, Texas police conducted a major anti-gang operation in
Houston. The police issued an
interesting statement. The main target of the sweep was the Los Hermanos de
Pistoleros Latinos (Brotherhood of Latin Gunmen) gang, which has close ties to
Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel. The gang handles some of the Sinaloa drug
cartel's distribution in south and east Texas.
2008: May 2008 was a particularly bad month in Mexico. Initial reports are that
almost 500 people were killed in drug-related violence
2008: Mexican President Felipe Calderon has gotten a lot of public support for
his Cartel War against Mexican narcotics gangs. However, a recent Mexican
national poll reported that 53 percent of the Mexican people believe the drug
cartels are "winning the war."