Mexico: Bloodshed Crosses The Border


April 2,2008: As it gets more difficult to illegally cross the U.S. border, it costs more to pay a professional smuggler ("coyote") to assist. But those higher smuggling fees have attracted the drug smuggling gangs, who are now taking over the business. As subsidiaries of drug cartels, this new breed of "coyote" is heavily armed and vicious. The violence is often directed at the clients (the people paying to get smuggled into the U.S.) This is bringing the Mexican border war into the United States.

March 31, 2008: Mexico is conducting another military and police "surge" along the Mexico-Texas border. On March 27, 2500 federal police and soldiers entered the city of Juarez (Chihuahua state) in what US police described as a major counter-drug cartel strike but also warned that this is a "protracted" (ie, long term) fight. Juarez has almost 1.3 million people and is directly across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Earlier this year the commander of Ft Bliss (the major US Army post in El Paso) had put Juarez "off limits" (to U.S. soldiers) due to the danger. Violence has indeed escalated. Mexican police estimate that around 200 people have been killed in a "turf war" between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels. Mexican authorities call this phase of their northern surge "Operation Chuhuahua." The Mexican authorities also indicated they intend to bring in more federal police and intelligence officers as the operation progresses.

March 21, 2008: Police reported that six "gunmen" attacked a police station in the town of Jerecuaro (Guanajuato state) and murdered five people (Four policemen and a civilian secretary). The attack was similar to operations conducted against small police stations by drug cartel hit teams. These types of attacks are designed to kill honest Mexican local and state police and intimidate everyone else. Murder and intimidation are the traditional tools of criminals. However, the Mexican drug cartels have increasingly used "special ops-type" attacks on police facilities. The hit teams use automatic weapons and often wear body armor. This is why the Mexican government describes the drug cartel tactics as "insurgency tactics."

March 20, 2008: The government is relying on the "goodwill" of the Mexican people to support the Cartel War. The government continues to emphasize that this is a long-haul effort. But the government seems to have earned the respect of a lot of Mexicans who tell pollsters that they are "tired of insecurity." The government disdains comparison to Colombia, but that same "we're tired of this" attitude among the Colombian people –which really became apparent in 2001 and 2002— is what ultimately turned the war against the narco-guerrillas in the Colombian government's favor.




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