Skip to comments.How To Take On The Deadly Drug Cartels That Run The U.S.-Mexico Border
Posted on 02/11/2020 9:36:17 AM PST by Kaslin
A 13-year-old Oklahoma girl visiting Mexico with her family has been killed in yet another cartel ambush on a long and lonely stretch of highway just south of Falcon Heights, Texas.
After nine U.S. citizens were killed in the Mexican border state of Sonora in November, President Donald Trump threatened to label cartels terrorist organizations. When it came to it, however, he holstered the executive pen and backpedaled out of the saloon at the request of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who desires to embrace the cartels with abrazos no balazoshugs not bullets.
Now comes word that a 13-year-old Oklahoma girl visiting Mexico with her family has been killed in yet another cartel ambush on a long and lonely stretch of highway just south of Falcon Heights, Texas. In the background of these recent tragedies has been the mob to military transformation of the cartels, reflected in their uniforms, tactics, and equipment. Americans might have a hard time telling the difference between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Mexican National Guard.
says Uttam Dhillon, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s acting administrator, forms a present and growing danger, with at least two dozen cells operating within the United States. A report by the Courier Journal profiles CJNG as a billion-dollar organization with a large, disciplined army.
It manages an extensive criminal enterprise, from the suburbs of Seattle to the beaches of Mississippi and South Carolina, Californias coast, the mountains of Virginia, small farming towns in Iowa and Nebraska, and across Kentucky. CJNG uses sophisticated money-laundering techniques and has proven itself capable of waging cyberwarfare.
So army is not an exaggeration, nor have the cartels limited themselves to a ground game. Consider the rise of what analyst Adam Elkus calls the narco-navy.
Last summer, the U.S. Coast Guard released footage of a dramatic interdiction, in which an operator leaped onto a moving narco-sub hauling 16,000 pounds of cocaine. A similar low-profile vessel (LPV) made it across the Atlantic last November carrying more than $100 million in cocaine to Spain from South America. But that LPV looked like a childs toy compared to the camouflaged, 74-foot-long, twin-propeller leviathan with a 5-foot conning tower found on a sandy beach in Ecuador.
Taking a combined arms approach to organized crime, theyve got narco-tanks, too.
Fitted out with .50 caliber rifles and machine guns, narcos recently fielded tanks and armored personnel carriers in Culiacán against a joint task force of Mexican National Guard and police. They successfully plucked Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán, out of the hands of Mexican authorities. Footage from that skirmish revealed an arsenal that would make Wayne LaPierre clutch his pearls.
Cartel gunmen brought to bear M249 Para light machine guns, designed specifically for airborne units, along with the M72 LAW, a portable one-shot 66-mm unguided anti-tank weapon. In 2015, narcos managed to shoot down a military helicopter with a similar portable anti-tank system, killing members of an elite Mexican special forces unit.
What we saw in Culiacán was the parallel state showing itself, said Edgardo Buscaglia, an expert on organized crime at Columbia University. What Buscaglia calls the parallel state, historian Crane Briton referred to as the illegal government. The legal, in this case, Mexican government, explained Brinton, finds opposed to it, not merely hostile individuals and parties . . . but a rival government, better organized, better staffed, better obeyed.
The communications, intelligence, and organizational infrastructure of the cartels were such that they were able to mobilize a rescue operation for López before he was even detained by authorities. The families of soldiers and police were identified and targeted as cartel gunmen positioned themselves in strategic locations around the city, placing a noose around the throat of Culiacán.
You need a military strategy to contain these groupsand the president is moving further and further away from one, said Buscaglia of Obradors cuddly approach to the cartels. Indeed, even as the cartels become more militaresque, Obrador has expressed a desire to liquidate Mexicos army.
If it were up to me, said the Mexican president, I would get rid of the army and turn it into the National Guardthat is, into a glorified police force. Whatever plan Obrador has in store likely will be bad for Mexico and the United States, which is ultimately what the cartels are after.
What Mexicos increasingly powerful transnational criminal organizations are battling overand the reason gang warfare has reached record heights, writes Josh Meyer in the Washington Post, is the opportunity to make enormous amounts of money trafficking fentanyl and other synthetic opioids into the United States.
The cartels will only become bolder and more violent as they grow confident in their ability to operate with impunity, a gruesome fact evidenced by the new record high of 35,588 murders in Mexico last year, according to data from the national public security system. All this means, on the one hand, is that more Americans will likely be caught in the crossfire over there and, eventually, here. On the other hand, it means more drugs will flow across the border.
Domestic street gangs, prison gangs, and even Asian money-laundering organizations, according to the DEA, act as conduits for cartels, fueling the flames of the opioid crisis that already claims thousands of lives every year. Its worth noting that the cartels have managed to infiltrate some American law enforcement agencies to this end, from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to sheriff’s departments, as Operation Blue Shame and inquiries by the Center for Investigative Reporting have revealed.
While it ought to be clear that these are not ordinary gangs, declaring them terrorists would likely create more problems than it would solve. In a meeting with U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Mexicos Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrar pointed out that people living in areas with declared terrorist organizations would have credible asylum claims. Put another way, that move could trigger a wave of mass immigration that, ironically, would benefit the cartels most of all.
In many instances, CPB has noted, criminal organizations are saturating areas with large groups with the belief that they can smuggle narcotics or other contraband into the United States while Border Patrol agents are occupied. This is essentially swarming, or, a seemingly amorphous, but deliberately structured, coordinated strategy to overwhelm an already understaffed Border Patrolsomething Sheriff A.J. Andy Louderback of Jackson County, Texas, is all too familiar with.
Louderback has observed firsthand the cartels ability to penetrate our border, their ability to move fluidly and silently in any different direction with a 10-minute phone call to make massive changes in what theyre doing, to reroute a load, to reroute humans. This is a kind of flexibility that we are not currently prepared to handle. I spoke to Louderback, a veteran in the war against the cartels, about the challenges facing officers in this arena.
Local agencies, he said, suffer from being siloed from county to county, even as the cartels are clearly becoming more aggressive and sophisticated. Those looking for a long-term solution ought to focus on enhancing a network approach to law enforcement. Louderback has been involved with the 287(g) Program, an initiative that partners local agencies with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The program trains local officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.
Although 287(g) partnerships have been fruitful, it is nevertheless a process dependent on funding and the willingness of agencies to enroll. The cartels, by contrast, have no such bureaucratic obstacles and have no short supply of blood money. Fortunately, lawmen like Louderback now have an ally in the White House.
If the administration wants to go on the offense, it could take a few practical steps in the right direction. Adding more cartels to the list of transnational criminal organizations would allow us to squeeze them as much as possible financially. But it would not be enough, as Giovanni Falcone advises, to follow the money. The Insurrection Act, which the president has mentioned before, is another instrument that would be useful in this fight.
Because of the Posse Comitatus Act, our troops on the border operate in a passive, observe and report capacity. The Insurrection Act could remedy that problem. If it is clearly lawful, as University of Texas Law School professor Stephen I. Vladeck writes that it is, for the president to use the act in immigration matters, then surely that lawfulness extends to border security. And although Congress in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibited use of the federal military for domestic law enforcement, Vladeck writes, the Insurrection Act was always understood as the principal exception to that general rule.
Use of the Insurrection Act, according to the text, is permissible to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident the usual authorities are incapable of maintaining order. To say nothing of their subversion of our immigration laws, the cartels have fueled a massive public health emergency at a time border agents are understaffed and dealing with corruption in their ranks.
Indeed, Ralph DeSioa, a CBP spokesman in San Diego, recently told reporters that the significant decrease in drug seizures at the border was the result of not enough personnel. Although some checkpoints werent completely mothballed, they werent as operational as the years before, he said. We had to minimize those operations to deal with the crisis along the southwest border. Where might we find a pool of lean and hungry young men ready to defend our country from foreign threats?
For local law enforcement, Louderback told me, the military is a tremendous support group. He added that the implementation of strategies involving local law enforcement and the military are going to pay tremendous dividends quicker.
Around 90 percent of all heroin consumed domestically comes from Mexico. Far more addictive and deadly fentanyl surges through our border in large quantities as well, killing Americans by the tens of thousands across the country. Between 2013 and 2017, according to data compiled by the Washington Post, more than 67,000 people died of opioid overdose. That is more deaths than the combined number of American military personnel killed during the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.
There are, therefore, good reasons to invoke the Insurrection Act. It would untie the hands of the military and allow them to actively engage in the fight, just as a federal appeals court has lifted the block on $3.6 billion for the southern border wall. Troops could man additional patrols to counter the vast network of Mexican cartel scouts operating within the U.S. while hunting, not merely observing, smugglers and narcos who cross the border. Even without the Insurrection Act, Army Engineer battalions and Navy Construction Battalions could be building the wall right now.
But what can be done about Mexico? Obrador opposes a large-scale show of American military might on Mexican soil. Still, Trump could continue to offer special mission units for surgical strikes on cartel leaders. Remember that Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 played a critical role in the takedown of Pablo Escobar in cooperation with the Columbians.
After the White House approved the mission against Escobar, Gen. Bill Garrison reportedly told Delta commander Jerry Boykin, I want you to go down there . . . Select a few folks to take with you. Keep it small. Its likely Delta was involved in the more recent capture of El Chapo, too.
Collaboration between American special mission units and Mexican authorities, then, might be the most prudent and pragmatic strategy. It would make Obrador look measured in his approach and advance American national security interests in the face of a growing threat, while restraining the use of special mission units to high-value targets.
Many decisions lie ahead of us, and none will be made easily. What is certain is that cartels are no longer afraid to open fire on a vehicle with Oklahoma license plates, even as they reduce more and more of our communities to their drug fiefdoms. In the face of all this, President Trump, fresh off his acquittal, could make a difference and advance on this field of the America First agenda.
Drop daisycutters on the mansions of the kingpins in mexico and panama and columbia at the same time.
We have to call these folks what they are....terrorists. Plain and simple.
They are a clear and present danger to our society.
Thanks , good article.
At 3:30 am one evening, F-18s drop 2000 pound JDAMs on several dozen well known hacienda and production sites. At 0700am HSBC, Wells Fargo, and other dope banks are seized.
If you fight cartels and laundering banks aren’t mentioned, you aren’t serious.
A better approach would be to simply engage them at the border as an invading military force, and treat them accordingly.
Oh, and the easiest way to incapacitate them is to eliminate the demand here in the U.S. You cant Make America Great Again when so many Americans are strung out on sh!t that makes them unemployable wards of the state.
We call ISIS a terrorist group and we’re not accepting millions of asylum claims from the Middle East....at least not that I am aware.
How exactly do we accomplish this "easy" task?
Option#1: Legalize drugs.
Option#2: Kill them all.
Choose one. I'm fine with either.
Only one of those options will actually have an effect on the demand though. The other would only temporarily slow down the supply.
Most of these responses are conventional and have been tried to a certain extent and have been proven ineffective against these people..
These people are barbarians. They use cruel and terrifying tactics against people they perceive as their enemies.
You can’t treat them the same as you do a more civilized soldier or warrior from an insurgency like those we have faced in the middle east. In the middle east, they kill anyone they can find and its often in a manner that is horrific to peoples of western culture, but they are still not as barbarous as these cartel members are because the cartels will go after the families of their enemies. Most upstanding citizens whether they are average joes, police, politicians, or military are going to be cowed by that.
The only thing that will defeat them is to play the same game. Kill and maim their families to the nth degree. If they want to make that part of their methodology then its ok for us to do the same.
I understand that this lacks civility and compassion but its the only way to win. Cutting the drug demand won’t do it. Sending in the troops won’t do it. You have to make them fear you as they fear nothing else.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.
who wishes to fight must first count the cost
The solution is to eliminate the asylum program, declare them terrorists, declare the Mexican government illegitimate after suddenly seizing the Mexican capital, and setting up a right wing government in Mexico free of corruption.
At least that’s the dream solution in my head.
close the entire mexican us border save a couple heavily fortified entry points, everyone and everything gets a detailed check.
declare 100 miles deep into mexico a dmz border.
that becomes an active live training ground for the us military - all branches.
training ops to take out targets, test equipment and systems, test new strategies.
anyone in the dmz is a target.
Here's a bit more, for hitting them at home:
Here's the rest of my initial force for dealing with the drug cartels, the thoroughly updated "Puff the Magic Dragon":
How about no drug needs on this side of the border?
Where they’ve legalized MJ, the cartels move in and undersell the legal merchants
Puff has been upgraded to a GhostRider with far more fire power than that Korean war antique
No they don't - they were already there.
and undersell the legal merchants
Where taxes and/or restrictions on legal supply are excessive.
Not easy, but if it could be sold, the strategy used by China Indonesia and Singapore might reduce demand.
Hanging for dealers, boot camp for users.
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