The Emerging Influence and Power of Mexican Drug Cartels
Mexican drug trafficking
organizations and criminal gangs have emerged in recent years
as the most influential drug traffickers in the United States. Though
have existed for some time, they have become increasingly powerful with the
the Medellin and Cali cartels in Colombia and have now come to dominate the
Mexican cartels are also increasing their relationships with prison and
street gangs in the
United States to facilitate trafficking drugs within the United States. For
including the Latin Kings and Mara Salvatrucha buy methamphetamine from
drug cartels for distribution in the southwestern United States.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that the Mexican drug syndicates operating today along our Nation’s Southwest border are far more sophisticated and dangerous than any of the other organized criminal groups in America’s law enforcement history. Indeed, these powerful drug cartels, and the human smuggling networks and gangs they leverage, have immense control over the routes into the United States and continue to pose formidable challenges to our efforts to secure the Southwest border.
Along the Texas-Mexico border, drug cartels and organized criminal groups
established a robust presence in key strategic areas. The Texas-Mexico
particularly attractive to these criminal networks as it spans approximately
The South Texas region covers approximately 625 miles of border territory – a total area of 20,963 square miles and borders three separate Mexican States. Inside the territory are 11 Ports of Entry that include 15 international bridges. Directly across the cities of Brownsville, McAllen, and Laredo are major Mexican cities, each with a population between 600,000 and 800,000.
McAllen and Brownsville host interstate highways and thoroughfares, providing drug traffickers and human smugglers with ready access to the Nation’s interior. Trains, usually 90 to 160 cars in length, traveling from Central America through Mexico to Brownsville, McAllen, and Laredo, are one mode of transportation illegal aliens use to enter the United States.Each year thousands of illegal aliens cling to the sides and tops of the rail cars for the journey to the north.
The El Paso-Juarez corridor in west Texas also serves as the gateway for
to major metropolitan areas in the United States. Mexican drug cartels
transport significant quantities of marijuana and cocaine through the El
Paso Port of Entry using major east/west and north/south interstate
highways. These highways provide the Mexican cartels with transportation
routes for drug distribution throughout the United States. Drug cartels also
obtain warehouses in El Paso for stash locations and recruit drivers from
the local area to transport the drugs to various destinations throughout the
The Alpine area is largely rural and sparsely populated, encompassing the Big Bend corridor, a transshipment route for drugs entering the United States from Northeast Mexico. The drug cartels maintain command and control elements to the north in the Midland-Odessa area and in the border towns to the south in Presidio and Redford.
The Laredo Port of Entry is the busiest and most heavily traversed land Port
of Entry on
the Southwest border, handling approximately 6,000 commercial vehicles a
percent of all Mexican exports cross into Laredo, Texas, where Interstate 35
directly to Dallas, and from there throughout the United States. U.S. Border
John Montoya describes this Port of Entry as “the key ingress into the