The Texas-Mexico border region
has been experiencing an alarming rise in the level of criminal cartel
activity, including drug and human smuggling, which has placed
significant additional burdens on Federal, State, and local law enforcement
agencies. This interim report will examine the roots of the criminal
enterprise and its effects on the local populations, what steps are being
taken or should be taken to counter the threat, and the significance of
these issues for the overall homeland security of the United States.
border’s vast length and varied terrain poses significant challenges to U.S.
enforcement efforts to control the entry of individuals and goods into the
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of
Security (DHS) is the federal agency with primary responsibility to detect
illegal entry into the United States. As of the date of this report,approximately 11,000 CBP agents patrol the nearly 6,000 miles of
international border the United States shares with its neighbors Mexico and
While the Southwest border hosts
robust legal commercial activity, the border also is the
site of violent criminal enterprises. These enterprises are carried out by
criminal syndicates and include the smuggling of drugs, humans, weapons, and
across the U.S.-Mexico 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. In addition, human smugglers coordinate with the drug cartels, paying a fee to use the cartels’ safe smuggling routes into the Unites States. There are also indications the cartels may be moving to diversify their criminal enterprises to include the increasingly lucrative human smuggling trade.
Moreover, U.S. law enforcement
has established that there is increasing coordination
between Mexican drug cartels, human smuggling networks and U.S.-based gangs.
cartels use street and prison gangs located in the United States as their
Murders and kidnappings on the both sides of the border have significantly increased in recent years. The violence along the U.S.-Mexican border has increased so dramatically, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, during the last year, has issued an unprecedented number of diplomatic notes to the Mexican Government and threat advisories to U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico. During August 2005, the Ambassador closed the U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo for one week in order to assess security.
This new generation of
sophisticated and violent cartels, along the Southwest border, is
presenting significant challenges to U.S. law enforcement. These criminal
have unlimited money to buy the most advanced weapons and technology
cartels monitor the movements and communications of law enforcement and use
intelligence to enable the criminals to transport their cargo accordingly.
In addition to the criminal activities and violence of the cartels on our Southwest border, there is an ever-present threat of terrorist infiltration over the Southwest border. Data indicates that there are hundreds of illegal aliens apprehended entering the United States each year who are from countries known to support and sponsor terrorism.