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War Along America's Border: The Mexican Drug Cartels

Updated on May 27, 2012

Spilling Over the Border

If you are not a resident of California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas, some of this hub will be astonishing. If you live in Southern California or along the Mexican border, you are in fear of Mexico's war with their drug cartel's may spill over into your lives.

The war is actually a shared one. The cocaine and other drugs sold by the cartels are purchased by US citizens. The US is the cartel's target consumer. The automatic weapons, from AK-47s to M4's are almost 90% American made and purchased in the US legally. More than 6,700 licensed gun dealers have set up shop within a short drive of the 2,000-mile border, from Texas to San Diego, Calif. This amounts to more than three dealers for every mile of border territory! The shops are legal businesses. "Straw Buyers" purchase these weapons for traffickers at small gun shops and large gun shows. One Mexican -American bought more than 100 assault rifles, 9-mm handguns and other high-powered weapons at multiple shops over several months and the cartel paid him $40 per gun. He was out of work due to the housing collapse.

There are only 100 U.S. firearms agents and 35 inspectors that patrol the vast border region for gun smugglers, compared with 16,000 Border Patrol agents covering 2000 miles. According to Mexican government officials, as many as 2,000 weapons enter Mexico from the US daily and fuel an arms race between competing Mexican drug cartels. Since 1996, a total of 63,000 guns have been smuggled into Mexico.

The Mexican cartels now control large areas of Mexican territory and dozens of municipalities, and they exercise increasing influence in Mexican electoral politics. Already several civic leaders or government officials have been arrested. There are five large drug cartels in Mexico and all are trying to seize control of drug markets. However, now there is increasing suspicion by the U.S. and Mexican authorities that Islamic terrorists may be supporting drug cartels in Mexico. Fears also grow that such terrorists may be able recruit Mexicans to cross the porous border. Thousands of Mexicans enter the US every day legally to work, some stay, others return to Mexico.

On July 16, 2008, the Mexican Navy intercepted a 30 ft narcotics submarine travelling about 125 miles off the Mexico; the vessel was found to be loaded with 5.8 tons of cocaine.

Since 2007, a total of 7,882 drug cartel related deaths have occurred. In Iraq, the number of US soldiers killed since 2003, is less. Many of these are beheadings to intimidate local officials or mass executions of 13 policemen. To combat the cartels, the Mexican government has spent $7 billion in the war against drugs. This is a lot of money for a poor nation. The Mexican Army is also being used on real combat missions taking on the cartel. In some cases, over 6000 soldiers are sent to a province to battle with this enemy. The U.S. Justice Department said last month that Mexican gangs are the "biggest organized crime threat to the United States." The drug war may also be President Obama's major issue to deal with as Iraq calms.

In Phoenix, Arizona, homicides have increased with a spirling kidnap and execution style killings. In Southern California, Americans have been abducted by armed groups have been tied to the Tijuana drug trade. One involved a businesswoman and her teenage daughter snatched in San Diego last year and held to ransom in Mexico. In the past month, the town of Juarez, right across the the US border has been the front line with over 250 people killed. Desperate, Mexicos's President Calderon ordered 5,000 more troops and federal police to the town. Many of the cartel's family members have crossed the border into the US to reside in safety while in Texas its governor has ordered 1000 military troops to man its border with Mexico.

Three miles south of Columbus, New Mexico (inside the US), Palomas, Mexico, has been a war zone. Over the last year, a drug feud that has killed more than 1,350 people in Juarez and more than 40 KIA in Palomas. Columbus with only 1800 residents has only a five man police force.

The last time an internal war in Mexico spilled over into Columbus was in 1916, when the Mexican revolutionary "Pancho" Villa led a pre-dawn raid that killed 18 Americans and touched off an international incident and US invasion into Mexico to hunt him down. One of the soldiers was a young Captain Patton, who later in WW2, became a General and daring commander. The two towns are linked because several hundred children, most of them U.S. citizens born to Mexican parents, cross from Mexico daily to attend public school, while some Columbus residents commute daily to work in Palomas. The crossing here is protected by six miles of 15 to 18 foot tall fencing and another 35 miles of waist-high vehicle barriers. Motion sensors and cameras plus a US Border Patrol force of 350, has kept things calm... so far.

This is not to say that it is a "wild west" in Southern California or along the borders, at least not yet. Life remains normal for most but really gross style killings are increasing and on a larger scale. In Mexico, many are afraid just to go to the store, talk trash about the Cartels, associate with Federal authories for fear of retaliation such as being beheaded and hung from a freeway overpass like many have. This applies to many civic leaders in elected offices. if any of this sounds vaguely familiar, it is. Look at the tactics of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Immigration and the drug war along America's border remains a very real concern for the USA. Should the cartels obtain shoulder fired surface to air missiles like the Russian SA-7, which are fired by two men and are deadly against non-military aircraft, all sorts of horror could create havoc for air travel in Mexico and the US. The only place they would get these military weapons are from known terrorist groups.

The Cartels in the US
The Cartels in the US
Captured gang members and their weapons
Captured gang members and their weapons
Mexican Army
Mexican Army
Captured US dollars
Captured US dollars
Cartel Turf
Cartel Turf
Mexican navy capturing cocaine sub
Mexican navy capturing cocaine sub


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Teletubbies is the most race traitor show I have ever watched.

      1) there's the black one (with green "fur" or w/e) who listens to hip-hop and breakdances, his toy-thing is a hat (cuz he likes to dress all cool).

      2) there's the asian one (with red "fur" or w/e) who, as said by the company,  only speaks mandarin chinese and has a horrific english accent. Her toy-thing is a scooter because, srsly, it's the only high tech toy thing any of them have. Also, the only one that sings (srsly, what's with asians and karaoke?)

      3) there's the white one (with purple "fur" or w/e, noted to probably be from San Fransisco) is gay, has a purse, likes to prance around like a fairy. nuff said.

      4) there's the "hispanic" one (with the yellow "fur" or w/e) plays with a ball (the cheapest of all the toys), is secretly a ballerina, always cleaning things.

      I don't mean to offend anyone, but srsly, wtf is wrong with the teletubbies?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a shame that the push against drugs has caused such violence in Central and South America. Wish the government would realize drugs need to be decriminalized.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I think the drug lords have tunnel vision and are unable to see the bigger picture. They do not understand the true power of hi-tech agriculture in finance.

      It is interesting that there is all of this time, money, hatred and killing invested in the drug war when you can raise produce and herbs in a specialized growing system and generate near as good of a return as raising marijuana or cocaine. The demand for locally grown produce and herbs in every part of the world is greater than marijuana and cocaine. It cost me 600k to setup every acre on this system and I have my cost back plus a healthy premium at the end of the first year. No wars, no armies, no killing, no prison, no hiding and no cross country distribution. It employs people and it feeds people. Cash in and cash out year-round. They could be the heroes of the people instead of the enemies of the people.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i like turtles

    • benzino84 profile image


      8 years ago from Saint Joseph, Missouri

      End prohibition. Legalize and regulate and yeah tax. People could settle disputes like any other legal business entity: in courts with attorneys rather than in wild west shootouts. It's time to make a stand and get with policy makers. We make the laws of our states. The reason why all these new drugs are being created is because drugs are prohibited. Let free markets reign. And yes with reasonable taxation. Society would be safer in transparency.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I will, thanks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The shame of all its those links and news above point back to only one place as root cause. US.

      What's more depressing, none still care about it, until we get a grenade on our kids playground.

      This is the whole point of it and that's why I'm not going to write and respond anymore. Until some one Put "Name and Surname or nickname" to American Cartel's drug lords. Who put them name and face will be a real American Patriot, a Patriot wont close its eyes, wont doubt a second to report it, wont run and hide those Patriots are already around, lets hope those Patriots are soon giving them out, a real Patriot will stand up and make noise, raise its voice.

      God Bless the world and protect them from us cause seemingly we are our worst enemy and we don't want to see it.

      Perry keep writing I love to read you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

    • profile image


      8 years ago

    • profile image


      8 years ago

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      In fact how many of American TV networks and journalists does not spice up news? how many reporters and newscaster really dare to argue or question American policies or show the real other side?

      What happened when Abudabi and Torture crimes appeared on media sight.. (and I use this as an example of recent history only but it applies to many many other situations)

      There was a a massive cover up, delay of information and make up, it took 3 years until congress really started to make noise, and when the commission started to question high ranked politicians and military officials, the smoking gun pointed to Donald Rumsfeld and Bush the commission hearings had too low coverage by news, and none did anything about it(it is said justice is blind,but not stupid).

      Documentary producers have been haunted by American government when its free speech rights have gone too close to top ranked politicians arguing National security affairs.

      See non american world news BBC, SKY news,France 24.

      And about the 90% number, I might ask how many of the arms US sell on US soil are really from American manufacture, which also is part of the officials argument if you didn't read between lines?

      Again lets go back in recent history due seemingly american officials does not remember that they armed Nicaragua and Guatemala and many small guerrillas, many of those arms have been recovered on Mexican soil, coming up from Narco's who bought them, which US have armed and supported with the excuse of bringing democracy to latinamerica.

      Again when someone pointed the origin of those arms those wise-man from ATF said they weren't originated from Americans, what about the fact that 70% of them were bought with american taxes from NATO and allied countries by CIA.

      How many arms got lost on it's way to Irak and afganistan war? and been found on Mexico?

      Cant say due Army itself covered up its traces, and how many of the arms are NATO only armament which only can come from US to Mexico.

      NATO neither Europe cant provide them by other route than US.

      So its too tricky to say Arms are not coming from United States of America.

      And in the end who sells, distribute, and even train their use are american nationals which in the end deserve the nickname of "American Cartels" that would be a fair co-responsibility.

      Again its to easy to say they don't exist due they don't have name. So Americans are not guilty or have nothing to do with it.

      But man they are there. And they had been long time ago.

      Perry I like your articles and, appreciate your point of views.

      Still take the criticism as something none has dared to point out and really makes me sad that until now Americans does not want to believe or see and we on who had lived there had seen violence and many horrible things happen on your own home door.

      In Mexico and America (I mean the whole continent because America is not a country its a whole continent) We have been dealing with this problem during the latest 20 years or more and the violence escalation has been growing and growing, because everyone is tired of it.

      Until now this has got too close to american soil and public so you can have a really small taste of it, regardless the whole time this problem has existed.

      North Americans have originated it, and been on denial living the american dream at the expense of the world and none dared to question that, and if so ended on jail or Guantanamo. Now, so what you don't see/hear does not hurt so therefore is misinformation or misleading anti american behavior.

      Perry all Americans I'd know they have lived on Mexico or south america and seen closer their problems there and made an effort to understand regardless the cultural/education differences realized that we all have the same dream, to have decent work and live on peace and on Gods blessings the best we can.

      Is too sad to realize feel responsible somehow of many things US government on Americas freedom name had done too many wrong doings and the comfortable attitude of Americans.

      The root cause of Drug war is the US consumers and Cartels, if you stop consuming, exposing and put on Jail the american Links which actually are "Cartels" you will be for sure the war will end.

      Suppose US Close the border's, yep its every country legal right and actually is already been done, Close Immigration, (well you will end without cheap good labor)but at least border crossing will be "controlled".. yea right, I'm sure the drugs still will find its way to US, and probably you will find out that even US customs, army or law enforcement members are in behind and at least will hopefully public opinion start to wake up.

      Why because still many of the seizing and drug crossing had happened on the border crossing checkpoints.

      And even worst drug price will skyrocket more due the challenge to bring it in, and "violence will raise up much more", which in the end finally Drug producing will start to happen more often on US, which at least will ease the problem and make Americans realize that until they don't stop consuming drugs the war wont be over.

      And understand its American Continent problem not just Mexicans. You created them you stop it, its playing dumb or to say its Mexican corrupt state, Mexican Drug dealers, Mexican evil immigrants dealing on our streets and poisoning our kids. Who made this guys powerful in first place? And worst how its possible this had been happening the latest 20 years on our backyard and none told us.

      I'm out of arguments and ways to try to explain that and hope someone starts to dig out the "American Cartels" leaders and bosses.

      Still Sad...

    • profile image

      Miss information is bad 

      8 years ago

      The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

      What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

      Read more:

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is very simple to solve this problem on both sides of the boarder, it would only take 7 days to do it. Give 7 days for all federal reserve banks notes to be turned in to real banks in exchange for US Green backs. After 7 days all federal reserve banks notes would be null and void. Any legal notes would become green backs and all illegal gotten notes would be worthless. all the rich drug cartels would be broke with in 7 days.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Spoken like a true misinformed anti-america.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The root cause in this case is not worldwide, Its American-wide.

      Lets stop been naïve, the money cartels have is not Mexican money, the violence recently boomed out due Mexican authorities got Colombian drug lords invading and started mode violence in Mexican soil.

      In fact all guerrillas and Family organizations are directly founded to create safe drug transport routes from south to North, because Mexican marines got tired of begging to US to sell equipment to fight drug transportation (this is well documented on mexican congress archive and of public domain), and in the end bought from Europe depth bombs and sonar probes that sunk Colombian drug loaded old Russian mini subs, so when sea and air routes were finally closed they moved by land.

      It is a fact that corruption on US authorities had been long time allowing subs sail trough California and Miami, (why the reluctance of american government to sell to Mexican marines arms and tools to catch and sink them?)

      Was easy to blame the long difficult to control "dirty smelly Mexicans" crossing the border loaded with drugs as once one reporter said accidentally on air to the cameraman when preparing to air live, what hurts more is the self convenient terms from American media and authorities to lie to its citizens that the root is not them its always someone else and president once diplomatically said that its time to take responsibility and be honest.

      And that's my whole point. To acknowledge American part of guilt and be enough honest to deal with the problem.

      Seemingly is always too convenient to make wars abroad, spend money on wars to justify american internal debt and makeup the root and cause of bankruptcies and economical recessions. "Bush way" Weapons of Mass Destruction, its too convenient excuse. We Americans have done nothing wrong. Abudhabi was just an isolated case and the bad soldiers will be trialed.

      It is too sad to see that in the end, was direct order from Bush, Rumsfeld and unclassified documents showed up that they lied to the congress about the army did not committed systematic torture as direct order by defense department, and lied to the people.

      In the same way during that time media accused Irakies of been the root of the problem.

      Americans were entitled to kill torture and rob Irakies and in the end cannot be trialed. Why?

      Why Americans still believe all their leaders which have used presidential power on self benefit.

      The root cause was not Irak was US dirty President with personal agenda.

      The same way now it is American Drug Cartels who are in the government manipulating all strings, in one way or other.

      Who are the American Cartel leaders? What are their names? Who in the US Sells and provide Army only armament to Mexican drug lords?

      Who is giving them secure satellite radios ?

      Who provides them transport and protection?.

      Who is manipulating congressional vote when processing Mexican army request of aid?

      Who gave 4 old broken down Helicopters to Mexican army in good will shown of collaborating to drug war? When in fact Mexican government wanted to buy new ones from US?

      The answer again is US,corporation, RFA, Army, congress, authorities.

      That's too darn obvious, too darn naïve too darn sad Americans don't realize they are the root cause in all ways, "but what you don't see does not hurt".

      And Perry the article heading is "War Along America's Border: The Mexican Drug Cartels"

      My suggestion is that the same way in Mexico the drug lord heads are located and hunted, the AMERICAN Cartels are located ping-pointed and named, they are there!

      Could be their name is well hidden behind a corporation or company. Like "Monsanto" who terrorizes even american farmers.

      The real organizations are on the US, who controls everything there is a well positioned rich and probably politician or well known community leader and kind religious and "decent" american family.

      One thing is for sure they are too darn powerful and too darn well protected.

      The bottom line is that american involvement is hidden to american public and that journalism plays very well their role hiding it.

      Until American Cartels have a name for example "The Mickey Mouse Cartel or whatever Cartel" Who's leader Donald Duck is hidden somewhere on the California Hills is wanted dead or alive.

      and those leaders are brought to Justice why not to Texas to death row wait.

      American public will take the problem serious.

      The saddest thing of all is that no one seems to care that Mexicans who want the drugs and all violence what surround them gets away from their live and let them be on peace.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      yes, the problem and cause is worldwide, but the article is talking only of the Mexican piece of the puzzle and what is going on there.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Its so sad that the fact that the so Called "Mexican Drug Lords/Cartels" have the word "Mexican".

      The truth is that the real drug lords are and headings should be replaced as "North Americans"

      North American, drug lords, cartels, dealers and end consumers.

      This so called Cartels actually are operated, financed, armed, banked and propitiated in US soil, soil and citizenship.

      The so called drug war zone is not in US is in first Colombia, then Central and south america, and in the end Mexico due its the Bridge between. When Columbia started its war against drugs, was actually the reason why Drug lords, moved operations and base to Mexican soil, and this "Well Known" drug lords have name or nickname.

      Ironically they are not in the top of the chain they are in the middle.

      Have you ever wondered, where are american drug lords? what are the names of the providers of drugs to street dealers in the US?, And where is going and coming the money to?, where are the "Mexican drug cartel" Arms coming from ?

      The right answer is although you don't like it is: US.

      US Money ,US Arms,US Banks... US consumers.

      What you don't see/hear does not exist. that the magic of american media and TV, the world is upside down, its none our fault, its none our responsibility... "its that undeveloped third world.... butman lets have another soo good ol'mexican joint....

      That is the attitude of Americans, in all levels why?

      Until when North Americans will wake up and share their share of co-responsibility and locate, and put in Jail American drug lords?.. Until AMERICAN CARTELS stop financing politicians or Corporations to laundry money?

      Stop blaming and help, stop consuming, report dealers to local authorities, give out your boss organizing parties where drug is sold and consumed.

      Its to sad that ever Americans realize they start out things, and blame others and its others fault.

      They don't produce that poison.. Bad Mexicans are evil and want our kids to consume drugs. ohh come on wake up and lets be serious.

      How much drug money is on your local politician candidate election funding coming from?

      And why Americans does not sell to Mexican Army, arms but drug lords have American US army quality armament?

      Either American Army are too dumb and incompetent that Mexican drug lords rob their arms deposits, or they lost containers on the way to the depot. or someone inside provide and sell arms directly to them. But hey Mexican army is incompetent and corrupt..

      Think about it the root /cause is there closer than you can imagine.

      So for start lets Rename the Mexican Cartels to their real Origins.

      The Seattle Cartel, Chicago Cartel,,, Washington Cartel .. NY Cartel.

      Then start to see where the problem is and try to start hunting those guys out of their hole.

      Don't be surprised to find out that the snakes nest is on the foundations of you house.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      If you want real uncensored news directly from Mexico check out this site it shows what's really going on between the Cartels and the Mexican government. Scary stuff...

    • PaulStaley1 profile image


      9 years ago from With the wind---(or against it)

      Education and empathy. Mexico is our neighbor and friend. The answer is slow and involves education on both sides of the border. Mexico, for the property value and humanity of North America must survive. Prosperity is easier when your neighbors are not living in a slum of violence.

    • profile image

      what s now 

      9 years ago

      This is prolly why Mexicans never get elected into offices

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Is there any wonder why there are so many illegal immigrants? Can you blame them? I would do whatever I had to do to get the hell out of Mexico, and what about the children? How sad that no one can stop these people!

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Now the drug cartels are using roadside bombs triggered by cell phones.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Well, I have one thing to say. Bring the soldiers home, secure the border and lock and load boys!

    • Eddy2106 profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago Suburb, IL

      that's probally the most money i have ever seen in a picture. Being a drug cartel looks like it pays, but then again you might get shot by the popo(police). Great hub

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      10 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Things can't get much worse and the whole process could be brought to the surface. Either that or GM coccain so that it is no longer an effective drug and introduce it to Columbia!! It is such a huge problem it could even end civilisation as we know it.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      maybe, but would that really stop it?

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      10 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      OMG what a terrible scary situation. The only solution would be to legalise drugs.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This article is right on regards our southern border. I was for a while involved in a border security org. and a civilian anti-terror org. One of the largest threats to the US is indeed Al Quaida. As one poster says here, there are training camps in South America.

      It gets worse far worse than that. What I can say is that we don't know the most of what's going on at the border.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      11 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      well, hezbollah has a training camp in Columbia, South America. That is pretty scarey.

    • Mike360 profile image


      11 years ago from The Milky Way

      This hub is great. I hope al quaida doesn't get any ideas and start supplying the cartels.

    • dlgjmg30 profile image


      11 years ago from Lytle Creek, CA

      Fantastic hub.

      I live in Socal so this is a real concern.


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