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Cover Mexican Crime Cartels Cross Border

Cover Mexican Crime Cartels Cross Border

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Published by Henry Morgenstern
Resource http://www.homelandsecuritynet.com/intelligence/ct-magazine-articles.html
Resource http://www.homelandsecuritynet.com/intelligence/ct-magazine-articles.html

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Published by: Henry Morgenstern on Feb 23, 2011
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02/23/2011

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CoverMexican Crime Cartels Cross the BorderBy Jennifer L. Hesterman
Violence in Mexico and on the US border continues to escalate as the Mexican crime cartelsfight to improve their position. Mexican law enforcement, military leadership, and governmentofficials have been primary targets. The armed enforcement wings of the cartels have notretreated from law enforcement; they have confronted and engaged. Their tactics are paramilitaryin nature and their armament plentiful. Their killings can be indiscriminate or meticulouslyplanned. In addition to these challenges, terrorist factions and citizens from countries thatsponsor terror are exploiting this multifaceted conflict.The cartels are engaging asymmetrically by partnering with gangs, corrupting our federalofficers and system, and engaging in direct action attacks on both sides of the border. The stakesare high as Mexico and the United States battle for control with an enemy that shows nowillingness to acquiesce.Cartels in the HeartlandNearly every state in our country has seen Mexican drug cartels’ activity. Using multiplepoints of entry at the border via “plazas” and leveraging contacts with gangs inside the UnitedStates, the cartels are here and they are entrenching. Federal agencies recently announced theconclusion of a 22-month counternarcotics operation,Project Deliverance.
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In addition to thearrest of more than 2,200 individuals on drug-related charges during the course of this operation,the assets seized by agents are staggering: $154 million; 2,600 pounds of heroin andmethamphetamine; 71 tons of cocaine and marijuana; and more than 500 weapons and 500vehicles.Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) press release regardingProject
 
Deliveranceis entitled “Fighting Cartels on the Southwest Border,” this statement actuallyoutlines nationwide activity. For example, on June 10, 429 individuals in 16 states were arrestedduring the final phase of the operation. Cartel activity was present not only in border states, butin locales such as Montana, Tennessee, and Illinois.Cartels may be attempting to reduce their visibility. Some reports indicate that in the last fewyears, they have relocated operations out of major cities and now target small towns to serve astheir distribution hubs and lab locations. For instance, the Drug Enforcement Administrationdiscovered during its 2008 Project Xcellerator that the Sinaloa Cartel was using the small airportin Stow, Ohio, to move tons of cocaine into California. In fact, Xcellerator uncovered 70 carteldistribution cells in 26 states.
Super meth labs operated by criminals associated with cartelshave been discovered in suburban areas like Smyrna, Georgia, and Modesto, California.Breaches at the Border Issues concerning illegal aliens at the border are exacerbating security issues and providing away for criminals to enter our country. An investigative report prepared by the House Committeeon Homeland Security, “Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border 
cites data indicating only 10–30 percent of illegal aliens are apprehended at the border. Thismeans at least four million slip though annually, either starting new lives in the United States or using our country as a transit point to other destinations.Of those caught trying to illegally enter, most are from Central and South American countries.However, government reports indicate that hundreds of these aliens come from “countries of concern,” some of which are sponsors of terror. While investigating how most-wanted terroristAdnan Shukrijumah made his way from Mexico to Atlanta, Georgia, just prior to 9/11, WSBTVin Atlanta obtained sensitive documents from a congressional staffer containing data aboutapprehensions at the border. This document, called the “OTM” list (Other Than Mexicans) wascreated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is not typically released to the public(although it is regularly referred to in congressional testimony).
 
OTMs from countries of concern caught illegally attempting to enter the United States fromMexico between FY 07-09
:North Korea4Syria7Afghanistan12Yemen22Iran42Iraq42Somalia70Pakistan112Russia145China3,000U.S. law requires Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain illegal aliens andthen arrange a hearing. However, the sheer number of illegals captured (200,000 from Centraland South American countries during this FY07-09 period) means most are returned to their country of origin with a future court date if they wish to return and plead their case. Most do not.Terrorists and others with nefarious intentions have crossed into the United States at theMexican border. ICE investigations have revealed that aliens were moved from the Middle Eastto staging areas in Central and South America before being smuggled illegally into the UnitedStates. Also, ICE officials testified that members of Hezbollah have already entered the UnitedStates across the Southwest border.
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A government report regarding this threat includes apparent photographic proof of radicalIslamist presence just north of the southwest border in the United States. A jacket found in JimHogg County, Texas, by the Border Patrol had Arabic military patches: one depicting an airplaneflying over a building and heading toward a tower, and another showing an image of a lion’shead with wings and a parachute emanating from the animal. The bottom of one patch read“martyr,” “way to eternal life,” or “way to immortality.”

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