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Drug Gangs Must Be Targeted in the Fight Against Terrorism

Drug Gangs Must Be Targeted in the Fight Against Terrorism

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Dec 14, 2009
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Column 091205 Brewer


Monday, September 12, 2005 Drug gangs must be targeted in the fight against terrorism By Jerry Brewer Recent efforts by international law enforcement authorities against violent gangs in Latin America and the U.S. are to be saluted. These and similar initiatives are the ingredients for world cooperation, teamwork, and a proactive solution to interdicting violence that continues to terrify nations and cities worldwide. Illegal drugs are the primary product and mission for gangs, followed closely by the intimidation of those they seek to control. Their actual power, making it easy to intimidate and coerce others, is through a willingness to commit violent acts and to kill. All this as the drug war drives up violence and corruption to epidemic proportions, and continues to place frail democracies at risk. In early September five countries, the U.S., Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico, arrested 660 gang members, including MS and Mara 18 lawbreakers, according to El Salvador’s national police. This joint operation and strategy consisted of 6,400 police, federal agents and other officials, who made arrests on charges that among others included homicide, drug trafficking, weapons violations, and robbery, all part of the modus operandi of the gangs and their contribution to our civilized world.

The exchange of information and intelligence between these countries was an effective tool in coordinating, identifying, and capturing these criminals. Yet the key question in all of this is who got away? I refer to the kingpins, principal organizers, and those at the highest levels in far too many countries who facilitate this global mayhem. Few cartel associates are ever arrested, although routinely targeted. The cartel soldiers do the groundwork and drive the trucks with concealed drugs. Soldiers continue to plow forward with their product in tow while cartel bosses get wealthier. If product is lost, the accused party must come up with the money or face certain execution. Most of these soldiers and peasants end up in jail with severe sentences. The U.S. drug czar stated recently that Mexicans have taken over and are running the organized crime, and “getting the bulk of the money.” Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca acknowledged that corruption by drug traffickers has increasingly infiltrated Mexico’s top federal investigative agency. Corruption and penetration by these drug-trafficking groups into the Federal Agency of Investigation (AFI) must be stopped immediately, using every resource available to weed out those involved and incarcerate them with lengthy prison sentences. Cabeza de Vaca says he needs more personnel to fight federal crimes. He states that he only has 2,000 agents operating in the field, out of 7,000 employees. A quality control focus should immediately be placed on what those 2,000 agents actually do in the field, along with relocating many of the remaining 5,000 to operational priorities. It is time to stop the “can’t do” attitude at every level. The recent raids and arrests made it clear, that when the five countries teamed together and focused on intelligence-driven investigations targeting criminal organizations there were results. The U.S. recently showed its readiness to sustain a major battle with these insurgents, when the U.S. Treasury (Office of Foreign Asset Control) identified and took action against 30 companies and individuals associated with two drug-trafficking organizations. At a state level, Texas recently allocated US$5 million to improve law enforcement communications to border communities. Recent words of Mexican President Vicente Fox were

music to the ears of those desperate to take action on these issues. Fox challenged the drug barons by stating, “We are going to win this battle. We’ll see who is tougher, we’ll see who is more stubborn.” As well, the president’s proposed spending plan for next year calls for a 20 percent increase in federal funding to fight organized crime. It is reported that 90 percent of the cocaine sold in the U.S. last year came through Mexico, and Mexico is number two for heroin bound for the U.S. Plus Mexican criminal organizations now control drug sales in 13 U.S. metropolitan areas that are known to be primary distribution centers. The Mexican cartels are not untouchable. Yes the Mexican cartels — that commonly work through small well-organized groups or cells — are sophisticated, skilled with weapons and attack strategies, and possess efficient planning capabilities, just like terrorists. Yet many of the biggest terrorists of the world have been captured or killed. Likewise, Mexican drug lords and their henchmen must be targeted immediately with every resource available from nations that are serious about protecting their homelands. Once genuinely strategic and proactive targets are placed on their backs, and a wellorchestrated force is marshaled, they can be dismantled. —————————— Jerry Brewer, the Vice President of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, is also a columnist with MexiData.info. He can be reached via e-mail at Cjiaincusa@aol.com jbrewer@cjiausa.org

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