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article imageViolence in Mexico spilling over into Texas

By Nikki Weingartner     Mar 18, 2009 in World
With the violence in Mexico creating travel warnings and making headline news as far as the country itself is concerned, there has been an unanswered call for Federal assistance; a request that some say isn't valid as this is a problem within Mexico.
The recent activity plaguing the border towns of Texas and Mexico has brought about some controversy over whether or not what is happening down south is really just a matter of territory wars. However, an investigative report out of an area that geographically is no where near the edge shows just how much of Mexico's violence breeches the unstable border and floods the state.
Listed as a major drug shipment and distribution area for certain cartels out of Mexico by both the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Drug Intelligence Center, Houston is far from the perceivable dirty border town that receives limited press. On February 20, a travel alert was updated showing an increase in violence not only along border towns but within the country of Mexico as well, citing US citizen kidnappings, injuries and death tolls. In the alert, it was explained how the cartels mask themselves as soldiers or are even alleged to be part of the government itself, and take on the "good guys" of the Mexican military full force:
Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades. Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez.. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.
Popular shopping areas in places like Tijuana, northern Baja California, Ciudad Juarez and Nogales have all seen a spike in criminal activity, with drug shootouts during the day at popular shopping venues and other public places becoming increasingly common. Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and Tijuana have also experienced a serious spike in harassment by local nationals, with U.S. citizens being followed in their vehicles. But now, local law enforcement on the Texas side are seeing the increase in criminal activity directly related to the escalating violence and continue to call for federal back up. A call that has still been unanswered.
Houston Congressman Ted Poe made the statement that
"The drug cartels have more money, have more foot soldiers than the Mexican Army does and we're naive to think that's all going to stay on that side of the border"
A statement that is backed up by those who are in the fields, working day in and day out to keep the "peace." The problems on the Texas side have gotten so bad that law enforcement has begun to share its information and combine resources in hopes to form a better front. One area sheriff described how the growing violence had absolutely spilled over into Texas as four families in his county had recently moved away because they were attacked and threatened by the the cartel's foot soldiers, also known as drug runners, after they had alerted law enforcement to suspicious activity on their property. This shows how intimidating the massive group can be, retaliating against those who attempt to undermine their operation.
The area law enforcement explain how the new and more violent movement has caused them to step up a bit.
"Now they're being told, 'If you're pursued by officers, shoot back.' They're obviously better armed then we are. They'll fight you now. They'll flee from you whereas before they used to surrender,"
Mexico has responded to the increase in violence by deploying thousands of police and federal troops to the border. Unfortunately, this has also served to increase the desperation in the cartel's movement and response, causing a domino effect of violence within the country, within the neighbouring state of Texas and possibly into other areas in the United States.
Another area sheriff described a massive increase in Mexican gang activity:
"We're getting a lot of gang activity. For me it's very apparent, I'm seeing more now than I've seen in the years past headed northbound to Houston and it's a border gang. It appears they're trying to set-up shop in Houston."
In a shootout between Texas local Sheriff's Deputies and Mexican nationals involving bundles of pot being smuggled into the country, dash cams recorded the event as a military Humvee arrived and aided the smugglers in the attempted ditching of the pot. A local law enforcement member took a picture of a soldier helping the smugglers but both the United States government and the Mexican government have denied any military involvement.
But its not just those on the beat having issues. A recent article in the El Paso Times revealed how a co-owner of a popular local night club was arrested for his involvement in the cartel operation. The arrest as part of an entire drug ring was explained as:
"This type of criminal organization not only poisons our communities with drugs. They threaten public safety, and keep their suppliers -- the Mexican drug cartels -- in business. ... Dismantling drug-trafficking organizations that operate in our area helps cut off the supply."
The local news has become a wealth of information on just how much the increase in violent activity in Mexico is spilling over the top of our borders and well into our own country. Unfortunately, the national and world news hasn't quite yet seen the need to cover the increase in day to day violence associated with the so-called territory wars.
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