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The Mexican Border Threat

Yesterday's Daily Briefings highlighted an article discussing the use of vehicles displaying the "logos" of FedEx, Wal-Mart, DirecTV and the U.S. Border Patrol by the drug cartels to smuggle drugs, human cargo and weapons across the border into the U.S. This was based on a report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Termed "cloned" vehicles, the report also warns that terrorists could use the same fake trucks to gain access to secure areas with hidden weapons. The report says criminals have been able to easily obtain the necessary vinyl logo markings and signs for $6,000 or less. Authorities say "cosmetically cloned commercial vehicles are not illegal."

This is not the first report of this type. In August 2006, over 3000 pounds of marijuana and more than 200 kilos of cocaine were seized from a cloned Wal-Mart semi driven by a criminal wearing a Wal-Mart uniform.

Last week when I posted Violence Spikes on the "Other Side" of the Border, one or two commenters objected to the premise that the violence on the Mexican side of the border was a threat to our National security. In fact, it was even posed that in some way, we were the cause for border crossovers. I don't think so.

Well, according to Stratfor, there's an undeclared war on the Mexican/US border between Mexican Federal forces and the drug cartels, with spillover into the United States. It impacts the cross border supply chain of NAFTA, has potential impacts on our energy markets (Mexico remains one of our primary suppliers of petroleum products), and raises the question of the safety of travel and tourism across the border. In this short video, Fred Burton of Stratfor describes what he calls the battle for turf between the Gulf and Sinaloa drug cartels.

Whether or not the violence is sporadic and whether or not the Mexican government is either attempting to break the cartels and quell the violence, or, as one other commenter implied, is in league with the cartels, is less the issue, then the actual threat to American security posed by the continuing narco-violence on the "other side of the border." To ignore the problem will not make it disappear, and to suggest that it doesn't exist, is even worse.



I'm with you; the violence is no longer sporadic and there's little doubt it has already substantially spilled over onto the US side of the border (a topic I've been covering on my own blog).

Literally tons of drug and human traffic goes through the legal checkpoints in these "cloned" vehicles and via other means. A wall doesn't even pretend to effect the main sources of drug smuggling - air, sea, and the major checkpoints, where we inspect less than 1% of vehicles.

This is turning into a really big mess a lot quicker than most Americans (including in Washington) realize.

It was about 3 years or so ago that the Zetas crossed the border and engaged in a gun fight with our outmanned and outarmed border agents. What strikes me is that the people on the border, like the one previous commenter to the other post from Nuevo Laredo, maintain the position that the Mexican gov't is taking steps to do away with the drug cartels. No doubt that Calderon's agressive military actions in in process. But to declare victory is premature. And then there are the people who continue to argue that the drug cartels wouldn't exist if there wasn't American demand for the naroctics. That, at least in my opinion, avoids the overriding question of how easy it is for drug shipments to cross the border (and why not terrorists as well?).