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Over the Border

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the drug violence in Mexico that the FBI issued a warning via a joint assessment bulletin on October 17th that there is a danger of it spilling over the border. Known as Los Zetas, these paramilitary forces work for the Gulf Cartel and have shown themselves to be especially brutal and violent. Some of these reports are talking about the Zetas gathering arms on the U.S. side of the border in preparation for confrontation with U.S. officials. It was only a few years ago that the Zetas were firing on U.S. Border patrol units on the U.S. side of the border.

This report comes on the heels of the capture of one of the heads of the Arellano Félix drug cartel last weekend. Some law enforcement officials believe that this arrest could weaken this West Coast cartel and create a competition to fill the void.

“He is pretty much the last major player of what was once the powerful Arellano Félix organization,” said Eileen Zeidler, San Diego spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The situation is complicated by corruption inside of the Mexican government. It was reported last week that 35 public officials had been removed from their positions in the anti-crime unit for selling intelligence to the drug cartels. One of the more disturbing parts of this element of the story is that the sale of intelligence was to the Beltran Leyva organization. Not only do the brothers of Beltran Leyva run one of the groups of the Sinaloa Cartel, but they have also recently been linked to Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.

The drug war violence is spreading across the border, just as easily as the illicit narcotics flow up Interstates 10 and 35. The alignment of the Gulf Cartel with Texas based gangs, along with their stockpiling of weapons presents another security challenge for the United States, and especially for the new Administration. Last week, 21 people were killed in drug violence in Juarez (across from El Paso Texas), in Nogales (across from Nogales Arizona) and in the northeastern city of Monterrey. It is hard to imagine any good coming from these events. Objectively, Mexico remains an unstable country in which violence continues unabated despite the efforts of its President Calderon. Given our porous border, there is serious reason for concern. It looks like places like McAllen Texas could be the next battleground.

Consider what the logical actions would be if Mexican nationals start firing on U.S. law enforcement or Border Patrol agents.