Cartels and the related killings in Mexico! on the Rise?

More dead!

More Killings more graves!

Drug-related violence in Mexico has spiked in recent years as drug trafficking organisations have competed for control of smuggling routes into the United States.

Mexico has for at least four decades been among the most important producers and suppliers of heroin and marijuana to the US market.

Drug-related killings 2007-2011
2010: 19,546
2009: 11,753
2008: 6,837
2007: 2,826

The figures include the killings of gang members, police and troops, as well as innocent bystanders

A history of civil strife and instability, weak institutions, and staggering impunity make the region extremely vulnerable.

The northern triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in particular, already among the most violent nations in the world, have seen a marked rise in the operations of Mexican gangs and their affiliates.

In Guatemala, with a murder rate at least double that of Mexico’s, between 250 and 350 tonnes of cocaine are reported to pass through every year.

Almost five years since the government’s crackdown on drug gangs began the drug trafficking organisation’s have responded with escalating violence.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon has deployed 80,000 troops to the streets to take on powerful drug traffickers shortly after taking office in December 2006.

In recent years, drug trafficking violence in Mexico has claimed thousands of lives and reached a level of intensity and ferocity that has exceeded previous periods of drug-related violence.

More than 35,000 people have been killed since Calderon launched a crackdown against drug gangs. However, human rights groups believe the actual number could be as high as 50,490.

At stake for the traffickers is an industry worth up to $39 billion a year, according to estimates by US officials, which is equivalent to almost 15 per cent of Mexico’s annual budge

Gang activity is diverse in Austin,Bloods or Crips but the Bandidos!

Tattooed Crip.

Image via Wikipedia

Gang activity is diverse in Austin. Street gangs like the Bloods or Crips are loosely affiliated and don’t have a set hierarchy.

The Bandidos motorcycle gang and the Mexican Mafia prison gang, however, have set chains of command and power structures, according to police. In addition, there’s the up-and-coming Texas prison gang Tango Blast, which police officials say is becoming more of a cohesive force.

But they’re all doing the same thing: selling cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine brought to the U.S. by Mexican cartels, police and federal officials say.

“A lot of the street sales (of drugs) around the country are supplied by Mexican cartels,” said Greg Thrash, who heads the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration‘s Austin office. That includes about 90 percent of America’s cocaine and most of its methamphetamine.

Thrash said that his agency’s investigations into Mexican cartels often uncover where their drugs wind up. He said that drugs can change hands several times, between several middlemen and wholesalers, between the cartels and street gangs. In other cases, the cartels deal directly with gangs, he said.

Harrell’s interview with the Austin teen was part of a summer initiative aimed at coming up with a more accurate number of how many gang members are in Austin and gaining “street intelligence,” said police Sgt. Lester Vanzura.

Vanzura said, the officers acquire new information each day and are developing sources who can provide information about higher-up gang members, violent crimes or large drug deals.

Baker said, officers look at trends along the border as guidance for what may come to Austin. His concern, among the escalating crimes, is juvenile gang members.

Police found an increase of about 14 percent in documented youth gang members, from 658 in July 2010 to 748 this July. Juvenile members are mostly involved with graffiti, which officers said is on the rise, and with displaying their gang’s colors.

Baker said that juvenile gang membership nationwide may be on the rise again after a dip in the 1980s, perhaps fueled by cartel money that kids see as an easy way to make cash. But older gang members like to use kids in their operations because the juvenile justice system is more lenient, he said.

“They’re getting into situations they don’t understand,” Baker said. “They don’t know who they’re dealing with in the cartels. And then it’s hard for these kids to get out.”

Gangs in Austin

The extreme violence on the Mexican side of the border — which has included mass killings and public executions of police officers and elected officials — has been over the fight to control the points of entry gangs use to export drugs into the United States. That’s why cities in Texas haven’t seen the killings and other crimes that have plagued Mexico, Baker said.

“You don’t have to fight over entry points up here,” said police Lt. Norris McKenzie, who works in the department’s gang suppression and major crimes units. “You fight over ‘I didn’t get paid,’ or ‘somebody stole my dope.’\u2009”

Baker said he doesn’t think the increases seen in the Hispanic population in Texas and the United States have anything to do with increased drug cartel activity. But he said he’s concerned about what might happen when the cartels get territorial and decide to lock down a market like Austin — or when the local gangs start fighting over their drug supplies.

The Most Dangerous Gang in the World

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The Zetas, Mexico’s most feared and violent criminal organization, has moved operations to Guatemala. In the process, they have shifted the balance of power in the region, undermining and overwhelming Guatemala’s government and putting its neighbors in El Salvador and Honduras on high alert. They have also introduced a new way of operating. The Zetas are focused on controlling territory. In this they are the experts, creating a ruthless and intimidating force that is willing to take the fight to a new, often macabre level. Whoever becomes Guatemala’s new president will face this challenge with little resources and government institutions that have a history of working for criminal organizations of all types. In sum, the Zetas are a test for Guatemala and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.