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Failed State Watch: How Long Before U.S. Military Confrontation with Mexico Cartels?

Says Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu: "We're expecting a conflict. I absolutely believe you're going to see that happen in the next 30 to 60 days."

by
Alberto de la Cruz

Bio

February 24, 2011 - 12:00 am

The violence rolling across Mexico continues to destroy everything and everyone in its path, threatening the further destabilization of an already besieged society teetering on the brink of anarchy. That wave is crashing on our border as Mexican drug cartel-related incidents increase in the United States.

This month’s murder of a U.S. ICE agent and wounding of another — when their armored Suburban was attacked by assailants on a Mexican highway — is just another example of the drug-related crime that has become commonplace in Mexico. The 83 shell casings found at the scene indicate this was a premeditated hit on U.S. agents trying to help the Mexican government in their losing battle against the cartels.

A quick recap of only a few of the other violent crimes that took place in Mexico just the past weeks:

  • In Guadalupe, five youths believed to be drug dealers were murdered execution style. Their bullet-riddled bodies were then picked up from the scene of the crime, placed in a truck, and delivered to the victim’s homes in a final act of gruesome contempt.
  • In the city of Juarez, 16 people were murdered in one single day. Five of them were young men traveling in a car who died in a hail of bullets after gunmen forced their vehicle to stop and opened fire. Minutes earlier, a young girl who had accompanied the murdered men had just entered her home after being dropped off, fortunate timing being the only thing that saved her life.
  • In Acapulco, gunmen in at least ten trucks went on a terror spree through the city. Their indiscriminate gunfire knocked out power to some areas of the city, while they damaged twenty vehicles by setting them on fire or carjacking them to use as roadblocks. One witness described the melee as a war, with bullets flying everywhere. The early morning attack resulted in nine innocent people murdered, including taxi drivers, and many more wounded. Later in the day, five more victims were added to the death toll when their dismembered bodies were discovered by the police.
  • In Veracruz, the dismembered bodies of six unidentified murder victims were thrown outside a surveillance post run by the Mexican Department of Public Safety. The six severed heads and associated body parts were spread about to form a message from the Gulf Cartel.

All of the above violent incidents took place over a few days. While the Mexican government is attempting to break the wave of violence that is overtaking the nation, it has not had much success in stopping the drug cartels who not only threaten the Mexican people but the stability of the Mexican government as well.

That same wave of violence is crashing on our southern border and sending a stream of mayhem into our border states. The drug cartels have no issue using the same brutal methods in the U.S. that they use in Mexico. The rising intensity has prompted Pinal County, Arizona, Sheriff Paul Babeu to state that armed conflict between U.S. police forces and heavily armed drug cartel squads is inevitable:

We’re expecting a conflict. I absolutely believe you’re going to see that happen in the next 30 to 60 days. It’s not like I’m trying to start a war with the cartels. They’re coming through like they own this place, and we’re trying to stop them. I pray that every time, they surrender.

And we’re not just talking about illegal immigrants. We’re talking about cartels that have almost toppled the Mexican government and believe they can come into our county and commit these crimes and acts of violence. This is not going to happen here.

Until our southern border is secured, there is little that law enforcement officers like Sheriff Babeu can do about these attacks. As police departments, they are trained and equipped to deal with domestic crime, not organized and well-funded militant drug cartels with military-style armament. They must do their best to protect civilians as well as their own officers from a formidable menace that comes and goes across the border at will — all with no help or sympathy from the federal government.

While Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security continue to play politics with the border situation, refusing to admit there is a problem and proclaiming the situation to be improving, our border patrol and law enforcement officers are fending off attacks by soldiers of well-armed, well-funded, and ruthless drug cartels. Sooner rather than later, the wave of violence that is inundating Mexico will come crashing into the U.S. If we do not secure the border, the violence that has become commonplace in Mexico will become commonplace in our bordering states.

Alberto de la Cruz blogs at Babalu Blog.
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