Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Are they "Mexican" cartels if the leaders live in America?

Here's one I'd missed: In its retrospective list of the "Top Ten Valley Stories in 2007" (Dec. 31), the McAllen Monitor included a school board bribery scandal, furious local opposition to a border wall, and this reminder that powerful Mexican drug cartels already are operating on the US side of the border:
Federal authorities arrested a man believed to be a high-ranking official in a Mexican drug smuggling operation in July at a supermarket in McAllen.
McAllen police arrested Carlos Landín-Martinez, 52, at the H.E.B. on the corner of Fern Avenue and North 10th Street on a Saturday afternoon. An off-duty agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency spotted him grocery shopping. The man identified himself once confronted, and he was transferred to federal custody by the following Monday.

Landín-Martinez allegedly collected taxes for the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa on drugs smuggled by smaller organizations through the city into markets north of the Rio Grande. He worked as a commander for the Tamaulipas State Police, and reports have linked him to the cartel’s violent enforcement group Los Zetas.

Authorities arraigned Landín-Martinez in July on charges of conspiracy and importing a controlled substance.
We already knew Los Zetas are recruiting US teens in Texas border towns as assassins. Since this fellow was doing his grocery shopping in McAllen, one assumes he lived on the US side as well.

Perhaps its time we stop thinking of the Gulf, Sinaloa, and Juarez drug trafficking organizations as "Mexican" cartels. At a minimum, they're multinational cartels. Or who knows? ... Maybe even American.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If the drugs are received in the U.S.; sold to and used by Americans then it is pretty difficult to characterize them as anything other than "American" cartels.

Great thought Grits!