Thursday, September 28, 2017

Texas prison gangs (still) responsible for much Juarez violence

Grits hasn't had the bandwidth to focus on border security topics for quite a few years, but I noticed a story from the El Paso Times which reminded me of themes this blog harped on back when it paid more attention to those subjects. A hit man from a Texas prison gang, Barrio Azteca, has been accused of at least 30 murders committed in Juarez, El Paso's sister city across the Rio Grande, which has witnessed more than 500 homicides this year, including the deaths of two police officers.

This brings up an issue related to the US-Mexico border which is almost never discussed, and which, in this era of fact-free partisan sniping over immigration, reflects a reality that the American political dialogue seemingly cannot wrap its head around: The real "spillover violence"  along the border results not from Mexican violence seeping northward, but from American criminals heading south to commit a large proportion of the murders we hear about on the other side of the river. And it's been that way for years.

Barrio Azteca has long hired out its services as contract killers in Juarez, sending gang members south to kill rivals then retreating back across the Rio Grande to safety. At one point, Mexican authorities estimated the Texas-based gang accounted for half of all homicides in Juarez. They have also for years operated massive trafficking operations on the US side.

I'm well past believing chauvinist American law enforcement cares about stopping this. As long as the violence stays on the other side of the border, they seem happy. It's one of the reasons Grits has always had trouble taking the most strident Drug Warrior rhetoric seriously. If you closely study cartel trafficking patterns and their seats of power (Texas law enforcement believes most cartels' "command and control" operations are on the US-side, primarily around Houston), and if you really wanted to disrupt the criminal gangs funneling drugs into the United States, the focus would be on these sorts of US-side activities, not "securing the border" with walls or other faddish solutions which seem to ignore the actual problems.


Anonymous said...

Interesting Youtube video---------Drug Tunnel Discovered in El Paso

Anonymous said...

Yes, over 200 drug tunnels have been found along the border with Mexico. Obviously people can move back and forth with near impunity.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thank heavens everyone knows it's impossible to tunnel under a wall.

Anonymous said...

Unless one builds a wall as the Israelis did in the Sinai---that has underground consideration.