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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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With over a dozen years of combined experience in military law enforcement, force protection analysis, and writing a variety of professional products for the US Air Force, state government in California, and the general public, Ms. Longmire has the expertise to create a superior product for you or your agency to further your understanding of Mexico’s drug war. Longmire Consulting is dedicated to being on the cusp of the latest developments in Mexico in order to bring you the best possible analysis of threats posed by the drug violence south of the border.

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June 14, 2010

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I was wondering if you were going to post something about this latest nexus to cross border crime. There is absolutely nothing new about the rampant smuggling operations taking place in that area, it’s been on going for several years, if not many, many years. In fact for the past six years or so the BLM weekly report has well documented the existence of the rampant smuggling of both Illegal Aliens and Narcotics through that entire area. So in fact this ‘’feared spillover’’ has already long ago been realized by many, and only to what extent the violence (i.e. heads being chopped off) well reach remains to be seen. Personally I think the sky is the limit without a meaningful approach by both State and Federal government. Clearly the stationing of the NG such as was seen with Operation Jump where six Border Patrol agents are tied up baby sitting three or four mostly unarmed, non-trained and ill equipped for such a mission of NG personnel, is not a meaningful approach. Nor is simply adding more Border Patrol agents to the already swollen ranks of the blind leading the blind, seeking random interdictions. I find it quite sad when a criminal organization has a better grasp and understanding of the value of intelligences than that of an entire government.

Being a border city resident, I am not surprised that the border cities on the U.S. side are among the safest in the nation. Why would a criminal commit a crime, rob a bank, or kill someone on the U.S. side of the border (and face the U.S. justice system), when he can do it down the road in Mexico with impunity?

4GW (4th Generation Warfare) posits the growth of such organizations as governments hollow out and can't effectively do what they used to.

"Drug money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2009/dec/13/drug-money-banks-saved-un-cfief-claims

All that money has to get in the system somehow. That means dirty banks, dirty hedge funds, etc. There's lots of folks with a vested interest in the status quo. Of course, most of them don't live near the AZ / Mexico border.

My view: legalize marijuana. That's where the vast bulk of drug lord profits comes from. (Your view may differ.)

BTW, Mile Marker 150 on Interstate 8 in Arizona is at least 73.61 miles in from the Mexican border (as the bullet flies). That is indeed VERY deep into a country you are invading.

I'd put all illegal aliens to work on chain-gangs working for the state for 20 years. After their sentence is up, drop them at the furthest point from the USA in their own country. For Mexicans that would be a very small village called Pablado (N16 07 46.06 / W90 27 01.71), more than 1,000 miles from our border.

Now, the southern border with Mexico is 375 miles long from California to New Mexico; and about 353 miles of it is pretty much straight lines. If you mount 353 (1 per mile) high-powered automated 50 cal sniper rifles on 50 foot towers with tracking cameras using visable and IR and controlled by computer that can only shoot in a 180 degree arc facing into Mexico. That means each rifle can accurately target and kill anything between the 1/2 mile to the right and 1/2 mile to the left of its position. If each post were a reasonable $50,000 then that would mean the whole setup would cost $17,650,000 (Arizona should bill the Federal Government for not doing its job). I'd say the maintenance/upgrades on all this should be $2,578,665 a year ($20 per day, per post). Pretty reasonable in my mind.

As far as the remaining 22 miles of snaking border to the extreme west, man them with USBP agents in cars every mile packing AA12's; that is to say have them drive a loop of 44 miles roundtrip continuously (passing each other in a rolling gauntlet) killing anything that moves on the wrong side of them.

Effectively that would make the southern border of Arizona a line of meat rotting in the sun. Nothing would get through on the ground.

See more videos on this issue:

Border Wilderness – Too Dangerous for the Public
The US no longer controls many wilderness, park, monument and wildlife refuges along our southern border. Drug cartels control these areas. Land designations have a significant impact on the ability of the Border Patrol to effectively control crime, due to the numerous restrictions imposed, such as no use of motorized vehicles and no mechanized equipment. Our wilderness, national wildlife refuges, monuments and other federal lands along the Arizona border are becoming havens for criminal activity due to drug and human smuggling cartels that now "own" these areas. They understand the severe restrictions on Border Patrol and law enforcement, and it makes these areas very "criminal friendly". We must secure our borders and get law enforcement in these areas. Wilderness on the border does not make sense. it is time to secure our borders.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY6sPP7m8rA

There are several more videos by TruthOnTheBorder on this issue.

I live in Cochise county Arizona - two miles from the Mexican border. I have no compassion for these people. I'm sure that some of the people coming across the border are good people and some are bad.
Shoot them all and let God sort them out.

So, as an analyst you're saying that we shouldn't let little things like 'facts' get in the way of pushing the narrative we want? Really?

If crime stats aren't telling us the story then what is? What metrics should we use? Sorry but we've heard way too many people tell us that their 'gut' says something which ends up just meaning they had a bad lunch.

There may be a problem here, or this may be an example of yet another law enforcement agency hoping to cash in at the homeland security federal grant trough, or a panicked sheriff or some combination of those. The article doesn't give any clues.

Belphagor1527 - No, as an analyst, I'm saying that statistics alone don't tell the WHOLE story. Statistics are notoriously unreliable because they can be interpreted in so many different ways, and they also don't provide as many details as we'd often like. For example, the majority of drug-related crimes (like criminal-on-criminal assaults and homicides, kidnappings, etc.) are never reported to authorities, so they're not counted in statistics. Also, the stats alone don't say what proportion of the crimes committed in a given year were perpetrated by people in the drug trade. That proportion could well go up quite a bit while the overall crime rate goes down, and that's just as disturbing as an increasing overall crime rate. The sad part is that there is no standard metric, no standardized definition of spillover. It's impossible to come to any sort of across-the-board agreement as to whether or not it's happening. Just one more challenge related to border security on the growing pile.


Sylvia:

It seems to me there are a number of issues here, that need to be parsed in order to arrive at effective policy: the core two issues being racial politics and national security.

The recent illegal immigration law passed by AZ only succeeded in digressing the issue into racial politics: a) by giving overt and covert racists an issue behind which to hide, and b) by triggering reactions from across the political spectrum: not only to the racism aspect but to the civil liberties aspect.

A side-effect of that law is that illegal immigrants will be afraid of interacting with law enforcement, making them vulnerable to threats by drug cartel & gang members. Those threats could include extorted cooperation such as to provide temporary accommodations for gang members passing through an area.

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MAIN ITEM:

These cartels are trading operational information with terrorist groups as conventionally defined. But the threat from the cartels is greater, analogous to the relative strength of nonprofit groups and for-profit corporations in regard to any contentious area of public policy.

Think of Al Qaeda as a nonprofit, and La Familia as a for-profit corporation. AQ will occasionally commit a high-visibility action to make a point. La Familia will commit a series of acts that, taken together, resemble the activities of Palestinian terrorists in Israel, i.e. smaller in scale but more pervasively corrosive to public order and wellbeing.

Proposed solutions:

Illegal immigration is a supply and demand issue. The demand comes from employers including homeowners, who seek cheap disposable labor. Rigorous enforcement of the laws w/r/t wages, hours, and working conditions, will substantially reduce demand, thereby causing supply to dry up. This proposal should find favor across the political spectrum and cannot be digressed into ideological debates.

The gangs & cartels earn their bread and butter on marijuana. Legalization and regulation (let's not forget taxation) of marijuana will deprive them of their primary funding source. This will cause them to fight each other for remaining revenue sources, producing a period of time during which law enforcement can take full advantage and take out the respective leaderships. These steps need to be taken in rapid succession to prevent the gangs and cartels from developing contingency plans ahead of need.

Border patrols should increase use of surveillance drones, and develop rapid response capability that includes heavily armed officers using armored vehicles. Thus, gang activities could be spotted and overwhelming force deployed to assure arrest and live capture of suspects. Convicted members of gangs and cartels need to be sequestered in maximum security prisons from which they cannot communicate with other members and sympathizers.

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Other:

I note with dismay that some of the folks commenting here appear to be promoting the racial politics digression by making inflammatory statements about shooting Mexicans. That is not helpful to any reasonable debate and may impair the credibility of the discussion as a whole.

We need to raise public awareness of issues related to global criminal cartels, and in doing so we also need to avoid digressions into ideologically charged areas. This should be taken as seriously today as policy discussions about international terrorism should have been taken in the period leading up to 9/11. We already made that mistake once and it has cost us dearly. In dealing with organizations that are as comparatively strong as, for example, BP is compared to Greenpeace, we can't let ourselves make that mistake a second time.

G48 - Thanks so much for your comment! Arguably one of the best contributions I've had.

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