The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security report that since 2008 Mexican cartels have made a concerted effort to bribe law enforcement agents in the U.S.. The FBI reported that the cartels have targeted local, state, and federal-level law enforcement officials. Around 400 corruption cases have been investigated by U.S. federal agents. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service is a particularly popular target for cartelista bribery or even infiltration. The CBP itself reported that over 500 corruption cases were made in 2009 against people working for the service. The cartel leaders have bragged they can buy anyone. That, of course, is not true, but that does not stop the gangsters from trying. The cartels and people-smuggling rings have targeted Border Patrol agents for years.
In western Mexico, gunmen disrupted a party by killing eight people.
March 12, 2010: Three years ago there were a number of alleged cross border incidents involving the Mexican Army. The latest report, however, has southern Texas agitated, because of the number and credibility of the witnesses. A Mexican helicopter (likely belonging to the Mexican Navy) was spotted on the U.S. side of the border in Zapata County, Texas. The helicopter crossed Falcon Lake (on the U.S.-Mexico border) and hovered over a residential area on the U.S.-side. U.S. law enforcement officials were provided with photographs. The helicopter did not land. Mexican Navy commando forces have been used in a number of key raids on cartel safe houses. The Mexican military has been attacking suspected Gulf cartel sites in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas (where the helicopter likely came from). The navy helo suggests naval (marine) forces are participating in those anti-cartel operations. A U.S. police official said the helicopter was a mile (1600 meters) inside U.S. territory (though most of the territory it had crossed is a lake). U.S. authorities were informed of the incident. U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) handles continental U.S. defense. Mexico has military liaison officers at NORTHCOM's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A border incursion like this will be reported to NORTHCOM and analyzed. NORTHCOM will then contact the Mexican military.
Gunmen in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua state, across the border from El Paso) killed six people who were attending a wake.
March 11, 2010: A fight is going on for control of the Beltran-Leyva cartel. Over the past six months Mexican and U.S. authorities have arrested or killed a number of key Beltran-Leyva leaders. The big boss, was killed in December 2009 (by Mexican marines, ie, naval commandos). Now the cartel's middle-management is contesting Hector Beltran-Leyva's leadership. Edgar Valdez-Villarreal (nom de guerre La Barbie) is the man to watch. Interestingly enough, Valdez-Villarreal was born in Laredo, Texas. Police on both sides of the border say he has served as a gunman for the Beltran-Leyva cartel.
Two men were murdered by gunmen using assault rifles in the town of Piedras Negras (Coahuila state, on the Mexico-Texas border). One of the murdered was a U.S. citizen.
March 9, 2010: The government and military keep a close eye on Los Zetas, the paramilitary organization that was originally formed by Mexican Army deserters. Los Zetas went to work for the Gulf drug cartel. The government reported recently that a faction of Los Zetas is now formally allied with the Sinaloa cartel.
March 6, 2010: Mexican and U.S. anti-drug agencies have noted that the drug cartels have moved more operations into Central America. Some officials argue that this is an indication that the government's anti-cartel campaign in Mexico is succeeding. There is some truth to that. However, Guatemala also has weak police and judicial institutions, and Guatemala has seen a huge uptick in cartel activity.
March 4, 2010: Cartel gunmen attacked a ranch near the small town of Praxedis G. Guerrero (Chihuahua state, near Ciudad Juarez). The gunmen used AK-47 assault rifles. Six people were murdered in the attack. The ranch, called Rancho Nuevo, is located in an area called The Valley of Juarez (east and south of the city). This valley is a major smuggling route between the U.S. and Mexico.
February 25, 2010: The Juarez drug cartel and the Sinaloa cartel continue to fight over control of the city of Ciudad Juarez. There are several reasons, but recently government police officials said that in 2008 Juarez cartel leaders antagonized the Sinaloa cartel by imposing a fee (or a tax, for crossing through Juarez cartel turf) on Sinaloa shipments. Up until 2008 the Juarez cartel and Sinaloa cartel had an understanding that limited conflicts. La Linea (The Line) is the Juarez cartel's paramilitary group. Juarez has 191 homicide per 100,000 people, which makes it one of the deadliest cities in the word.
February 21, 2010: Federal police reported that cartel hit men killed 14 people in Chihuahua state in several incidents that occurred February 19 and 20. Ten people were murdered in the city of Ciudad Juarez. Army soldiers engaged a team of gunmen in the town of Jimenez (Chihuahua state) and killed two of the gunmen. The police report said that firefight lasted for over an hour.