Mexican drug wars spreading to Central America

I’ve been saying for years that border security is a matter of national security. The whole region is in danger as the Zetas aim to spread their drug business:

Mexican Drug War Spills to Neighbor

Los Zetas is among one of the most feared names in the drug wars. The group began after defectors from the Mexican Special Forces took up arms to defend the country’s Gulf Cartel, only to break away last year into a criminal organization of their own that mixes drug trafficking with extortions, kidnappings and assassination.

The group made headlines in Guatemala in August when Mexican authorities blamed them for the bloody massacre of 72 would-be immigrants on a secluded ranch in Mexico. Many of the dead were Guatemalans headed to the U.S.

Residents of Alta Verapaz say Los Zetas began turning up three years ago. Valeriano Maquin, a 25-year-old man from the town of La Tinta, said the strangers introduced themselves as Guatemalan government officials and asked for local members of the Kaibiles, a former Guatemalan Special Forces unit believed to be responsible for civilian massacres during the country’s civil war. Mr. Maquin and other residents believe the newcomers were looking to recruit the vigilantes into their own ranks.

Throughout 2008, Los Zetas fanned throughout the country, establishing a base of operations and confronting local drug traffickers for control of smuggling routes, Guatemalan officials say. In March 2008, 11 people were killed in a town in eastern Guatemala after a fierce battle between Los Zetas and a local gang.

While the Zetas spread through the region, Mexico itself is facing what The Economist calls a gruesome paradox: ‘the paradox that violence in Mexico has spread extensively, while remaining highly concentrated.’

Take a look at their interactive map and see which sections of Mexico have the highest number of homicides linked to organized crime.

Yes, you guessed right: the areas next to the US-Mexico border.

Border security is national security.

Alberto de la Cruz writes aboutFailed 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.”



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