Mexican drug cartels in the USA: The new Mafia

The Daily has a report on the organized crime human smuggling networks in the US,
Part 1: Suburban invasion

A brutal new crime wave from Mexico is hitting America’s suburbs. Drug cartels and their heavily armed henchmen are moving into the house next door, torturing and imprisoning victims for profit in middle-class neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies from Texas to Northern California report being overwhelmed by the surge of violence.

“Mexican drug cartels are in well over 200 cities here in the United States,” Gil Kerlikowske, the White House drug czar, told The Daily. When his boss, President Obama, meets with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico today in Washington, violence from the drug war will be at the top of the agenda.

One of the most disturbing and least discussed aspects of this new crime wave is the “drop houses” — rented homes that function as makeshift prisons where criminal gangs and human smugglers hold large numbers of victims for ransom. The phenomenon is centered in the Southwest, often in foreclosure-devastated suburbs, but is spreading across America.

The victims are mostly illegal immigrants who have paid smugglers, or “coyotes,” to bring them across the U.S. border. But instead of letting their clients begin a new life, the cartel-connected smugglers rob them, strip them naked and pack them — sometimes by the dozens — into small bedrooms where the windows are boarded shut and the doors are padlocked from the outside.

“These coyotes treat people like product. That’s all they are to them, vicious and ruthless and don’t really care about human life,” said Lt. Joe Sousa, division commander for the human smuggling unit of the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s Office.

The kidnappers typically force the captives to call family members and beg for ransom payments.

The Daily will continue their reports. I’ll link to them.



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