Saturday, August 30, 2008

As if we needed any reminder that Mexico is about to achieve critical mass, here comes another story of multiple beheadings. Click on the link for the details.

The Zs carved into the victims is the mark of the Zetas. Look it up if you're not familiar with that group. It's becoming clear that Mexico is a far more dangerous place than Iraq or Afghanistan if you're cop, citizen or a tourist. While the war it the Middle East seems to get the bulk of attention from politicians and the media, the homicide rates, kidnappings and general lawlessness in certain parts of Mexico make our troop presence in the Stans appear like a minor police action.

Unfortunately, the dope wars, violence and all the collateral problems that come with it are not longer confined to south of the border. Hospitals in Texas border towns are compelled to accept the all too frequent gunshot victims driven at high speed from Mexico. When that happens, local Texas cops have to drop what they're doing and create a cordon sanitaire around the hospital to prevent follow-up homicides. As reported in Mexican media, cartel operators will often follow an ambulance bearing their victims to the hospital and finish the job with high velocity lead right there in the operating or recovery rooms. And recently, there was the not well reported incident where rogue Mexican Army soldiers invaded a rival drug house in Phoenix, Arizona. The soldiers, armed with full auto weapons, were preparing an ambush for responding Phoenix coppers but luckily for the cops, the army dudes didn't bring enough ammo. They ran dry shooting up the house.

There have also been two cases of corrupt Mexican Army officers arrested here in the U.S. where they were living in safe houses. I was recently sent some unpublished photos of the aftermath of the big Tijuana shootout between Mexican Federal Police and some cartel shooters. At least two of the cartel guys appeared to have been shot in their vehicles while trying to blast their way out of the perimeter. It's interesting to note that both vehicles wore California license plates. That's a fairly clear indication that the cartels are operating freely on both sides of the fence and probably have allies they can count on to run whatever business needs to be run.

All the indicators are pointing to some troubling times ahead for local and Federal U.S. law enforcement.