Dallas-Fort Worth now a Mexican cartel battle zone

Fort Worth Star Telegram:
The slaying in Southlake Town Square of a Mexican attorney with reputed ties to drug cartels was a brazen and well-coordinated assassination that illustrates the increasingly long and lethal reach of the brutal criminal organizations, security experts say.

The flamboyant public hit was unusual because Mexican cartels try to stay off the radar on this side of the border.

But it underlines an ominous trend: Dallas-Fort Worth has become a key “command and control” center for moving drugs and people across the country, top state and federal law enforcement officials confirm.

DFW is more than 400 miles from the Mexico border, but its central location and vast network of interstates and rail lines make it a vital distribution point for drugs.

“When you have these kinds of incidents in your nicer communities, it really resonates and brings home the cartels’ reach,” said Fred Burton, a security analyst with Austin-based Stratfor Global Intelligence who monitors the cartels, their areas of influence and their drug routes.

“There’s a perception that these guys don’t do that kind of stuff here, but in reality they do. They are selective, but if they do want to kill somebody, they’ve been successful in doing it, as evidenced by what happened in Southlake,” he said.

The cartels’ tentacles reach everywhere, Burton said.

“If you are in a large city in America, in all likelihood there is a cartel presence there. No city is untouched anymore,” said Burton, a former counterterrorism agent with the State Department from 1985 to 1999.

Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Mexican cartels “constitute the greatest organized-crime threat” to the state.

Six of the eight major cartels operate in Texas: Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Beltran Leyva Organization, La Familia Michoacana and the Juarez Cartel, according to the Texas Public Safety Threat Overview released by the DPS in late March.

The Zetas, La Familia and Gulf cartels overlap in their operational areas, roughly the eastern half of Texas; the Beltran Leyva Organization is based along the Texas Gulf Coast; and the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels operate primarily in West Texas, according to the DPS.

In the last half-dozen years or so, the cartels have expanded beyond drug smuggling to become multifaceted organized-crime groups dealing in murder, extortion, kidnapping, human trafficking, oil theft, money laundering, auto theft, weapons smuggling and corruption, McCraw said.
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There is much more.  The article is worth reading in full.

The Dallas Fort Worth area is intersected by several major Interstate Highways--I-35, I-20 and I-40.  It is also a major railhead and air hub.  Most of the fighting in the Mexican border cities was to gain control of access to these corridors.  The cartels are moving that fight inland into the US.  Much of the bloodshed in Chicago is over control of turf there by the cartels.  The cartels are also heavily into human trafficking.  That is a situation that the Obama administration has been reluctant to deal with and the proposed immigration reform does nothing to deter that trafficking.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/06/08/4921705/dfw-is-now-a-command-and-control.html?utm_source=MRT+Morning+Email+List&utm_campaign=2fef6609d4-061113_230am_CT6_11_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3a93afa5aa-2fef6609d4-76913569#storylink=cpy

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