Task Force Targets Cross-Border Violence; Crimes Surge as Mexico Drug Cartels Face Off

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 10, 2006 | Go to article overview

Task Force Targets Cross-Border Violence; Crimes Surge as Mexico Drug Cartels Face Off


Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Federal, state and local law-enforcement agents have teamed up along the Texas-Mexico border to target rising violence spreading into the United States from a deadly turf war between drug cartels in Nuevo Laredo.

Since January, the Border Enforcement and Security Task Force (BEST) has arrested 31 cartel members; seized dynamite, grenades and bombs in Laredo, Texas; and taken possession of weapons, drugs and $1 million in cash.

"The BEST task force concept incorporates personnel from existing intelligence groups - involved in both collection and analysis - to help identify and disseminate information relating to violent smuggling organizations," said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Team members include agents from ICE; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service; the U.S. attorney's office; and key state and local law-enforcement agencies.

Drug-related violence on the Texas-Mexico border has surged during the past year, the result of intense competition between the Gulf cartel, led by Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, and the Sinaloa cartel, also known as the "Federation," run by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman Loera and Arturo Beltran Leyva.

Both gangs seek to control long-established drug-smuggling corridors into Texas. Authorities estimate that more than $14 billion in illicit narcotics pass annually through the Laredo area. …

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