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Home > Security Operations, Uncategorized > Drug Gangs Now Constitute Para-Military/Terrorist Groups

Drug Gangs Now Constitute Para-Military/Terrorist Groups

April 21st, 2010

The governments of the  United States and Mexico are at  war with the drug gangs. There should not be any mistake that what is happening on the Mexican border is a war. Another misnomer is that all of the violence is happening on the Mexican side of the border. The violence has spilled across the border into Texas, Arizona, California, and beyond.

Mexican drug cartels have recruited street and prison gangs. These criminal groups over the past few years have morphed into para-military/terrorist organizations. They are heavily armed with military weapons. They are employing military tactics to ambush police, politicians and others.

The Mexican drug cartels are employing the  terror tactics of kidnapping, hostage taking, be-headings, and extreme torturing of their victims prior to killing them. These people use extreme violence for one purpose only greed. They feed this greed by selling drugs all over the world. These Gangs do not adhere to the Geneva Convention or, for that matter to any degree of human decency - they are cold blooded murderers.

These drug gangs have attacked prisons and local jails to free their fellow gang members and/or leaders. Criminal justice personnel from every division of the criminal justice family (Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections) and politicians have become the favored targets of the drug games. I believe that they have chosen these groups because by killing police, etc. they instill fear and terror in the general public. If the police cannot control the streets during the daylight, what hope does a normal citizen have against the ruthless, greed driven killers? In an effort to get the violence under control, the Mexican Government has sent in its military. Even with a significant military presence, the murder and violence continues, practically unabated. Just last week the drug gang violence spread to Mexico’s tourist area of Acapulco. This war has had a devastating affect on the Mexican economy and quality of life.  Yet, there are a great many people making untold amounts of money. “Certainly at the marco level , there is a lot of money flowing into Mexico and a lot of people, from bankers and businessmen to political parties and politicians, are benefiting from the massive influx of cash. The lure of this lucre shapes how many Mexicans (particulary many of the Mexican elite) view narcotics trafficking.. It is, frankly, a good time to be a banker, real estate developer or a Rolex dealer in Mexico.” [1]

Over the past year or more the war has continued to escalate and now the United States is feeling the effects of the extreme violence.  I believe that the time is fast approaching when the United States will soon have to face the fact that this phenomenon (war) has surpassed the bounds of criminal activities and has entered into the boundaries of para-military/terrorists.

Jails and prisons, both private and public, will be required to prepare emergency plans detailing what steps they must take should they be attacked. Private companies that are used to incarcerating detainees for the various Federal government law enforcement agencies (ICE, USMS, etc.) may find themselves in a rather precarious position:

- Should they be attacked by one of these para-military/terrorist groups, without question, deadly force will have to be used - are they covered?

- Do they have adequate training to respond to such an attack?

- Are the private jail and prison personnel armed properly? From personal experience, a year or so ago, I was astonished to see how inadequately armed they were. Hopefully, that has changed.

- Have they identified who would be providing their back-up and how long will it take for that back-up to arrive?

(These recomenations also apply to public jails and prisons. My experience in public jails and prisons leads me to believe that  public jails and prisons are better armed than the private ones.)

As I have written before, should your facility come under attack you should remember:

= The attack has been planned in detail.

= The attack will be conducted on a comprehensive timetable.

= The attack could be one of stealth (As the one in Mexico was when the attackers drove up to the prison in police cars and they were let in.)

= The attack could be extremely “hard hitting” where the attackers will use explosives plus light and heavy weapons fire. It is not unusual for these para-military/terrorists to use machine guns and hand grenades.

= The attackers have no problem  with killing people.

One has to wonder just how far this war will go. The Mexican government is putting up a valiant fight,but I do not see where they are winning. These drug gangs now have become emboldened enough to become para-military/terrorist groups with a thirst for more power and more money. I would not be surprised if someday in the near future our Southwestern border returns to its wild west roots.

[1] Stewart, Scott, Stratford (Global Security & Intelligence Report) April 8, 2010   (

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billsturgeon Security Operations, Uncategorized , , , , ,

  1. Alice Heiserman
    April 21st, 2010 at 14:23 | #1

    This is hard-hitting and informative! Hope the prisons and jails heed your advice–even in this time of budget deficits.

  2. Kathy Marshall
    April 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 | #2

    Good Morning William! I read your column and believe that our local law enforcement agencies aren’t in trouble as yet but wow, the lower states have their hands full. What can we do to help out? So many times we feel so helpless in this scenario. Good read and very enlightening. Thanks for your continued quest to keep us the average citizens informed by staying abreast on terrorist activities and on gang activities from law enforcement, criminal justice agencies and corrections arena’s and then then passing it along accordingly. You are by now an expert on Gangs for sure. You have been studying them since the early 70’s I would suspect. You are my hero!

  3. May 1st, 2010 at 08:01 | #3

    Thanks for your comments. I am worried that many agencies will not listen to my warnings until it is too late.

  4. May 1st, 2010 at 08:05 | #4

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, when I think that I have been watching gangs for over 35 years, it make me feel old. The current gang activity is as bad as I have ever seen. The value of human life to these thugs is zero. Men, women, and children are their victims. Thanks to you we got the word out, about gangs and subversive groups, in the 80’s - BTW that’s the 1980’s. Thanks again, friend - Bill

  5. Deloris Glymph
    May 14th, 2010 at 10:20 | #5

    As usual your insightfulness is all too real. We, unfortunately are always playing catch up when it comes to being prepared for terrorist threats whether they’re on our own turf or elsewhere. We tend to operate from the reactive mode rather than the proactive mode because we feel that taking a proactive stance in preparing for situations like these that are likely inevitible is to costly. We must ask ourselves, what is the cost of doing nothing and can we afford that price? Keep us informed and up to date and hopefully enough of us will share and see the urgency of terrorists threats that can arise from prison/gang cartels and alliances.


  6. May 15th, 2010 at 18:11 | #6

    We (the correctional community) has to become “pro-active” with post 911 security. Bill

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