Brutal drug turf war just across border

MEXICO CITY /*Mexico City*/ is a diverse, cosmopolitan city -- and yet it is under siege by violent drug cartels. Experts equate this violence to a disease that is spreading, and has already infected the United States, including Los Angeles.

It's been seen on news reports all around the world -- drug cartels are waging a violent war on the streets of Mexico. Much of the violence has been in border towns neighboring the U.S., such as /*Tijuana*/ and /*Del Rio*/. These are turf wars for drug trade routes into the U.S.

The cartels are killing each other, as well as any lawman, official or innocent bystander that gets in their way.

While many Americans think this is just another Third World problem in a Third World country, the problem is bigger than that. It's our problem.

"Our street gangs - our homegrown street gangs - in Los Angeles have not only migrated to Mexico and South American countries, but they are connected to the current narcotic cartels in Mexico," said Chief Charlie Beck from the LAPD.

America's insatiable demand for drugs started the problem, and now our street gangs are evolving into sophisticated drug syndicates now working for the cartels distributing the goods.

"They're the workforce in the United States for the cartels," said Beck.

Beck said L.A. street gangs are transforming from the common thug to a more organized crime operation, much like the Italian mafia. Gangs are learning big business, and are making the cartels hundreds of millions of dollars.

"We've created a narco-state in Mexico by our endless capacity for narcotics in the United States. The capital we send over there is what makes them powerful," said Beck.

As long as the money is flowing, there will be cartels and criminals to fight for it, even if it means bringing their fight to the U.S. That means kidnapping, professional hits and innocent bystanders in the line of fire on our streets. That Third World problem is our problem.

"The money is there, the potential is there," said Beck. "This is big. We are poised to see this happen in the southwestern United States."

Mexican citizens fully understand the importance of President Obama's visit there. The question is, do Americans?


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