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RAID POPPY FLOWER

Opium Now Bigger Cash Crop than Marijuana in Mexico

The plants growing along an increasing number of Mexican hillsides reflect trends in illegal drug use here in the United States. While marijuana fields easily outnumbered poppy plantations in prime Mexican growing regions, both government and international-agency statistics show those numbers have reversed as Mexican-origin heroin use in the US has exploded.

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Mexican Border City Taking Down Sign Made of Seized Guns

“No More Weapons!” is the emphatic message posted on this controversial Ciudad Juárez sign intended for travelers entering the city from El Paso. The 26×70-foot billboard has lettering made with seized weapons that were brought into Mexico illegally from the US. However, reportedly as a symbol of good faith toward the United States, crews this week started dismantling the sign.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs Texas border security bills into law. (Photo: Breitbart Texas/Lana Shadwick)

Texas Opening New Intelligence Center to Battle Border Crime

With the signing of House Bill 11 on June 9 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a new intelligence center will be established in Hidalgo County, designed to target border crime more effectively. However, details are unclear regarding how this center’s mission will differ significantly from the multiple fusion and joint intelligence centers located across the state, calling into question whether the $2.1 million start-up cost is justified.

Female putting money into washing machine, closeup

Major US Banks Closing Border Branches to Fight Money Laundering

As more money continues to flow into the pockets of Mexican drug cartels, traffickers need to maintain a solid network of places—often along the southwest border—where they can launder drug money. However, in an attempt to stymie these efforts, several major US banks have been closing numerous branches in the region and shutting down hundreds of customer accounts.

Mexican Flag

Kids Killing Kids: Drug War Violence Impacts Mexican Children

In an act that shocked the residents of a city who thought they had seen it all, five adolescents in the border city of Ciudad Juárez – a stone’s throw from El Paso, TX – between the ages of 11 and 15 are being investigated for stoning, stabbing, and burying a six year-old boy on May 16.

Horrors of Heroin

Op Ed: Heroin Deaths Blind to Socio-Economic Barriers

Today started out like any other Saturday morning, which for me involves checking emails and Facebook. Shortly after starting to scroll through my feed, I saw my friend had shared a heartbreaking story: the strange sentencing dilemma of a heroin dealer who was complicit in the death of her son’s namesake—a teenage boy in upper middle class Middle America.

Border Patrol agent stands by stolen truck outside Laredo Texas

Bad Radio Coverage, Inadequate Training Hinder Border Patrol Operations and Agents’ Safety

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicates spotty radio coverage and inadequate training are challenging the agency’s ability to secure the southwest border and negatively affect agent safety. Aside from a firearm, a handheld radio is a Border Patrol agent’s best friend. Often finding themselves in remote areas of the border with untold armed drug and human smugglers nearby, agents need to be able to communicate with each other quickly and clearly.

REUTERS NEWS PICTURES SERVICE - PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2013

Texas Cattle Raisers: Border not Secure, Drug War Hurting Business

There are few things that are more American than raising cattle in the great State of Texas. Every year, thousands of cattle raisers from the state and the southwestern US gather for the annual Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) convention. I had the privilege presenting during their general session on border security issues, in addition to speaking to several of the ranchers and ranch owners about their border concerns.

Texas DPS Gun Boat Troy Hogue

ANALYSIS: Zetas Continue to Pose Threat to Texas Law Enforcement

Despite the arrests of multiple top leaders in Mexico’s Zetas cartel, the organization continues to be active across northeastern Mexico and in several areas within the state of Texas. While the Border Patrol often intercepts Zetas associates attempting to smuggle drugs across the border, many smugglers evade capture and move into the realm of Texas state and local law enforcement, posing a very real threat to these officers.

Mexican policemen and a soldier stand guard next to remains of a parked vehicle outside a studio of top broadcaster Televisa in Ciudad Victoria

UTEP Report: Drug War Violence Hurting Mexican Businesses

Most drug war observers know that drug-related violence—especially in industrial and metropolitan areas like Ciudad Juárez—has a negative impact on the local community. But the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) has recently published a report detailing the various short- and long-term effects of this violence on Mexican businesses, and how this has had some effect on Texas border communities.

Members of the community police walk near a deceased member of the Knights Templar cartel (Caballeros Templarios) after a clash in Michoacan state

Rival Militia Leaders Released from Prison in Mexico, Violence Expected

In one of the most turbulent areas affected by Mexico’s drug war, more violence is expected after two rival militia leaders were exonerated by a judge for acting in self-defense.

The March 10 ruling resulted in the release from prison of Hipólito Mora, founder of one of the first so-called autodefensa groups in the town of La Ruana, Michoacan, along with 26 of his men, according to a Vice News report. Luis Antonio “El Americano” Torres, leader of the rival Buenavista group, was expected to be released very soon.

36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard Soldier on the Rio Grande River. U.S. Army Photo: Maj. Randall Stillinger

REPORT: Border Security Strains Relations Between Texas and Mexico

A recent report by in the Dallas Morning News suggests that the historically strong ties between the State of Texas and Mexico may be under a considerable amount of strain. Despite the region’s powerhouse cross-border economy, recent decisions regarding illegal immigration and border security have left Mexico feeling rebuffed.

Pedro Flores

Sinaloa Cartel’s Chicago Leaders Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

Calling them the “most significant drug dealers” he’d dealt with in two decades on the bench, U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo sentenced twins Pedro and Margarito Flores to 14 years each in prison for smuggling at least 71 tons of cocaine and heroin and nearly $2 billion in cash from 2005 to 2008 for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. The Flores brothers served as the control point for the drug trafficking organization in the Windy City for years, and would have received life sentence had they not agreed to fully cooperate with U.S. authorities to bring down major players in the cartel.

A soldier stands guard among marijuana plants at an illegal plantation found during a military operation on Friday at the Culiacan mountains, northern Mexico, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. The drought in northern Mexico is so bad that it has hurt even illicit drug growers and their normally well-tended crops of marijuana and opium poppies, Gen. Pedro Gurrola, commander of army forces in the state of Sinaloa, said Monday.

Mexican Marijuana Production Slumps in Face of US Legalization

Mexican drug cartels may be raking in billions of dollars in profits every year, but new figures from both the United States and Mexican sources indicate marijuana from south of the border may be accounting for a much smaller share than before. Some drug war observers believe that legalization measures in certain U.S. states are causing not only a decline in marijuana smuggling, but a decline in Mexico’s homicide rate as well.

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Mexicans Making Easy Currency Exchange Profits Thanks to Drug Cartels

Mexican drug cartels, along with an untold number of global criminal and terrorist organizations, launder billions of dollars every year through banks and money service businesses. In order to curb this cartel activity, the Mexican government has severely limited the amount of American dollars that can be deposited into numbered accounts. A side effect of this policy, however, has been that Mexicans and travelers who pass through the country’s airports can quickly and easily profit from buying U.S. dollars at a loss, then selling them a few feet away for pesos at a roughly 3 percent profit.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera

Mexico Refuses to Extradite Infamous Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ to the U.S.

Mexico’s drug war was completely rocked in February 2014 after news broke of the arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the notorious long-time head of the Sinaloa cartel and arguably the most wanted man in the Western Hemisphere. But despite the U.S. government’s deep desire to prosecute and incarcerate Guzmán in the United States, Mexico’s attorney general announced the kingpin would not be extradited.

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