The Director of National Intelligence called Transnational Organized Crime a growing threat to the security and health of U.S. citizens. The director said these groups, including Mexican drug cartels and MS-13 cliques, contribute to “increased social violence” and the erosion of governmental authority in many countries.
“Mexican criminal groups will continue to supply much of the heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana that cross the US-Mexico border, while China-based suppliers ship fentanyls and fentanyl precursors to Mexico-, Canada-, and U.S. based distributors or sell directly to consumers via the Internet,” Daniel R. Coats, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) wrote in a Worldwide Threat Assessment report released on Tuesday (attached below).
In 2016, the report states that drug overdoses accounted for more deaths than suicide, motor vehicle crashes, and all forms of homicide. The number of drug overdoses skyrocketed during the past two years–doubling in 2016 because of the national opioid epidemic.
“Transnational organized criminal groups probably will generate more revenue from illicit activity in the coming year, which the UN last estimated at $1.6-$2.2 trillion for 2014,” the DNI continued.
In addition to drug smuggling, the director also listed the continuing human trafficking enterprises carried out around the world by transnational criminal organizations. The DNI estimates that about 25 million people are victimized by human traffickers.
The DNI listed epidemic criminal activity as one of the key political issues for 2016.
“Presidential elections, including those in Mexico and Colombia, will occur at a time when support for political parties and governing institutions is at record lows and could bolster the appeal of outsider candidates,” the report states.
Regarding Mexico specifically, the Director Coats wrote:
Mexicans are focused on presidential and legislative elections scheduled for July 2018, in which corruption, high violence, and a tepid economy will be key issues. The Mexican Government has made slow progress implementing rule-of-law reforms and will continue to rely on the military to lead counternarcotics efforts. Mexico’s $1.1 trillion economy benefits from strong economic fundamentals, but uncertainty over trade relationships and higher-than-expected inflation could further slow economic growth. President Enrique Pena Nieto is focusing on domestic priorities, including recovery from the September 2017 earthquakes and managing impacts from potential US policy shifts ahead of the elections. In recent years, Mexican US-bound migration has been net negative but might increase if economic opportunity at home declined.
Breitbart Texas has reported extensively on the unstable political climate created by the Mexican drug cartels through its Cartel Chronicles series. The series utilizes citizen journalists who are willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.
The reports from Mexico record the ultra-violent activities of the drug cartels — particularly in the civil war-torn region of Tamaulipas, just south of the Texas border.
Cartel Chronicles reported on Tuesday about the kidnapping and murder of a federal narcotics agent near Cancun.
The anonymous writer reported:
Mexican federal law enforcement sources revealed to Breitbart Texas that late last week, 27-year-old Hugo Enrique Rafael Peña went missing and was discovered hours later–shot multiple times, blindfolded with tape, and hands tied. According to police file 65/2018, authorities found 11 9mm bullet casings at the scene.
Breitbart Texas also reports on U.S. prosecutors’ efforts to extradite former Mexican governors for their alleged roles in narcotics trafficking and public corruption.
Breitbart Texas editor-in-chief and managing director, Brandon Darby, and investigative journalist Ildefonso Ortiz reported:
Former Tamaulipas Governor Eugenio Hernandez Flores served from 2005 to 2010 and since 2014, is wanted in the Southern District of Texas on several money laundering and fraud charges. The case against Hernandez stems from an ongoing probe by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Hernandez and his predecessor, Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba, both hail from the same political party and both are wanted by U.S. authorities on similar charges tied to moving cartel bribes and embezzled funds into Texas. As Breitbart Texas reported, Yarrington is currently in an Italian prison fighting extradition; the disgraced politician is facing additional drug trafficking charges in the U.S. related to Los Zetas, the Gulf, and the Beltran Leyva Cartels.
Director Coats also addressed the massive migration of people from Central American and attributed this crisis to gang-related violence, particularly in countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
The report concludes:
Insecurity and lack of economic opportunities likely will remain the principal drivers of irregular migration from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Homicide rates in these countries remain high, and gang-related violence is still prompting Central Americans to flee.
The director prepared the Worldwide Threat Assessment report for 2018 in preparation for testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.