Violence from the Mexican drug cartels has dramatically escalated since Mexican President Philipe Calderón ordered federal troops to assist in combating the influence of Mexican drug cartels that seek to export drugs into the United States and Canada.
Since then (2006), the killing has increased exponentially and many in the United States are concerned that these killings and other forms of aggression may “spill-over” the border in the southern states of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Congressional committees have already started seeking to address this concern and have identified representatives of Mexican drug cartels in at least 230 American cities.
Researchers at the Center for Homicide Research are working to identify the impact of any infiltration of Mexican homicides into the U.S. Already it is clear that infiltration is occurring in Los Angeles and Northern Virginia, where the MS-13 Gang is using a very brutal implement for killing – the machete. Researchers are seeking to understand how MS-13 is importing Latin and Mexican style violence to the U.S., and to warn U.S. homicide detectives about this newest threat.
In Mexico, no one can avoid the impact of these ruthless and brutal killings. Chiefs of Police and homicide detectives have become prime targets in the killing. Media reports indicate that in 2008, over 60 police officers were murdered in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city near the U.S. border. Hanging bodies from bridges and beheading victims have become common-place homicide tactics in Mexico. Many victims show signs of torture.
Homicide during the cartel drug war also makes it easier for anyone to murder and to do so with impunity. There are so many killings, that few murders are being solved. Women are disappearing in femicidal homicides, and “social cleansing” has already been reported by journalists.
It is clear that Mexican homicide is an emerging concern and it has the potential to change the very nature of the homicide landscape in the United States. Center for Homicide researchers expect to offer a public presentation about this emerging issue in the near future.