Drug-Related Violence in the Border
Although the government continues to make remarkable efforts in the fight against violence related to drug manufacture and trafficking, there are still some identifiable gaps. Violence resulting from drug business is not a new issue in America, despite DEA making tremendous efforts in arresting and detaining key culprits (Deibert 13). The fight against illegal drugs is an international undertaking, aiming to eradicate the demand and supply of illicit drugs. However, the American-Mexico border has continued to hit news headlines because of violence associated with drugs. Some have termed the over 1,500 mile America-Mexico border as the most lawless part in America (Deibert 24). Apart from manufacturing and distributing, drug deals involve other issues, such as human trafficking. As a result, drug smugglers and human traffickers have seized a significant corridor of Arizona dessert along the Mexico-US border and turned several ranchesand backyards some killing fields. Therefore, violence in the southern border, its effect on the society and the related dangers it brings to humanity are worth exploring. Drug-related violence, in most cases, results when rival drug dealers or gangs start fighting for territory control and drug trafficking routes (Shirk 19). Drug cartels are well established and, at times, will even hire ex-soldiers. This makes violence resulting from drugs very deadly. The paper will thus evaluate drug-related violence along the US-Mexico border. In spite of many efforts from government agencies, such as DEA, drug-related violence remains not only a security concern, but also a social and political issue.
The over 1,500 miles border stretches from the Mexican gulf to the Pacific (Deibert 33). The United States have attempted to put up protective barriers that vary greatly between these two countries. The protective barriers have been financed by the USA government. In some urban areas, the protective barriers go to the extent of being doubled to include a secondary or better still a third barrier. A second and a third barrier is erected in areas with a high number of violent gangs or renowned drug cartels. Along the border, violence because of drugs has become an intricate issue because it leads to the death of not only the warring gangs, but also innocent women and children. In the past few years, over 48,000 people have lost their lives (Shirk 42). Most importantly, is that majority of the deaths have occurred along or close to the border.
The southern border has been identified as the main arrival zone of illegal drugs entering the USA. It has also been identified as the predominant area, where most of the drugs from Mexico are deposited before being distributed to other regions. According to El Paso Intelligence Center, most of drug seizure-cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and Mexican heroin that enters the American market is smuggled through this border (Watt & Marti??nez 37). The high number of legitimate goods crossing the border at this point and the high volume of people make this border very porous. Therefore, the border has gotten more attention in both countries’ media and national capitals due to a spike in violence on Mexico’s side. Drug business in Mexico involves established and strong cartels (Haerens 43). Some of the notorious cartels include the Beltran Leyva, Gulf, Juarez, Sinaloa, Los Zetas and La Familia Michoacana (Shirk 54). As the Drug agencies in both countries intensify patrols on the border, these cartels, in most cases, turn on each, as they try to control market and routes resulting to drug-related violence.
Several authors confirm that violence is an inherent feature of the trade in illegal drugs. However, the violence resulting from the Mexico’s cartels in the recent past have become brutal (Farrell 73). Coupled with professional execution, drug-related violence has gone to the extreme of using torture, car bombing and dismemberment, and this has left government agencies and analysts speculating whether the violence has graduated into something new (Farrell 82). Although there is no consensus on whether violence associated with drugs has declined, news continue to feature public execution and homicides in Mexico. Most of the analysts speculate that in the last few years, there have been over 60,000 homicides related to drugs (Ainslie 37). Increased violence related to drugs along the border has increased security alarms among the people, entrepreneurs, travelers and authorities.
The most influential and major drug gangs are the Sinaloa and Zeta cartel. Zeta’s impact is felt in approximately half of Mexico’s states.A report by the Stratfor indicated that Zetas outdid their opponents in 2012 in terms of geographic presence (Ainslie 48).
According to Stratfor, the Zetas’ cartel becomes brutal, and this gave them the upper hand, unlike Sinaloa, which relies on bribing people. In an attempt to fight the cartel, government security forces try to fight the cartels to re-establish law and order, resulting in a lot of casualties. In most cases, territorial battles erupt, and people are displaced. Warfare between cartel members also erupts immediately and there is a breakaway. For example, the Zeta was established as an enforcement arm of the Gulf cartel, but later started attacking their former allies (Corchado 121).
Drug-related violence is an imperative component in the current security concerns. Analysts have suggested that the reason war on illicit drug along the America-Mexico border is taking ages to end is because of the political support. Major drug lords conspire with politicians and facilitate the trade. Corrupt officers, patrolling the borders have been cited to work with traffickers and local politicians. A recent case of drug-related violence involving local politicians and traffickers is the October 1 case. In this case, 43 students were killed between Mexico city and the Pacific coast. An American journalist, Leon Krauze cited the incident as a modern case of rearing of the Beast’s head (Haerens 131). This was one of the worst impacts of drug-related violence. It is a wake-up call to those in the authority to see the angry impact of some of the conspiracies that surround drug violence. It is believed that the students were arrested by local officers and handed over to the drug gangs, following direct instructions from the Mayor and his wife.
As stated earlier in the paper, the relationship between drug-trafficking and violence is very intricate. However, it is worth noting that drug-related violence has affected the society along with the dangers it brings. One of the effects of the drug-related violence is that the Mexico-America border has become one of the most dangerous places for citizens, business people, ranchers, tourists and immigrants (Farrell 114). Consequently, Mexico has been branded as an unsafe state, despite its huge economic potential. The effects of drug-related violence have not only affected Mexico, but also America and the world at large. In an attempt to counter the impacts and effects, especially along the southern border, violence related to drug has come at a price. In 2013, approximately $172.7 billion were spent to fight illicit drugs (Deibert 162). Money that would be used to fund programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare is thus used to fight violence. Analysts speculate that by the end of 2014, fight to end drug-related violence and drug trafficking is expected to be more than that of 2013 (Deibert 178). Violence containment spending by the US government is termed by IEP as an economic activity that is closely related to the consequences or deterrent of violence, where drug-related violence is directed to property or people. According to the IEP, drug-related violence prevention takes huge chunks of public money in the form of military expenditure, GDP losses resulting from conflicts, deaths from gang-gang conflict or internal wars among gangs, UN peacekeeping and, finally, through internally displaced people (Shirk 194).
Drug-related violence has also resulted to the weakening of institutions and enhanced the culture of corruption. In addition, drug-related violence has made people living along the border lose confidence and trust with the local administration (Haerens 102).
They have also lost confidence with the criminal justice system. As a result, people living along the troubled border have formed self-defense militia like the State of Michoacán. Such militias have taken over several states that were previously held by drug cartels amidst an uneasy confrontation with the government.
Drug-related violence has also resulted to other issues, such as human trafficking and a boom gun business along the border.
There are approximately 6,700 dealers engaged in the sale of firearms in America along the border (Deibert 129). However, there is only a single legal firearm dealer.
In conclusion, it is evident from the heavy government expenditures that there is a lot being done to reduce incidences of drug-related violence, along the America-Mexico border. However, cases of violence continue to be reported. The presence of strong cartels is to blame for the rise in drug-related violence. These cartels have infiltrated high offices in the government and make this vice an important security, social, economic and political issues. Drug-related violence along the border has resulted to the loss of human lives and property. In addition, it has resulted to huge amounts of money being spent in the military operation and other activities aimed at reducing or preventing the impacts of violence.