Mexican Cartels Now Operating in Over 1,000 US Cities; Up From 195 US Cities
The recent publication of the US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), National Drug Threat Assessment 2011 (justice.gov) (August 2011) provides an important strategic insight into Mexican cartel penetration into the United States. On p. 8 of the document, a single sentence states:
Mexican-based TCOs were operating in more than a thousand U.S. cities during 2009-2010, spanning all nine OCDETF regions.
The corresponding note (g) is as follows:
Included are traffickers who purchase illicit drugs from TCO associates and distribute them on their own, cells that function as an extension of the TCO to traffic illicit drugs in the United States, and cells that provide warehousing, security, and/or transportation services for the TCO.
Prior publicly released National Drug Intelligence Center data on Mexican TCOs (Transnational Criminal Organizations) operating in the United States dates back to a situation report and a series of maps from April 2008. The Situation Report: Cities in Which Mexican DTOs Operate Within the United States (justice.gov). This sentence from the Discussion section provides a baseline concerning Mexican cartel penetration into the United States:
Federal, state, and local law enforcement reporting reveals that Mexican DTOs operate in at least 195 cities throughout the United States.
The acronym “DTO” stands for Drug Trafficking Organization which has since been replaced by the acronym “TCO”— Transnational Criminal Organization— used in the 2011 document— to convey that the Mexican cartels are now viewed as more threatening and capable (with transnational reach) entities. This data comes from