Mexican Cartels Push Deep Into US
Cartels increasingly sending agents beyond the border
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2013 6:15 AM CDT
Updated Apr 1, 2013 7:56 AM CDT
In this Feb. 14, 2013 photo, Art Bilek, executive VP of the Chicago Crime Commission, announces that Joaquin "El Chapo'' Guzman, a drug kingpin in Mexico, has been named Chicago's Public Enemy No. 1.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

(Newser) – Mexican drug cartels have long dispatched agents to border states, but a new AP investigation finds that operatives are now infiltrating much deeper into the US, with problems arising in areas from the Chicago suburbs to rural North Carolina. Typically, middlemen have been used to smuggle drugs over the border and distribute them, but cartels are increasingly cutting those traffickers out in order to grab a bigger chunk of the money; now, cartel agents are suspected of running drug networks in nine or more non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South, and Northeast. "It's probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime," says the head of the DEA's Chicago office.

US officials are concerned the cartels could eventually expand into areas like prostitution, kidnapping and extortion, and money laundering if not held in check. Years ago, when Mexico first saw cartels' power increasing, it "didn't nip the problem in the bud," says one anti-trafficking expert. "And see where they are now." Officials are also worried an increased cartel presence could lead to increased violence and drug-related killings. But not everyone is convinced the problem looms large; some believe law enforcement agencies are exaggerating the threat in an attempt to increase their budgets.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Mexican Drug Cartels Push Deep Into US is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 56 comments
Apr 1, 2013 8:12 PM CDT
The average american that owns a gun is not a trained or indoctrinated killer...It may cause a little caution by the cartels, but we wont be a problem....The best way to handle the problem is to change our drug policy and have a DEA that does the job it is supposed to rather than be a middleman or take cartel sides.
Apr 1, 2013 5:35 PM CDT
"Mexican Cartels Push Deep Into US" ----------------------------------------------- So? Kill them!! This is not rocket science....American citizens come first.
Apr 1, 2013 3:38 PM CDT
The difference between the U.S. and Mexico is that U.S. citizens -- at least for the time being -- have the right to bear arms. If the cartels decide to behave in this country as they do in Mexico, they will face millions of people who own firearms, and know how to use them.