You can now be kidnapped right off the street, held for ransom, tortured, killed, and/or decapitated right here in the U.S. This is the preferred method of operations for these criminals.
In August 2008, Reuters reported on an American businesswoman identified only as “Veronica,” who had been kidnapped a few months earlier. As she was exiting her car in California, two men forced her into the passenger seat at gunpoint, then shoved her teenage daughter into the back seat and took the pair to Mexico.
The kidnappers drove through the border checkpoint in San Diego, bringing the mother and daughter to Tijuana. The two were held captive for a month until their family paid the ransom of $100,000.
Veronica said of her experience: “We got an automatic green light to go through Mexican customs and then we were blindfolded and taken to a house in Tijuana. They held a pistol to my stomach all the time we were in the car.”
Mexican intelligence officials claim that Veronica is only one of about 30 Americans abducted in southern California and taken to Tijuana since last November.
But that’s just a few kidnappings, right? Read on:
In 2002, members of Mexico´s Arellano Felix crime organization set up shop in the San Diego area, and began a kidnapping and extortion operation. Fearing reprisals, their victims failed to report the incidents to police, and went undetected for years. During that time, the gang used their profits to purchase weapons, police uniforms, badges, even police lights for their vehicles.
In 2007, Los Palillos were finally busted by local and federal law enforcement.
Police claim that the group, known as Los Palillos (the Toothpicks), murdered at least a dozen people, committed 20 kidnappings and transported huge amounts of methamphetamine to Kansas City, Mo., to help finance their organization´s ongoing war with the Tijuana Cartel in Tijuana, all of course, from San Diego County.
In August 2008, the FBI´s San Diego field office admitted that they were currently investigating the kidnapping of 16 U.S. residents who were held in Tijuana between October 2007 and May 2008, including many of whom were abducted in San Diego.
According to the Phoenix Police Department, as of mid November, there had been 266 kidnappings and 300 home invasions during 2008. However, police estimate the actual numbers to be closer to three times as high as the reported figures. Many victims fail to report such crimes, out of fear from further retribution from the notoriously violent cartels.
Phoenix Police Lt. Lori Burgett told CBS News: “It wasn´t uncommon to have a new kidnapping case coming into our offices on a daily basis.”
“But this is still an isolated problem,” you say. Is it really?
On April 11, 2008, the U.S. Justice Department´s National Drug Intelligence Center released a situation report, illustrating just how widespread the activities of Mexican drug cartels have become throughout the U.S.
The sobering assessment read: “Mexican DTO´s (Drug Trafficking Organizations) are the most pervasive organizational threat to the United States. They are active in every region of the country and dominate the illicit drug trade in every area except the Northeast. Mexican DTO´s are expanding their operations in the Northeast and have developed cooperative relationships with DTO´s in that area in order to gain a larger share of the Northeastern drug market.”
According to the report, Mexican drug traffickers are now operating in 195 U.S. cities. In 129 of those cities, law enforcement has determined that those traffickers are directly affiliated with one or more of the four major Mexican drug cartels.
The Justice Department has identified 82 U.S. cities with trafficking operations directed by the Federation Cartel; 43 cities with operations being directed by the Gulf Coast Cartel; 44 cities with operations being directed by the Juarez Cartel; and finally, operations in 20 cities under the control of the Tijuana Cartel.
Check out the list of affected cities in the article. Coming soon to a city near you…