(CNSNews.com) - Mexican drug trafficking organizations are now the greatest organized crime threat to the United States, according to a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The National Drug Threat Assessment for 2009, released last month by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, says Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) operate in more than 230 cities across the United States.
These drug syndicates not only smuggle drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, they also produce drugs here in the United States. Their smuggled products include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana, and their domestically produced products include methamphetamines and marijuana.
The power of the Mexican DTOS in the U.S. is growing as they expand into new markets, the threat assessment said.
“Mexican DTOs represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States,” said the threat assessment. “The influence of Mexican DTOs over domestic drug trafficking is unrivaled. In fact, intelligence estimates indicate a vast majority of the cocaine available in U.S. drug markets is smuggled by Mexican DTOs across the U.S.–Mexico border.
“Mexican DTOs control drug distribution in most U.S. cities, and they are gaining
strength in markets that they do not yet control,” the threat assessment said.
“Mexican DTOs control a greater portion of drug production, transportation and distribution than any other criminal group or DTO,” the assessment said. “Their extensive drug trafficking activities in the United States generate billions of dollars in illicit proceeds annually.”
The Mexican groups often work with urban gangs and outlaw motorcycle groups (OMGs) inside the United States. “Mexican drug traffickers affiliated with the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juárez, and Tijuana Cartels maintain working relationships with at least 20 street gangs, prison gangs, and OMGs that operate in urban and suburban communities throughout the country,” said the threat assessment.
The activities of the Mexican drug syndicates, other drug-crime organizations and their customers result in a wide array of crimes.
“The violence, intimidation, theft and financial crimes carried out by DTOs, criminal groups, gangs and drug users in the United States pose a significant threat to our nation,” the threat assessment concluded.
More than 1.8 million drug-related arrests took place in the U.S. in 2007 and about 52 percent of federal prisoners were sentenced for drug-related offenses.