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Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) now operate in every corner of the United States and pose a significant threat to law officials trying to counteract them, according to a U.S. Justice Department report.
“The growing strength and organization of criminal gangs, including their growing alliances with large Mexican DTOs, has changed the nature of midlevel and retail drug distribution in many local drug markets, even in suburban and rural areas. As a result, disrupting illicit drug availability and distribution will become increasingly difficult for state and local law enforcement agencies.”
In the past, authorities and local officials could stop drug trafficking temporarily in their area by targeting local gangs, but now that is almost impossible, the report revealed.
The “well-organized criminal gangs are able to maintain a stronger, more stable drug supply to local markets and to quickly replace distributors when individual gang members or entire distribution cells are arrested,” it said.
Government officials are concerned about what this could mean for the flow of illicit drugs to the U.S. and the violence often perpetrated by gangs distributing them. Heroin production in Mexico more than doubled from 17 pure metric tons in 2007 to 38 pure metric tons in 2008.
“Without a significant increase in drug interdiction, seizures, arrests, and investigations that apply sustained pressure on major DTOs,” the report continued, “availability of most drugs will increase in 2010, primarily because drug production in Mexico is increasing.”