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California Border Alliance Group Drug Market Analysis
June 2007

Drug-Related Crime

Drug-related violence is escalating in the CBAG region as a result of, in part, more aggressive measures that Mexican DTOs are using while attempting to smuggle illicit drugs into the area from Mexico. Law enforcement reporting indicates an increase in the number and severity of assaults against U.S. border enforcement officers and agents along the California-Mexico border. DTO members, who often face severe punishment or even death if their shipment is seized, are assaulting officers and agents more often with weapons and vehicles to escape apprehension. Moreover, traffickers are adopting aggressive tactics to distract law enforcement officers and hinder their efforts of securing the border.

Retail drug distribution further contributes to drug-related violence as well as property crime within the CBAG region. In the San Diego metropolitan area, disputes between retail distributors over distribution territories often result in violent criminal activity such as assault, robbery, and homicide. Moreover, abusers of illicit drugs often engage in property crime to acquire money to purchase illicit drugs. The San Diego Police Department reports that most addicts commit crimes such as identity theft, automobile theft, shoplifting, or conducting prostitution operations to support their addictions. Law enforcement officials report that a significant portion of the drug-related criminal activity that occurs in the region is methamphetamine-related and that identity theft, which has significantly increased in the region over the past 5 years, is largely perpetrated by methamphetamine abusers.

The high level of violence occurring in Mexico over control of smuggling corridors also may contribute to escalating levels of drug-related violence in the CBAG region, endangering law enforcement officers and innocent citizens. Several law enforcement officers in the Tijuana and Mexicali, Mexico, areas have been murdered; it is possible that U.S. citizens and law enforcement officers in these border areas could be targeted in the future. Areas along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, including San Diego, are becoming embroiled in the wave of drug-related violence occurring in Mexico. Some of the groups that transport illicit drugs, provide safe houses, and smuggle weapons do so on behalf of or are affiliated with Mexican cartels, including the AFO.

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