I hail from Columbus, Ohio. It is more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the US-Mexico border.
Things are pretty hairy down ol’ Mexico way. The government declared war on the drug cartels three years ago. So far there isn’t much progress, even though any gains by law enforcement usually sets off a turf war between the gangs as they try to seize lucrative smuggling routes from suddenly weakened rivals. If the big boys ever get organized instead of simply looking to grab what they can, then I really don’t think the Mexican government has a prayer of winning. Or even surviving.
The conflict has disrupted the status quo in a huge way. Smaller criminal gangs have been pushed out, their traditional territories and criminal specialty either being shut down by law enforcement, or through seizure by larger gangs looking to survive in the increasingly deadly environment. A lot of the small fry have taken to going north in order to survive.
Kidnapping for ransom has always been a big business in Mexico. Since that is the trade most of them know, it makes sense that they will try to set up shop when they get in to the US.
A kidnapping occurred on a busy public street a few weeks ago. The criminals used two cars to block off their target’s vehicle. Shots were fired. A woman and child were abducted. It all went down less than five minutes from my front door.
Seems like SOP for a kidnapping in Mexico, but this is Ohio. When the criminals called to make their ransom demands, the local police were on the case. The SWAT team moved in, the victims were recovered unharmed, and the suspects were arrested without any deaths or injuries.
Kudos to the cops. They moved quickly, showed professionalism, and saved the day. But something tells me that there are going to be a lot more cases like this.
(Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)