The intent of this bulletin is to provide Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) with a general knowledge of ambush tactics used by the Tijuana Cartel against Mexican LEOs in Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Officer Safety Bulletin dated October 3, 2010, outlining Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations’ (DTOs) and San Diego street gangs’ use of Tijuana Cartel tactics in San Diego County, identified a need for a more comprehensive review of cartel tactics used south of the U.S. border.
In April 2011, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported up to 82 percent of all cocaine seized in the United States contained levamisole, a veterinary drug used to de-worm livestock. Law enforcement and public health officials in the United States are warning of serious public health consequences for drug users related to contaminated cocaine use.
Transnational organized crime refers to those self-perpetuating associations of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, monetary and/or commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption and/or violence, or while protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms. There is no single structure under which transnational organized criminals operate; they vary from hierarchies to clans, networks, and cells, and may evolve to other structures.
Globally, UNODC estimates that, in 2009, between 149 and 272 million people, or 3.3% to 6.1% of the population aged 15-64, used illicit substances at least once in the previous year. About half that number are estimated to have been current drug users, that is, having used illicit drugs at least once during the past month prior to the date of assessment. While the total number of illicit drug users has increased since the late 1990s, the prevalence rates have remained largely stable, as has the number of problem drug users, which is estimated at between 15 and 39 million.
CBP BorderStat drug seizure information was used to evaluate seizure statistics in relation to the arrest or death of key DTO personnel. The drug seizure data was collected from January 2009 through January 2010. This data was analyzed to determine if the arrest or death of key personnel had a direct impact on the flow of U.S.-bound drugs. This research indicates that there is no perceptible pattern that correlates either a decrease or increase in drug seizures due to the removal of key DTO personnel.
El Paso Intelligence Center: A Police Officer’s Reference Guide to Detecting Illicit Trafficking by Aircraft from October 2009.
Intelligence reporting indicates that Los Zetas has expanded its criminal activities including extortion, kidnapping, and drug trafficking, into the Midwest and Southeast United States, and may be collaborating with a newly identified drug trafficking organization (DTO) to expand its role in the illicit drug trade in the Southeast. Los Zetas activities in the United States to date have largely been limited to the US/Mexico border area. The group’s expansion further into the United States could lead to increased smuggling, drug trafficking, and violent crime in the Southeast region, including East Tennessee and Georgia.
In a seizure during an outbound parcel interdiction, Counter Narcotics Alliance (CNA) agents seized a box of wine at the FedEx Tucson hub. The Arizona Department of Public Safety lab analyzed a red fluid concealed in the wine bladder of Franzia boxed wine. The liquid was prescription cough syrup distributed at the street level as “purple drank”, slang for a recreational drug popular in the hip-hop community. The main ingredients are codeine, a narcotic, and promethazine, an antihistamine. Purple Drank is typically mixed with ingredients such as Sprite and pieces of Jolly Rancher candy. Numerous slang terms for purple drank include: “Sizzurp, Lean, Syrup, Drank, Barre, Purple Tonic, Southern Lean, Texas Tea, Memphis Mud, Mrs. Dranklesworth, Tsikuni, Lean, P-Flav, Slip, Purple Sprite, PG Tips, Purp, and Purple Jelly”. The generic prescription name is Phenergan. Reported side effects include: drowsiness, sedation, somnolence, blurred vision, dizziness; confusion, disorientation, lassitude, tinnitus, in coordination, fatigue, euphoria, nervousness, insomnia, tremors, convulsive seizures, excitation, catatonic-like states, hysteria, and hallucinations.
The powerful confederation of Mexican DTOs known as the Sinaloa cartel controls the majority of Mexico’s marijuana and methamphetamine production and distribution, as well as cocaine trafficking from South and Central American producers into the United States across the U.S. southwest border. The Sinaloa cartel conducts business with powerful U.S. gangs that largely control local drug distribution. As one of the most powerful cartels operating in Mexico, it has expanded operations throughout western Mexico and attempted to take control of new plazas from weaker organizations.* Arrests of high-level members have not fractured the cartel or caused infighting—as was the case with several of its rivals—likely because of the cartel’s stable revenue sources, decentralized structure, family-based culture, and geographic breadth, which all contribute to its preeminence.
In Mexico, the violence generated by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in recent years has been, according to some, unprecedented. In 2006, Mexico’s newly elected President Felipe Calderón launched an aggressive campaign—an initiative that has defined his administration— against the DTOs that has been met with a violent response from the DTOs. Government enforcement efforts have had successes in removing some of the key leaders in all of the seven major DTOs. However, these efforts have led to violent succession struggles within the DTOs themselves. In July 2010, the Mexican government announced that more than 28,000 people had been killed in drug trafficking-related violence since December 2006, when President Calderón came to office.
A photo from Guatemala have also been included, as this has recently become an operating center for Mexican drug cartels. See also: Mexico Drug Cartel Carnage Photos
Based on the areas in Mexico controlled by the Gulf, Zetas, and Sinaloa cartels; the locations of U.S.-sourced firearm recoveries in Mexico; and the U.S. locations where firearms recovered in Mexico are most often acquired, the Houston and Phoenix Field Divisions will be primarily responsible for investigating trafficking schemes associated with these cartels. However, this strategy is not intended to limit the initiative of any ATF field division and in fact recognizes the increasingly important role played by non-Southwest border field divisions in combating firearms and explosives trafficking to Mexico. As a result, all ATF field divisions are expected to initiate investigations on cartels and/or their surrogates operating in their geographic areas of responsibility; however, investigations pertaining to the Gulf, Zetas, and Sinaloa cartels must be deconflicted and closely coordinated with the Houston and Phoenix Field Divisions.
Outlaw Motorcycle (OMG) and Street Gangs have been active for several years in Washington State. Both Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMG) and Street Gangs have now become entrenched in the region. Street Gangs are involved in a variety of crimes to include drug trafficking, fraud, and prostitution, and have formed alliances with other gangs. They often serve as distribution networks for Mexican National Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs). Gang membership and affiliation continue to rise in Washington State. Many gangs have infiltrated Indian Country and cooperated with DTOs, which has enabled them to recruit additional members. Both street gangs and OMGs pose a serious threat to the safety of law enforcement personnel and to the safety of local communities.
The Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, owned or controlled by significant foreign narcotics traffickers as identified by the President. In addition, the Kingpin Act blocks the property and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, of foreign persons designated by the Secretary of Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of State, who are found to be: (1) materially assisting in, or providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of, the international narcotics trafficking activities of a person designated pursuant to the Kingpin Act; (2) owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, a person designated pursuant to the Kingpin Act; or (3) playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.
U.S. Treasury Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel Perpetrators of Mexican Drug Trafficking Violence Organizational Chart from March 2010 and July 2009.
The majority of the 20 Afghan provinces that were poppy-free in 2009 will remain so this year. Yet, three provinces (Baghlan, Faryab and Sari Pul, all in the north) risk showing the beginning of a trend reversal, with a minimal increase in cultivation in the districts with higher insecurity. Five other provinces (Kunar, Nangarhar, Kabul, Laghman and Badakhshan), not poppy-free so far, are also expected to have negligible amounts of poppies.
Drug trafficking is viewed as a primary threat to citizen security and U.S. interests in Latin America and the Caribbean despite decades of anti-drug efforts by the United States and partner governments. The production and trafficking of popular illicit drugs—cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and methamphetamine—generates a multi-billion dollar black market in which Latin American criminal and terrorist organizations thrive. These groups challenge state authority in source and transit countries where governments are often fragile and easily corrupted. Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) largely control the U.S. illicit drug market and have been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice as the “greatest organized crime threat to the United States.” Drug trafficking-related crime and violence in the region has escalated in recent years, raising the drug issue to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy concerns.
On May 8, 2010, a Spanish-language flyer was placed on a vehicle in Brownsville, Texas, warning that the upcoming weekend of May 15-17, 2010, would be one of the “most violent weekends in all of Mexican history” as members of an unidentified drug trafficking organization allegedly plan to battle an unspecified rival criminal organization.
K2, or SPICE, is a new illicit drug product that has begun to appear in a limited number of drug markets in the United States. This product is a small package of herbal blends and appears to be treated with differing versions of synthetic Cannabinoids. Effects are reportedly analogous to marijuana but include additional dangers to users such as panic attacks, heart palpitations, hallucinations, delusions, vomiting, increased agitation, dilated pupils, and other symptoms.
A new kind of methamphetamine that has a strawberry flavor and bright pink coloring was seized for the first time in Carson City, Nevada during a search of an apartment on January 27, 2007. Flavored methamphetamine is the newest metamorphosis of the dangerous street drug. It appears that the flavor and color were added to the meth during the cooking process, instead of afterward, which would mean the drug does not have any less potency than its common counterpart. The colored and flavored methamphetamine, known as “Strawberry Quick” in the Sacramento, California area and now in Carson City, is popular among new users who snort it because the flavoring can cut down on the taste.
2009 Meth Seizure Trends
* 1,008 Meth Seizures thru September 2009
* 542 Meth Seizures thru September 2008
* 86% Increase over the Same Period in 2008.
* Seizure Total Could Reach 1,344 for all of 2009
* Reasons for Increase
* One Pot Manufacturing
This book is a compilation of various gang intelligence information from various sources including detective and police officer files, primarily confiscated from arrested and/or incarcerated individual gang notes and drawings. Additional material was obtained from other law enforcement agencies’ publications and presentations used for internal officer training, as well as from various other gang publications and internet sources. Six major New York City gangs are presented in this book: the Bloods, the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, the Netas, the Crips, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and the Mexican Gangs. Sections within this book include the origin and history of the gang, its structure, rules and regulations, oaths and pledges, symbols and emblems, coded language and hand signals, clothing, tattoos and graffiti. It is our hope that an officer’s knowledge of gang characteristics will assist in combating gang-motivated crimes and reduce the propensity for violence towards the law enforcement community and innocent citizens.
Gulf Coast High Impact Drug Trafficking Area Law Enforcement Sensitive Guide to Identifying Mexican Gang Tattoos.
*The growing number of SPSS vessels indicates that their stealthy characteristics and ability to carry many tons ofcocaine have helped them develop into what now seems to be a major component of the narcotics logistics chain•
* Colombian Navy believes that during the past two to three years, cocaine smuggling SPSS vessels have been arranged mostly by the drug trafficking factions of the FARC, probably in association with organized crime groups also involved in drug trafficking •
**Profit margin:–1 Kg of cocaine is sold in the US for ~$20 to $25,000 USD ($30 to $35,000 USD in Europe)
–7000 Kg of cocaine can be carried in a SPSS –Money earned: 7000 x 25,000 = $175 million USD
–Captain gets paid $20 to $25,000 USD per trip, other crew gets $5 to $6,000 USD per trip; Total crew cost ~$40,000 USD
–$1 to $2 million invested to build and run a SPSS is ~2 to 3% of the whole profit made
On September 22, 2009, National Defense University’s Strategic Policy Forum (SPF) conducted its twenty-eighth Congressional exercise, Deadly Venture, which explored the linkages and threats posed by the nexus between illicit narcotics trafficking and terrorism and the rising power and influence of Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs). The exercise scenario focused on the Latin America region and the U.S. – Mexico border.