This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Barrio Azteca borderland gang

Five leaders of the Barrio Azteca gang were arrested on 10 January in a sting operation organized on intelligence gathered from a four-year long operation to unravel prison gangs on the US-Mexico border. The Barrio Azteca gang started in the southwest Texas prison system and quickly spread to the streets of El Paso and the prison system in Ciudad Juarez, across the border. Linked to the Carrillo-Fuentes drug trafficking organization, also known as the Juarez Cartel, this gang is exemplary of how powerful organized criminal groups in Mexico outsource their security and dirty work to local gangs.

But the Barrio Azteca is not exactly small time. It was founded in 1986 within the US prison system and quickly spread to the Segundo Barrio neighborhood of El Paso, where it boosted membership among the Mexican immigrant community there before moving into the prison system in Ciudad Juarez, where it may have up to 2,000 members by now.

After making a link with the Carrillo-Fuentes DTO, based in Ciudad Juarez, the Barrio Azteca gang negotiated a deal to receive drugs at a discounted rate and the right to charge a fee to any retail-level dealer working on their turf in exchange for providing security services for the Mexican DTO as well as helping with north-south movement of drugs, people, guns, etc as the DTO needed.

Through the Carrillo-Fuentes DTO, the Barrio Azteca gang is loosely connected with the Sinaloa Federation, a grouping of a number of powerful drug trafficking organizations, making its role in El Paso all the more important. Much of the black tar heroin coming out of Mexico is smuggled through El Paso and on to Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, and Chicago.

Considering Barrio Azteca’s ties with the Sinaloa Federation in El Paso, it is not a jump to consider how other street gangs in other border towns, such as San Diego, or Laredo, have become options for outsourcing security and local-level drug dealing as well as intelligence gathering. The Mara Salvatrucha in Texas and the L-Street gang in Los Angeles come to mind.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Arizona, any illegal immigrants caught in the ArizonaMexico will be subjected to due process and could receive up to 180 days in prison for their efforts before being deported. The minimum is fifteen days. This program, called “Streamline” by the Border Patrol, seems to already be headed toward the realm of unintended consequences. desert on the border with

Already underway in the Yuma region of Arizona and the Del Rio region of Texas, this program feeds illegal immigrants into the local prison populations may serve best to offer gangs like the Barrio Aztecas a buffet of menu options for new recruits. In Arizona alone, this program and others placed 378,000 illegal immigrants in prison between 30 September 2006 and 30 September 2007. After 180 days, converted deportees will likely cross the border again, this time not to find a low wage job, but as mules for crossing drugs into the United States.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, it looks like the U.S. crackdown on immigration is going to give us exactly what they claim we already have: crime. It is unfortunate that many people (especially the politicians) can not see the day to day work that immigrants do to keep this country running, Work that no one else would do in a million years even if they quadrupled the pay.

Anonymous said...

And also sadly is the fact that for this gang to have gone on as long as it has from inception in the U.S. Prison System to these busts indicates that this has nothing to do with "cracking down" on poor illegal immigrants.

As far as them doing work no one else wants to do, I've done most of them. I've harvested potatoes, fruit, hay, etc. I've worked in a tire recapping plant. I now choose not to do them because I have a better job.

If you and your people want to work as slaves for the rest of your lives, go right ahead. Illegals are being taken advantage of daily. And to make the wrong headed kind of argument for not cracking down on illegals that you have really shows your total disregard for your own people.

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Anonymous said...

We are going to lose our American culture and values very soon. I understand that some immigrants do the jobs that no one wants to do, but I would rather we use prison labor to work the fields than immigrants, besides if prisoners are picking lettuce or whatever in the hot sun, that alone would be a big deterrence for repeat offenders. Most...not all of these immigrants need to go back to their homeland.

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