"Mexico's transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) have for years been identified as the greatest organized crime threat to the United States given their strong links to drug trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes. These organizations also generate extreme violence within Mexico, where they exercise territorial influence in large swaths of the country near illicit drug production hubs and trafficking routes and particularly where the TCOs clash to assert or maintain dominance. Between 2008 and 2016, Mexico's homicide rate increased from 8 per 100,000 residents to 16.2 per 100,000. [...] In 2017, homicides have continued to spiral upward. Preliminary statistics for January through September show an increase of 20% to 30% over 2016. If this trend continues, Mexico will end the year with a homicide rate above 18 per 100,000, which would make 2017 its most violent year on record. A number of factors may be driving this spike in violence, including continuing fragmentation of the Sinaloa Cartel, competition to meet the burgeoning U.S. heroin demand, and ineffective law enforcement efforts against TCOs, such as the removal of key crime kingpins. [...] As drug-related crime began to climb in 2007, and drug gangs battled Mexican security forces and one another with increasing brutality, some strategies adopted by the Mexican government have not proven effective at least on a sustainable basis. [...] Some analysts are concerned that successful bilateral security cooperation, including extradition of criminals wanted on charges in the United States, may diminish due to tensions rising in other aspects of U.S.-Mexican relations."
CRS Insight, IN10812
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html