Mexican Drug Cartels and Terrorist Organizations, a New Alliance   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the thesis abstract: "United States (U.S.) policymakers claim that a terror-cartel link exists and poses an immediate threat to U.S. national security. The 2011 Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) states 'While the crime-terror nexus is still mostly opportunistic, this nexus is critical nonetheless, especially if it were to involve the successful criminal transfer of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material to terrorists or their penetration of human smuggling networks as a means for terrorists to enter the United States.' While both groups independently represent significant threats to U.S. national security, there is not enough evidence to support the claim that the two groups have established an alliance and are working in collaboration against U.S. interests. Rather they both operate in important illicit markets, albeit most likely at arms-length. Mexican cartels exacerbate already demanding law enforcement challenges along the southern U.S. and Mexico border with large scale drug trafficking, gun smuggling, human trafficking and smuggling, illegal immigration, and the violence associated with these activities in pursuit of profits. Terrorist organizations on the other hand seek to destabilize the U.S. and its allies through the use of violence and fear. They threaten the principles, values, and security of Americans and our allies both on the home front and abroad. With such a disparity between the two groups' objectives, the thought of an alliance between the two is highly unlikely and as the 2011 Strategy stated, opportunistic at best."

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