Here is an excerpt from a press release issued yesterday by the El Cajon Police Department:
"Our officers had noticed increased narcotics trafficking and violent crime in certain neighborhoods of El Cajon. These crimes have been attributed primarily to Iraqi organized crime elements, and as this investigation has discovered, the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexico- based drug trafficking organization (DTO) which supplies them... The targets of this investigation are members of an Iraqi DTO which has suspected affiliation with the Chaldean Organized Crime Syndicate. This syndicate began in the early 80’s in Detroit, Michigan. Crimes associated with the syndicate include murder, arson, weapons and narcotics trafficking, money laundering, fraud, theft, counterfeiting, racketeering, alien smuggling, assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery. Chaldean organized crime has historical ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Mexican Mafia... During the course of 'Operation Shadowbox,' from January 2011 to present, DEA/MET and El Cajon Police have purchased large amounts of narcotics, pharmaceuticals, firearms, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from [Iraqi] subjects at 811 E. Main... In April 2011, a DEA undercover operative was shown a hand grenade at 811 East Main and was told additional grenades were available, being obtained from a Mexican military source of supply... As the investigation continues, additional members of the Iraqi DTO are expected to be identified and arrested." Link to Full Press Release
Analysis: First I want to give you a little bit of background about these Iraqis. Chaldeans are Iraqi Christians who were persecuted after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and thus sought asylum here in the US. A large percentage of them have come, and continue to come, through the port of San Ysidro to join the vast community of Iraqi Chaldeans in San Diego County. These Iraqis are heavily scrutinized when they declare themselves because Iraq is considered a "special interest country" by DHS; i.e. a country with ties to terrorism. Therefore, Iraqis attempting to enter the US are considered "special interest aliens," or SIAs.
I really need to emphasize here that there is no evidence that operational terrorists from Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East have entered the US in this manner. Of course, it's a huge concern for DHS that a member of Hizballah or al-Qa'ida might try to infiltrate a group of emigrating Chaldeans and sneak in with fraudulent documents. I'm not saying that this has never happened; however, if it has, no one in our government knows about it. Besides, the Chaldean community is pretty tight-knit, as are the groups of them that travel halfway across the world to Mexico in order to cross the border from Tijuana. They would be wary of an outsider trying to join their group. Again, while this scenario is always a possibility, it's less likely than you might think.
Moving onto the more interesting issue...the association between Chaldean TCOs and the Sinaloa Federation. I saw this and was immediately concerned that some media outlets would start screaming about the association between Mexican TCOs and terrorists. Trust me, that is NOT what is going on here. In fact, it's no different than all the other drug trafficking arrangements Mexican TCOs have with gangs and other criminal groups here in the US.
The association between the Chaldeans and the Federation makes a lot of business sense. Given the criminal activities the Chaldeans are allegedly involved in, according to the press release, they definitely need a big drug supplier. Who better to fit that bill than the Federation? What's even more interesting is that it's the Federation doing the supplying and not the AFO/FSO. Based on some government and on-the-ground sources, I was under the impression that the AFO/FSO still had control over the Tijuana plaza, but under an arrangement with the Federation (which has control of the Mexico border along California east to Mexicali). With these Chaldeans being right across from purportedly AFO/FSO territory, you'd think that's who they'd be dealing with. It's likely the Chaldeans have had this trafficking arrangement with the TCOs for many years, and with all the chaos in northern Baja California in the past five years, it's tough to say how that's affected supply lines to this group.
Back to the main point, this is NOT representative of an alliance between Middle Eastern terrorists and Mexican TCOs. This particular Chaldean organized crime group is involved in a lot of nasty things, but they're all typical for organized crime. The main role the TCOs are playing here is that of illegal drug supplier, and possibily military arms supplier. Nothing more profound - at least not at this point - should be drawn from this investigation.