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I am a consultant and analyst with eight years of military law enforcement experience, six years of analytical experience covering Latin America, and over seven years of analytical experience covering Mexican TCOs and border violence issues. This blog is designed to inform readers about current border violence issues and provide analysis on those issues, as well as detailed focus on specific border topics. By applying my knowledge and experience through this blog, I hope to separate the wheat from the chaff...that is, dispel rumors propagated by sensationalist media reporting, explain in layman's terms what is going on with Mexican TCOs, and most importantly, WHY violence is happening along the US-Mexico border.

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With over a dozen years of combined experience in military law enforcement, force protection analysis, and writing a variety of professional products for the US Air Force, state government in California, and the general public, Ms. Longmire has the expertise to create a superior product for you or your agency to further your understanding of Mexico’s drug war. Longmire Consulting is dedicated to being on the cusp of the latest developments in Mexico in order to bring you the best possible analysis of threats posed by the drug violence south of the border.

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November 02, 2011

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Yes this time a U.S. law man was shot, how long be for a citizen gets caught in the cross fire. You mention the rolling gunfight on the McAllen highway, pure luck no innocent bystanders got caught in the cross fire.

I know how stories about the border can easily get blown out of proportion making the severity of the problem hard to judge. I liked this Border land Beat story http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2011/10/editorial-texas-as-combat-zone-in-narco.html?spref=fb

I always enjoy taking friends who have never been their to the border, it's never like they expect it to be. I try to explain it's not exactly a war zone but it's a great place to practice "situational Awareness"

"Why isn't this story getting more national attention?"
Because this sheriff is obviously confused. The DHS Sec has clearly stated that there is no spillover. End of story.

I have friend who worked on the fence from San Luis to Mexicali. He said that they were shot at more than a few times. One section, they had to have the National Guard watching over them. Amazing how much of the crime in the US is directly involved in what is going on in Mexico, and nothing is ever done about it on a grand scale.

There are constant incidences of spillover violence. The kidnappings in El Paso where they end up dead in Juarez MX. These are not isolated incidents. They are just a growing pattern that will continue unless DHS steps up.

Maybe if Lindsey Lohen or Kim Kardashian toured la frontera, you know the wedding or court appearances, then maybe it'll get the coverage.
Seriously, it's sad to see the streets of Laredo in "Bordertown: Laredo" the way they are now. As a kid when my dad would take us to see my grandfather, it was home away from home. It will be up to us; our vote is our voice. Si se puede!

Sylvia,

First, let me commend you on the publishing of your book Cartel--that is quite a coup:) I am a big fan of your blog and usually find your analysis timely and cogent.

However, I have to question your view expressed in the current post that, "the TCOs are getting squeezed tighter and tighter by authorities on both sides of the border. However, they still need to keep the drug profits coming in. That means taking on more risk, i.e. engaging with US law enforcement and engaging in violent behavior in public on US soil."

While this seems to be the general thrust of your book and current analysis, I think it is at best a stretch, and more likely divorced from reality. You seem to suggest that the violence and pressure on the TCOs will somehow lead them to venture into US markets and create violence here in the US. I think this is a fundamental misreading of how illicit markets work. Peter Reuter http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/faculty/reuter, an economist at the University of Maryland and RAND, has done research that shows that rather than simply expanding markets, criminal entrepreneurs will seek out other sources of revenue by diversifying their enterprises. This is exactly what is happening in Mexico with cartels moving into prostitution, extortion, and petroleum smuggling http://laht.com/article.asp?CategoryId=14091&ArticleId=372998. Moreover, you seem to suggest that the Drug War is here, using the rather alarming language, that the violence on the border is a huge national security issues. I agree with you http://borderviolenceanalysis.typepad.com/mexicos_drug_war/2011/03/why-crime-statistics-alone-are-a-bad-benchmark-for-border-security.html that crime statistics (UCR) are not always the best signal of violence (due to systematic under-reporting). However, neither are the anecdotes that you cite in your article above. While most researchers agree that their are transnational elements to the TCOs and some transnational violence associated with them, the vast majority of the violence perpetrated and its roots are DOMESTIC to Mexico's political situation (see Harvard researcher Viridiana Rios http://www.gov.harvard.edu/people/viridiana-rios-contreras).

Finally, I completely disagree with you that the the "cynical" read on the incidents along the border "are very bad PR for DHS" and the implication that DHS is trying to keep this under wraps. I think the the cynical read is that DHS would do everything in its power to publicize the problems on the border ('ring the alarm') to increase its budget and organizational importance. This actually strengthens the opposite conclusion of your analysis: the lack of reporting on spillover violence along the border is not due to some vast DHS PR campaign, but the fact that there NOT any spillover. To suggest otherwise is misleading.

@Thomas - How do you explain this? http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Zeta-soldiers-launched-Mexico-style-attack-in-2283370.php Or this? http://www.chron.com/news/article/Texas-sheriff-Drug-war-violence-spilling-over-2244504.php

@Sylvia

Thanks for commenting on my post! First, I admit I tend to be inherently skeptical of arguments that make U.S. based organized crime out to be all-powerful or threatening given the long history and political incentives by law enforcement agencies and politicians to heighten the perception of threat of criminal groups for political gains (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estes_Kefauver#Kefauver_Committee and the work of criminologist Alan Block.

I would also like to somewhat soften my stance:) I agree with you that these incidents indicate that there is violence along the border. However, the question is not whether there is violence along the border, but whether there is a significant amount of spillover that would suggest "a coming invasion" as you put it.
I think the following relevant quote from the Sheriff in Hidalgo County brings things into perspective. "'I have to say that with this particular incident, the way the witnesses and the information that we have gotten particularly in the federal system, this is the first recorded spillover violence event that we have experienced.'" Mexico has been rocked by violence for over 5 years, and yet this is the first incident seen in Hidalgo County. This is compelling evidence that systematic, large-scale spillover is not happening. The consensus among most researchers is that the vast amounts of violence south of the border have not spilled over the border due to the different incentives faced by TCOs south of the border to those operating north of the border http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2011/11/mexico-drug-war.html. Given these differential incentives and the fact that there has been relatively little violence in the past five years points to the fact that the coming of invasion of the cartels is likely not to come.

@Thomas - First, I use the term "invasion" to mean more like a virus than a War of the Worlds scenario. The cartel presence here is insidious because it's below almost everyone's radar. They have homes here, and pour millions of narco dollars into the US economy. I don't see things as a plateau or getting better any time soon, which leads us to the frog-in-the-pot-of-water scenario. We're increasing the heat on cartels here, but the incidents are still played off like one shootout here, one confrontation here...no big deal. Until the water is boiling, and then what? How many incidents like these have to happen before our government starts believing there might be a problem? An invasion doesn't have to be a bum rush all at once. We can prevent it, but our government doesn't place any importance at all on these types of incidents, and can't even point to a formal definition of spillover violence - because there isn't one. In your scenario - that the invasion isn't coming - then you see a brighter future where the violence will diminish and the drug war will wind down. How do you see that happening?

I'm a little late to the convo, sorry.

I would venture a guess that there is far more spillover violence that was has been reported. You cannot in any setting have that much violence across one line and it not cross that particular line, it is simple law of physics, you squeeze and squeeze and eventually something is going to burst, in this case it's border violence.

For anybody to say that there is no spillover violence is illogical and on the border of stupidity. I think people not in law enforcement would like to believe that there is no spillover violence just as they would like to believe that there is no need for more border agents nor is there a need to worry about 90% of all drug smugglers are successful in attempts to get the drugs across the border. Facts prove all of those things are true and I have hard time believing that some reporter at the New York Times has the faint idea of what goes on on a daily basis along the border with Mexico.

If a person looks at all of the drugs along our border it would ignorant in one's thinking to suggest that there is no violence in relation to those drugs. Even non-border related drug issues lead to violence, I, myself have been in involved in several violent drug related fights involving meth, so I have a hard time believing that with the amounts of drugs being brought across the border and a long the border that there is no violence related to it and I, also have a hard time believing that violence in relation to those drugs wouldn't spill over.

I think to most civilians our borders aren't bad and they view that everybody that is coming across the border is looking for a better life for their families and that we need to feel sorry for them, but the reality is our borders aren't near the soft and fuzzy that the news reports. People die daily by violence because of the cartels and that includes spillover.

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