Levels of violence in Mexico is reaching new highs and, ironically, reductions in illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S. may be one key reason why, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Mexican government says May was the most violent month in that country in twenty years. There were 2,052 murders in Mexico last month, or about one every twenty minutes. And many of not most of them are the doing of the Mexican drug cartels.But there is a new twist to this violence.
Jason Jones, a retired Texas DPS captain who headed the DPS intelligence and counter terrorism division for years, says in recent decades, as marijuana has been legalized in parts of the U.S. and cocaine use has dropped, the cartels have been forced to diversify. And one of the areas they diversified into, at the height of last decade's illegal immigration boom, was in smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S.
But those numbers are down, and that is costing the cartels big time.
"Cartels are losing literally fifty plus million dollars a month since last December in money they used to collect smuggling people into the U.S." Jones said.
For several reasons, ranging from demographic and economic in Mexico, to new border security in the U.S., illegal immigrant trafficking from Mexico is down 70% since last December.
Jones says that loss of revenue has forced the cartels to push their drug exporting operations, and try to move into other gangs' 'territory' to make up the money they are losing in immigrant smuggling.
He says one thing the drug cartel bosses absolutely don't care about is the loss of human life
."When you talk to the cartel leaders, and I have had many of them who have sat right across from me, they look at people as a commodity, just like drugs or the smuggling of weapons south."
Several other factors have also been blamed for a return to ultra violence in Mexico.
The arrest of prominent cartel leaders like El Chapo has resulted in the growth of new cartels, headed by younger bosses who have a tendency to be more violent.
Also, the Pena Nieto Administration has been relatively ineffective in its fight against the cartels say, preferring to force them out of major cities and into rural areas rather than attempt to squash them altogether, as has been the goal of previous Mexican governments.