Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

The Connection between American Prisons and Mexican Drug Violence

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It gives “vicious cycle” new significance, bringing it back from the brink of meaningless cliche: Not only does the War on Drugs fuel a black market in narcotics that drives unimaginable violence and mayhem in Mexico, but the War on Drugs has also fueled the growth of American prisons, which, in turn… well, here’s a Washington Post article from the other day:

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO — A cross-border drug gang born in the prison cells of Texas has evolved into a sophisticated paramilitary killing machine that U.S. and Mexican officials suspect is responsible for thousands of assassinations here, including the recent ambush and slaying of three people linked to the U.S. consulate.

The heavily tattooed Barrio Azteca gang members have long operated across the border in El Paso, dealing drugs and stealing cars. But in Ciudad Juarez, the organization now specializes in contract killing for the Juarez drug cartel. According to U.S. law enforcement officers, it may have been involved in as many as half of the 2,660 killings in the city in the past year. …

Mexican officials say that [recently arrested Ricardos] Valles [de la Rosa], 45, was born in Juarez but grew up in El Paso, where he lived for 30 years. Nicknamed “Chino,” he was a member of the Los Fatherless street gang in El Paso. In 1995, he was convicted of distributing drugs and spent 12 years in eight U.S. federal prisons, where he met an Azteca gang leader. After his release, he was deported to Mexico and began working with the Aztecas in Juarez.

Written by sara

April 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm

One Response

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  1. […] crime in Mexico, and it fills prisons in the United States. Sometimes, as here (and and see also this earlier post of mine), it does both of those things at once. Here we have another example of how the War on Drugs […]


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