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'More will die': Mexico drug wars claim U.S. lives

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The Mexican drug cartel issue is not a marginalized thing in the US, most drugs in the US come from South American drug cartels and now it’s not only the drug issue but crimes as well. More and more Americans are getting in the middle of gang conflicts, David Hartley’s case is only one example of how an innocent man can get killed just because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, as MSNBC reports:

” While U.S. officials have long been concerned about the mindless violence bred by Mexico’s bloody and brutal drug wars, they have a new reason to worry: Americans are increasingly getting caught in the deadly crossfire.

Some who have died were themselves working for the drug cartels. But more and more often, experts say, the casualties are U.S. law enforcement officers and innocent victims who died simply because they ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“These cartels will stop at nothing,” said Tiffany Hartley, who became an anti-cartel crusader after her husband, David, apparently was gunned down on Sept. 30 by Mexican drug gang members on Falcon Lake, a dammed section of the Rio Grande straddling the Texas-Mexico border. “The violence is not going to stop and more will die at the unforgiving hands of cartels.”

No one can say for certain how many Americans have been killed in the escalating Mexican drug violence in the past several years, but the closest thing to an official list — the U.S. State Department’s database of deaths of U.S. citizens abroad by non-natural causes — indicates that the number has been steadily increasing.

At least 106 U.S. residents were victims of “executions” or “homicides” directly related to drug battles in Mexico in 2010, compared to 79 in 2009 and 35 in 2007, according to the State Department figures.

Many deaths, disappearances aren’t tallied
And experts — and the State Department itself — say the number is certainly much higher. For example, the State Department doesn’t list several recent high-profile deaths that have been publicly linked to the drug cartels or cases in which Americans have vanished or been killed in the U.S. by Mexican drug gangs.

“You have a lot of folks who are dual citizens, with some born in the U.S. but (who) live on the Mexico side,” Scott Stewart, a vice president with the global intelligence firm STRATFOR, said of the difficulty in documenting American deaths connected to cartel violence. “A lot of them are working back and forth and some are working as gunmen too. And when someone like that dies, it is hard to know. Some simply disappear while others are lying in a vat of lye or dumped into a mass grave.”

STRATFOR also says the presence of cartels has been documented in more than 230 U.S. cities.

The number of American deaths pales in comparison to the Mexican death toll from the violence: 15,273 in 2010 alone, according to the Mexican government.

But some U.S. law enforcement officials closest to the border say that new aggressiveness by the cartels — including threats to target U.S. law enforcement officers — and increasing drug gang violence on the U.S. side of the border mean that more Americans will die if the U.S. and Mexico can’t soon turn the tide.

“How many more have to die for the U.S. to take action?” said Zapata County (Texas) Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, whose police department investigated the Hartley case. “I’m not saying let’s invade Mexico but the truth is Mexico does not own its border. The cartels do.” ”


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