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(Mexico City) Reports from the Meeting of Public Security Ministers of the Americas this week indicate that the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, led by el Cachetes (aka Daniel Perez Rojas), and the Sinaloa cartel, led by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, have been aggressively expanding into Guatemala, Costa Rica and Argentina.

UN Secretary General for Drugs and Crime, Antonio Acosta, said that Latin American countries "are caught in the crossfire of drugs and firearms."

Guatemalan Secretary of Government Francisco Jimenez said that his country is "hamburger meat" to organized crime and narcotraffickers. The criminals just kill at will since Guatemala lacks the resources to stop them.

Costa Rican Secretary of the Interior Janna del Vecho reported that Mexican drug traffickers, in particular the Sinaloa cartel, have been shipping drugs across the border with Nicaragua and using Costa Rica as a transshipment point. Sinaloa traffickers fly Cessnas packed with cash to trade for drugs stashed in the country by Colombian cartels. Drugs go north, cash goes south.

In Argentina, the Internal Security Secretary, Hector Masquelet, said a recent bust of an illegal ephedrine laboratory with links to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel indicates that his country is now being used for production of narcotics. Previously, only drug transit and consumption were known to occur in Argentina. Masquelet, however, ruled out a "large presence" of drug cartels. Hopefully, Masquelet is not speaking too soon.

According to Sergio Jaramillo, Colombia's Defense Department Vice-Minister, there is concern that FARC drug suppliers (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are strengthening ties with the Mexican cartels. "The strengthening between the Mexican cartels and FARC is particularly worrisome. The Mexican cartels are buying a lot of drug from the FARC and are exporting to Mexico, North America and also Europe."

Reportedly, about 1,000 tons of cocaine are produced yearly in South America, worth about $60 billion. Half is consumed in the U.S.

Drug-Related Murders
Reported in the week ending 10/10/08:
(Choix, Sinaloa, Mexico) The Choix's chief of police was forcibly abducted Monday by unknown gunmen. His body was found Wednesday in a canal, having been shot repeatedly in the head.

(Jerecuaro, Guanajuato, Mexico) Yesterday morning, Jerecuaro's chief of police and his wife were murdered by unknown gunmen in car-to-car gunfire as they left their home.

(Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico) On Wednesday night, five state police officers were killed during an attack by unknown gunmen with assault rifles and grenades. "Apparently the troopers were about to check the occupants of a vehicle at a gas station when hit men believed to be "Zetas" attacked them from other vehicles. Approximately 850 shell casings have been located at the scene. Nine grenades exploded."

(Juarez, Mexico) Last night, a car with unknown gunmen chased two Juarez police officers for several miles until the police unit crashed. The gunmen then murdered the officers in their patrol car.

(Chihuahua, Mexico) Reported Wednesday: "Chihuahua recorded seven dead in the last hours." Two of them were killed this morning as they left a restaurant; two others showed up "wrapped" in "an exclusive neighborhood"; another died in a confrontation with police and two men who were carried off by an armed group turned up dead on a highway side road, shot in the head and with signs of torture.

(Colombia) "Eight Colombian military on an anti-insurgent patrol in southern Colombia died when they entered a field which had been rigged with antipersonnel land mines."​
As a sample of the violence south of the border, I frankly suspect that the examples don't adequately convey the level of lawlessness. Grasp this fact, in 2008 thus far, 3,000 people have been assassinated in Mexico.
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