"Mexican drug cartels are strengthening alliances with gangs in the United States beyond ethnic, ideological and geographic boundaries, warns a new report from the federal National Gang Intelligence Center.
The gang-cartel link is most prominently seen in El Paso between the Barrio Azteca gang and the Juárez drug cartel, but similar alliances are emerging in various parts of the country, according to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment.
El Paso police report a drop in gang membership and criminal gang activity, but nationally, gangs are expanding, evolving and becoming more sophisticated, the National Gang Threat Assessment reported.
'Federal, state and local law enforcement officials are observing a growing nexus between the Mexican drug cartels, illegal alien smuggling rings and U.S.-based gangs,' the study stated.
The recently released report stated that different cartels are aligned with various gangs, including gangs that work with more than one cartel, depending on the situation.
Local law enforcement officers said most street gangs in El Paso don't deal directly with Mexican cartels, but the alliance between the Barrio Azteca gang and the Juárez drug cartel is well documented.
The Barrio Azteca was formed in the mid-1980s by El Pasoans in state prison and has since grown into one of the most active regional crime networks, having branches in Juárez and Midland-Odessa." Read more …