Mexican drug cartels might target U.S. businesses

The Miami HeraldOctober 1, 2009 

American interests could become targets of Mexico's drug cartels as Washington deepens its involvement in the war against drugs south of the border, according to a leading global intelligence and security corporation.

In a report by Miami-based Kroll Associates issued by one of its executives at the Americas Conference in Coral Gables, the company cautions that "the more the U.S. government gets involved... it is not unlikely that U.S. companies may be faced with extortion, that local managers are kidnapped for ransom, and that truck high-jacking increases."

Under former President George W. Bush, Congress passed a law to provide $1.4 billion worth of equipment, training and intelligence in the span of three years to help Mexico fight drug cartels.

On Wednesday, Dan Restrepo, special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, pointed out that the current administration is committed to continue cooperating with Mexico. He said Washington has increased resources for drug programs and beefed up security along the southwest border to try to constrain the rampant smuggling of assault weapons heading into Mexico.

It is believed that 90 percent of smuggled weapons go to Mexico's four national drug cartels — Sinaloa, Gulf, Tijuana and Juarez. As a result, these are better armed and more technologically advanced than the law enforcement agencies, said David Robillard, head of Kroll operations in Mexico.

Drug violence is also spilling across the border, with numerous cases of kidnappings for ransom and extortion reported in U.S. border states.

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