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The New Mafia': Human Trafficking Along U.S./Mexican Border Produces 'Startling Pattern of Torture, Rape and Murder'

"What we’re talking about is nightmares, the stuff of nightmares.”

Brutal crimes crossing over the U.S. southern border from Mexico is the latest dangerous import threatening America's cities. Growing cases of human trafficking, drug smuggling and violent acts are overwhelming law enforcement officials from Texas to California in scenes reminiscent of the days of organized crime waves orchestrated by professional criminal syndicates.

Is there a "new mafia" in America today?

The Daily:

A brutal new crime wave from Mexico is hitting America’s suburbs. Drug cartels and their heavily armed henchmen are moving into the house next door, torturing and imprisoning victims for profit in middle-class neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies from Texas to Northern California report being overwhelmed by the surge of violence.

“Mexican drug cartels are in well over 200 cities here in the United States,” Gil Kerlikowske, the White House drug czar, told The Daily. When his boss, President Obama, meets with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico today in Washington, violence from the drug war will be at the top of the agenda.

One of the most disturbing and least discussed aspects of this new crime wave is the “drop houses” — rented homes that function as makeshift prisons where criminal gangs and human smugglers hold large numbers of victims for ransom. The phenomenon is centered in the Southwest, often in foreclosure-devastated suburbs, but is spreading across America.

“What we’re talking about is nightmares, the stuff of nightmares,” said Los Angeles-based special agent Jorge Guzman of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  ”[It’s] playing out in suburban America — playing out all over America.”

Hundreds of police reports and thousands of crime scene photographs obtained by The Daily expose a startling pattern of torture, rape and murder.

Read the rest of Part One here.

The Daily:

To judge by the tone of the White House news conference President Obama held with Mexico’s leader Felipe Calderon, better days are ahead in the war against cross-border violence.

“We are very mindful that the battle President Calderon is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle, it’s also ours,” Obama said. “I have nothing but admiration for President Calderon in his willingness to take this on.”

But missing from the discussion were many of the thorny new realities of the Mexican drug cartels’ expanding influence in the United States, including places like Vekol Valley.

Law enforcement sources describe the nearly 1,000-square-mile swath of desert along Interstate 8 between Arizona and California as one of the most dangerous places in America. It has been effectively ceded to Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers, they say.

Read the rest of Part Two here.

One last thing…
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