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22 March 2009

CONTACT: Tim Bueler
(310) 855-3460


Mexican drug cartels are now as heavily armed as AmericaÂ’s enemies during the Iraq war and are extending their bloody conflict into the United States, say security experts.

Law enforcement agencies in American cities close to the border with Mexico — including San Diego in California, and El Paso in Texas — are “gearing up” for street confrontations with the drug gangs, which are armed with rockets and grenades and have brought death and chaos south of the border.

The confidence of the cartel chiefs has increased so much that they are moving to affluent neighbourhoods in America to kidnap Mexican businessmen and smuggle them across the border to be ransomed, a private security consultant told The Daily Telegraph.

Van Bethea, the operations director for the Steele Foundation, an American private security company that has protected foreign businessmen in Mexico as well as Iraq, said the two countries were now comparable in terms of the potential danger.

“Quite frankly, in Mexico you can’t be armed enough,” said Mr Bethea. “The dynamic of this combat is approaching the early days of the Iraq war. The cartels’ men are well trained, disciplined and are armed with the latest weaponry, including armour-piercing bullets, rocket-launchers and grenades.”

His claims were backed by Congressmen in Washington, who have said money and guns smuggled from the US were fuelling violence that was now creeping over the border.

In Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border city of 1.5 million people, five deaths a day in January and February were attributed to drug violence.

But the recent arrival of more than 10,000 troops and federal agents has succeeded in quelling much of the violence. Soldiers have disarmed and replaced a local police force, many of whose members were believed to have been working for the cartels.

But despite the success in Ciudad Juarez, officials estimate that the Mexican cartels are already established in 230 American cities. The gangs have been blamed for killings as far afield as Anchorate, Alaska, and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as 366 kidnappings in Phoenix, Arizona, last year alone.

Mr Bethea said many Western businesses, including British companies, had invested heavily in the Mexican factories and were unable to give up doing business in the country easily.

The cartelsÂ’ ability to smuggle both guns and kidnap victims into Mexico has been facilitated by lax US border controls, although the Americans are starting to tighten up.

Janet Napolitano, the US homeland security secretary, has admitted that “carloads of cash and mega-weapons” were being transported out of America and into Mexico to fuel the fighting.

President Barack Obama will discuss the Mexican drug violence when he meets Felipe Calderón, the countryÂ’s president, in Mexico next month. (

Jim Gilchrist founded the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project on Oct. 1, 2004, after years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws.

Jim holds a B.A. in newspaper journalism, a B.S. in business administration, and an M.B.A. in taxation. He is a former newspaper reporter and a retired California CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and recipient of the Purple Heart award for wounds sustained while serving with an infantry unit in Vietnam, 1968 - 1969.

Mr. Gilchrist is a passionate defender of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and an avid supporter of law enforcement organizations. He has appeared on over 1000 radio and TV news and commentary shows in the past twelve months, and he believes he is only one of millions of 21st century minutemen / women / children who want the U.S. to remain governed by the "rule of law" and who want proactive enforcement of our national security protections and our immigration legal code.

Jim has lived in California since 1976 and currently resides in Aliso Viejo with his wife, Sandy.

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