It is no secret that drug-related violence originating from feuds between drug trafficking oganizations (DTOs) in Mexico has been spilling over to the U.S., especially in cities where more than one cartel wants to impose their rules on the market.
The extent of the spillover violence, however, is hotly debated: the U.S. remains a consumer country, and violence levels here are nowhere near those in producer and transit countries like Colombia and Mexico. Citing U.S. State Department figures, MSNBC reports that 106 U.S. citizens were murdered in relation to DTO activity in 2010, almost triple the numbers registered in 2007. Other U.S. officials have asserted, citing information from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that Mexican groups are now present in 230 cities, helpfully illustrated by this map from El Universal.
Critics counter that border cities like El Paso, San Diego, Brownsville and McAllen have consistently registered low levels of violence. Meanwhile, the U.S. justice system works far more efficiently than Mexico’s and may discourage Mexican gang members from drawing too much attention to themselves with mass killings on U.S. territory. Drugs may continue to penetrate U.S. terrority, accompanied by druglords looking out for their interests, but it is unlikely that violence will increase in proportion.