According to the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) continue to be the greatest criminal drug enterprise threat to the United States.
These drug organizations smuggle and distribute heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine all throughout the United States. They operate as sellers and partner with thousands of local gangs and rely on them to keep the market thriving.
Aware of the DEA’s encroachment, the TCOs are repositioning themselves in strategic locations. Suppliers are now hiding in Dallas, San Francisco, western Colorado, eastern Washington State, and sparsely populated parts of North Carolina. Law enforcement reports also show that trafficking establishments are also targeting suburban or rural areas.
The aforementioned report also states that the majority of the drugs get transferred over the Southwest Border using passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers. Usually the drugs are transported in hidden compartments and/or comingled with legitimate goods. The drugs are then brought to the stash houses (now located in Dallas, San Francisco, etc.). Another way of transporting the drugs is via subterranean tunnels, cargo trains, and small boats. In the past, Mexican TCOs have also opted to fly drugs across the border.
Currently the DEA is aware of nine major TCOs that hail from Mexico:
- Sinaloa Cartel – known as the most active supplier
- Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT)
- Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo or CDG)
- Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO)
- New Generation Jalisco Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG)
- Juarez Cartel
- Los Cuinis
- Michoacán Family (La Familia Michoacána or LFM)
- Los Zetas
The law enforcement report concludes by admitting that the Mexican TCOs will continue to run rampant with their drug distribution all throughout the United States. It is plausible that there will be a shift in focus for the DEA to cover a greater area, causing the need for a larger staff.