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Dec 22, 2010 | 15:33 GMT

3 mins read

Above the Tearline: Mexican Cartels

Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton gives an overview of the Mexican drug cartel activities in 2010 and what trends we are likely to see in 2011. Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy. Hi, I'm Fred Burton with STRATFOR. In this week's Above the Tearline we're going to look at our 2010 cartel report with a forecast for 2011. In our study we outlined three major trends that occurred 2010, in the first being the Calderon government efforts to go to war with the cartels was very effective in the elimination of many cartel high-value targets this year, however it also led to an increase in the body count from 6,000 to 11,000 in calendar year 2010. The second interesting trend that we noted our study is the introduction of the improvised explosive device in Mexico by the cartels and fortunately these devices are very rudimentary and we haven't seen an actual vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. However it's a troubling trend that the cartels have moved into the improvised explosive device in specific areas such as Juarez and Ciudad Victoria. The learning curve to move into a sophisticated VBIED or vehicle-borne improvised explosive device would take time and this is one of the warning and indicators that we are on point looking for, but we have not seen them move down that stage yet. The third trend is the Mexican government deployment of federal police, or the federal police takeover of certain areas inside of Mexico and that has been done primarily in an effort to quell the violence to put in a vetted and confident police force that can be managed at the federal level. Salary is also important when you're looking at the federal police. In essence they can be paid more than a local cop that would be easily corruptible. One of the aspects of having federal control would be a higher quality recruit or police agent that you could bring into the midst. You also have to capability of running polygraphs and a much more thorough background check and have better command-and-control over that entity and in essence, provide better service to the community that the federal officers are deployed in. From a forecasting perspective in 2011 Calderon is at a crossroads, he's in a very difficult position. He either has to accept U.S. intervention to help combat the cartels, or he has to stand back some of his pressure that he has placed upon the cartels in an effort to reduce the body count. At this point we don't know which direction he's going to take, but it's going to be very interesting to see which road we do go down. The Above the Tearline aspects with the cartel study, in my assessment, are two key issues. One, the detailed personality and link analysis diagram we have of the various cartel players; their hierarchy; the bosses, as well as those that were eliminated last year. The second aspect is our map. You can look at the map and see which cartel controls what geography inside of Mexico as well as which cartel controls the plazas, the lucrative gateways into the United States, as well as the spillover border violence into America.

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