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National Intelligence Director: Mexican drug cartels, MS-13 gang top threats to the U.S.

February 15, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
National Intelligence Director: Mexican drug cartels, MS-13 gang top threats to the U.S.

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The Director of National Intelligence referred to Transnational Organized Crime as an increasing threat to the security to citizens in the U.S. The director noted these groups, including Mexica drug cartels and the MS-13 gang, contribute to “increased violence” and the erosion of governmental authority in numerous countries.

“Mexican groups will continue to supply the heroin, meth, cocaine, and marijuana that crosses the border. China-based suppliers ship fentanyl and precursors to Mexico-, Canada-, and U.S. based distributors or sell to consumers via the Internet,” Daniel R. Coats, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said in a Threat Assessment report published on Tuesday.

The report states that in 2016 fatal drug overdoses accounted for greater deaths than suicide, car accidents, and all forms of homicide. The number of overdoses skyrocketed over the past two years–doubling in 2016 because of the opioid epidemic engulfing the United States.

“Transnational criminal groups will generate more revenue from illicit activity in the coming year, which the UN last estimated at $1.6-$2.2 trillion for 2014,” the DNI report added.

In addition to smuggling, the director also discussed the continuing human trafficking operations conducted across the globe by transnational criminal groups. The DNI estimates that roughly 25 million people are victims of human trafficking.

Worldwide Threat Assessment — 2018 — US Director of National Intelligence by Bob Price on Scribd

Discussing Mexico in particular, the Director Coats stated:

“Mexicans are focused on presidential and legislative elections scheduled for July, in which corruption, violence, and a tepid economy will be key issues. The Government has made slow progress implementing reforms and will continue to rely on the military to lead counternarcotics efforts. Mexico’s $1.1 trillion economy benefits from strong fundamentals, but uncertainty over trade relationships and higher-than-expected inflation could slow economic growth. President Enrique Pena Nieto is focusing on domestic priorities, including recovery from the 2017 earthquakes and managing impacts from potential U.S. policy shifts.”

Director Coats also discussed the massive migration of individuals from Central American and blamed this crisis on gang-related violence, specifically in countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The report concludes:

“Insecurity and lack of economic opportunities will remain the drivers of irregular migration from the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Homicide rates in these countries remain high, and gang-related violence is still prompting Central Americans to flee.”

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