How to Win a Drug War: It’s a Good Thing Mexican Drug Cartels Aren’t the British Empire

The Mexican drug cartels are armed and dangerous.  And their business model is thriving.  They sell massive amounts of product in the U.S. – and U.S. arms dealers sell literally tons of weapons to the cartels. (Mexican President Calderon brought this fact to the attention of our Congress:  Of the 75,000 assault weapons seized by Mexican authorities during the last three years, over 80% came from the U.S.)

Indeed, the violence of the drug war is escalating – in Mexico.  Ciudad Juárez is the homicide capital of the western hemisphere. Yet, very little of this violence is spilling across the border according to the latest FBI crime stats.

Christopher Dickey in Newsweek on the FBI stats:

The FBI numbers show that in the midst of the supposed crime wave, many other cities in the Southwest have had declines in crime similar to Phoenix. El Paso, Texas, just across the Rio Grande from a ferocious drug war in Juarez, where some 5,000 people have been murdered in recent years, saw almost no change in its own crime rate and remains one of the safest cities in the country, with only 12 murders last year. San Antonio saw violent crime drop from 9,699 incidents to 7,844; murders from 116 to 99. Compare that with a city like Detroit, which is a little bigger than El Paso and much smaller than San Antonio—and not exactly a magnet for job-seeking immigrants. Its murder rate went up from 323 in 2008 to 361 in 2009.

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