tv Book Discussion CSPAN October 18, 2014 9:30am-11:03am EDT
on c-span3. >> in the book "border insecurity" sylvia longmire 11 looks at how we protect our borders and argues the federal government needs to make border security a national priority. she talked-about it with the author of the black hand -- "the black hand," chris blatchford and timothy pratt. their conversation was held in las vegas. [applause] >> thank you, jeff. great to have you all here with us tonight. the thing i was thinking about, with two people, you guys how lucky to get ten people, because the breadth of experience of the work my colleagues have done is
just remarkable. sylvia longmire and chris blatchford, sylvia's work was state and federal government, armed forces, worked out side of those systems, chris had print and tv journalism, both of course of our authors. sylvia, "border insecurity" and cartel and chris blatchford "the black hand," all three of which will be available tonight as i understand it. both of them live with these issues are playing out in different parts of the country. we were privileged to be able to benefit from the breadth of experience and the good work they have done and look forward to hearing from them and we will talk amongst ourselves and at
the end we would welcome and appreciate your input and questions as well so i think we will hear from sylvia. >> thank you for coming tonight. i can't emphasize enough how significant the current situation is in mexico and along the border. this is an unprecedented situation as far as mexican drug cartels are operating south of the border, the measures they are taking to bring illegal drugs into the united states and how is impacting law enforcement, how it is impacting americans across the united states and our national security. things that are occurring particularly in the united states, activities happening in our neighborhoods. these are activities that are not just limited to california, arizona, new mexico, texas. drug cartels are providing 90% of the illegal drugs that are in demand, being used in the united
states. anywhere people using drugs or demanding drugs you'll find some cartel presence. you are not going to see the cars, people koreaing these drugs through major highways, cities like atlanta, las vegas, detroit, chicago, st. louis, phoenix, los angeles and all of this is happening right under our noses get it affects the fabric of our communities and that is worth learning a little more about what is happening. the controversial issues immigration. immigration reform. i have contributed to texas a we have been riding a lot about the surge in immigration in texas. the women and children that are coming because of the war rubble security and economic situation in central america. while that is happening the cartels are taking advantage of that because they controlled by humans smugglers, that are
charging from $3,000 to $8,000 per person to bring them from central america through mexico to the border but this is a situation affecting communities along the border and all those folks looking for refuge throughout the country. it affects folks along the border and throughout the country and i am very appreciative that your taking time out of your schedule to learn a little more about how these issues affect all of us. >> sylvia is not only prettier than i am but smarter than i am. i would like to start with an anecdote that cuts right to the point as to why we are here talking about cartels and organized crime. not that long ago i was standing in a small part of los angeles's west side and a mexican woman in her late 30s who lived with her only son, her husband had been killed your earlier when he was
caught in a crossfire in los angeles. the family had come to america six years earlier like so many immigrants noting -- looking for a better way of life. you worked all day in a clothing factory from minimum-wage and dreaming of a better life for her son, rudy. his eighth grade teacher was also in the room with me and his mom. she told me rudy was a friendly, happy kid who always had a smile on his face. he loved sports and like so many other american kids dreamed sunday that he would be a baseball major league pitcher. rudy's mother sat on the edge of her bed in the corner of the room when i was talking to the teacher, not because she didn't speak english but because every time she started to speak sobs claude's upper throat and talk back her words. as i looked at her and saw those red cheeks dripping with tears i also saw my own mother who lost
a son at a younger age. i saw the trail of grieving moms i had interviewed in the last three decades in los angeles and the face of those moms were black and white and brown and asian and i couldn't help but note that the tears in their eyes were all the same color. so was the pain in their heart. her son rudy wasn't in a game. he had no tattoos, no baggy pants, no shame head. he was simply walking home from school when gang members from another neighborhood jumped out of a car, chasing down an alley, shot in eight times and left him dead. a neighbor came out and found him convulsing in the street. he died in hospital and hour later. nice kid in the wrong place at the wrong time caught up in some gang rivalries that he had nothing to do with at all.
all his hopes and all his dreams as a kid died along with him. his mom haunted by this senseless murder, left alone with her daily tierce and broken hopes for what could have been. she will live with that for the rest of her life. what is even more heartbreaking is this. there are thousands of moms like her across the united states. according to wikipedia as many as 15,000 people year die in gang-related violence across the united states. that many people each year die from a certain disease we would call it a national epidemic. compare it to this figure. from the year 2003-2012 about 5,000 american soldiers were killed in the iraqi war. 15,000 die in gang-related violence. the los angeles area alone going
back to the 1980s is there have been 500 to thousand gang-related deaths every year. many of them, a third of them cops, innocent people at the wrong place at the wrong time like young rudi. the fbi reports in 1991 there were an estimated 250,000 gang members in the united states. the fbi estimates there are now 1.4 million gang members in the united states and as many as 33,000 different gangs. the fed say 70,000 of those gang members live in los angeles. i have seen other estimates up to 120,000 and i tend to believe those more. that arguably makes los angeles the gang capital of the united states and those l a game this that migrated across most of the country and into mexico and central america.
the mexican mafia was founded in 1957. it started as a prison gained in california and its influence has spread exponentially in the last 20 years. joe morgan, the godfather of the mexican mafia, a man known as a peg leg had a relationship with a mexican heroin kingpin in the 1970s but he was the only one, the organization as a whole was not that organized as it is today. in the early 19s a new generation of mexican mafia members, known as the pepsi generation expanded their influence in california and moved south of the border. in deer >> host:s there were an estimated 50 to 60,000 gang members in los angeles. the mafia so enact a plan to unite the latino gang members under the mexican mafia umbrella. the plan was that all the gangs would not only by their drugs from the mexican mafia but also kick back part of the profits on
all those drugs they sold in the street. it gave a lot mafia a virtual instant army of thousands of gangsters in southern california selling drugs, doing hits and exporting other drug dealers as part of the program. if a certain gained or certain gang member did not go along with this program he was put on with the gang was put on a green light list which meant all the other gains in the southern california area if they ran into this guy and the green light list they were to kills them and many of them were killed. those street gang members then open up markets throughout the western states including nevada, texas, arizona, new mexico, washington, oregon, colorado and most of those drugs are from mexico so as you were saying this morning they estimate 90% of the drugs coming to the united states through mexico.
the gang structure in l.a. already set up in neighborhoods all over southern california, became like a bunch of mcdonald's franchises for the rest of it. in the 90s a san diego gained member named david malone developed a strong relationship with the tijuana mexican drug cartel run by the infamous felix brothers. popeye, based on his successes in mexico's top hit men for the cartels and running drugs back and forth across the border into san diego and new mexico 1992 was on member of the california mexican mafia and the the tutelage of another mafia so better known as back marquez. they shipped tons of drugs across the border and left a trail of bodies, dozens of bodies behind.
among those bodies the 1993 assassination of catholic cardinal jesus couple sitting in at magazine at a guadalajara airport. and 1997 ambush of the tee one newspaper ad in a lineup of different mexican police officials that were shot and assassinated in the streets. federal wiretaps in 1994 recorded a meeting with other mexican mafia members in the los angeles area bragging about his exploits not in america but across the border in mexico saying he and popeye barone were like james bond. they had connections in europe, colombia, japan, jamaica and italy and he and popeye had influence with politicians, judges, military officials and law enforcement officers. the subject of the book in the
hallway that i wrote is a mexican mafia member known as boxer. he later explained to me that and popeye took the mexican mafia which was again an american based prison gang, to an out of the prison setting and gave them international influence and that is where we are today. boxer also noted the mexican mafia controls all the prisons in california and most of the prisons in our federal systems across the united states and as the mexican drug wars get locked up in those american prisons the mexican mafia can have those cartel bosses either protected or kills. it gives the mexican mafia tremendous influence for the drug cartel bosses in mexico. barone was killed in a shoot out and marquez is doing life in prison in america but there is an evidence and number of mach 7 mafia heavyweights have taken their place and there's a
symbiotic relationship between the mexican cartels and our mexican mafia. it is relationship investigators believe continues to thrive today all across the united states and one that is cemented in drugs, dollars, deception and death. >> we have a video we can see which is interesting. it makes the connection between two subject we talked about. you confronted on this video, national geographic. this segment takes a look at
precisely how these organizations. and our own city you recognize the backdrop for route the video i am sure. >> the police want to track down. >> and and and this is where they are. >> people on the bottom here a piece of life. >> rodriguez isn't just tracking methods in vegas but we'd and cocaine. >> the value of the drugs are
and to give us that in another year. >> so much money at stake grim consequences to cross rodriguez. >> who you are and a number of workers, you are going to pay for it. >> all right. we are going to talk amongst ourselves, i would like to take advantage of the time we have, a chance of dialogue. >> talking about $3 million, $10 million. it is staggering. this was a picture that a gang
member was beat up because they couldn't move the cast fast enough, the rats $81 million worth of cash. >> i would like to take up the images with you invoked in the beginning of the talk. use them to contextualized the human part of this and the part that immigration plays in all that. i recorded for nine years in las vegas, and countless times and families the way out the same basic scenario where either a single batter or both parents
working one or two jobs in las vegas with the service industry or construction, and their absence from the house hold with little supervision, role model, and as the gangs that you mentioned come in to the city over the last several decades proliferate in their neighborhoods. there are often initially a source of companionship and some sort of affection almost missing in their household and after that there is money to be made has well. in las vegas we had a history of immigration that is so different compared to the two places you
live. i don't know if you would like to talk about 100 years of seeing this scenario in southern california and in tucson but anyway, the lure of the directorate report is omnipotent and maybe doesn't have a lot of choices. and the family structure, i will tell you any gang member you talked to on the street will tell you the gained is the family. the tragedy about that is often times a good immigrant family, we all came from immigrant families in the united states, that family is left behind to the gained family and part of the tragedy is the game family is nothing but a dysfunctional family even though that might give kids a work place to go, it is not a good place to go.
i don't ask what the solution is and i don't always have that. is a great american tragedy, the fbi says every community in the united states with a population of 22002 or more has a bad game problem. 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, what is worse is we see the game of college campuses, in middle-class communities. you even see it on a campus like ucla, the tattoos, baggy clothes, shave heads, that all comes from the prison environment and the gained environment but now it is a part of our culture. is more endemic today than it was in the days of our coin. >> in mexico, there are kids that neither work more study. anywhere from ages 9 to 17 or
18. there are maybe 300,000 in mexico, and maybe as many as 7 million. on lot of these kids come from broken homes, moms working three jobs, even if it is too hard to go to school. and a three hour trip to get the kid home to school, an outlying part of the city and the way the bus routes and public transportation work is a hub and spoke, kids come from over here to the center of the city and over here to go to a school and that is not convenient. you get these kids who are 8, 9, 12 years old sitting with their friends on the street or not doing a lot of anything. so you have a cartel member who
comes up to the man i will give you the cellphone. when you see an army patrol coming i want you to test the and in return you get to keep the cellphone. i will pay you $50 and give you this or that. and you have these kids -- when the kid becomes 12 years old they graduate to being a drug dealer, moving small amounts within the country between communities and across the border. when he graduates to the fourteenth 15, give them $300 and put an assault rifle in his hand and tell him to go into the restaurant and make sure he shoots the guy, so he goes in and shoot everybody in the restaurant to make sure it makes the extra $300 he will get for accomplishing the job so you have all these kids that look -- obviously they are making a lot of money to get involved with the cartel. it is hard to understand and the
best comparison is the glamorization that occurs in mexico with these kids they look at these king pins the same way that our kids and teenagers look at rock stars and professional athletes, they see the money and the clothes and the girls, a gold-plated guns and they worship these men and quantity to like them. they are glamorized in these songs about them, and the soap operas that glamorize this lifestyle. you have this enormous recruitment pool and not only kids, some of them are in voluntarily recruited into these games and friend about a lot of them, they aspire to that so moving on from that, news reports coming out some time ago and you may have seen it there were cartels that were recruiting teenagers in phoenix in southern arizona in the poorest areas of the border and
there are a lot of poor communities on the southwest border and these are kids who are u.s. citizens, they can come and go across the border. some of them, a lot may not have criminal records yet but they dropped out of school, they are already in that pregame recruitment phase where they won't go anywhere, their grades are for, they don't have many job opportunities because they have no skills so here come these cartel guys and promising all this money and glamour but the added bonus for these kids that are recruited in southern arizona and other parts of the border is they can come and go across the border illegally because they are you as citizens so it is not only happening there but then you have a huge pool of potential recruits that are u.s. citizens living right here in our border communities so with theory they are joining local gangs in l.a. or houston or the cartel's south of the border, it is a problem with
poverty, lack of educational opportunities that span those countries. >> it is interesting with so much detail you describe the situation and both sides of the border, it brings to mind a point that often gets overlooked because there is no time to get into the context of the detail and the history behind this phenomenon in the news and media and we were talking about this earlier. the cultural context to develop a drug manufacturing or growing and trafficking enterprise, takes a lot of people. the thing that people may overlook is the socio-economic context in mexico or where i
reported from 20 years ago in colombia is the distinct from here because you grow up in a society, talk about wealth gap in the u.s. but will get the land america is so abysmal there really is most of the wealth in these many hands and then everybody else and there is not this idea that anybody can succeed based on education and so on, that you succeed if you have connections and a certain family name. in that context it is easier because you talk about the poll but in that context it is even easier and spreads quicker and the whole enterprise you need to manufacture or grow, then traffic but much more opportunity here. >> even an immigrant kid who comes. he did go on the straight and narrow path he has more
opportunity, you go to what they call the little villages, there are 7 or 8-year-old kids running around with a tattoo on their forehead or overs their arms, it is unbelievable what kind of a future that kid has, what he sees is the only future he has used the drug dealer. >> you wants to be like the 22-year-old guy but what you are seeing is right. you have to have empathy toward that but in the end these drugs dealers we were talking about they use these kids. there is nobody winning in this game. even these guys at the top of the food shane eager end up dead or in prison for the rest of their life. only if you ever make it to old age. that is the real tragedy. even in a poor neighborhood in the united states, honduras is one of the force countries in the world, somehow we need to
help them find a better way because it all comes back to us in this end. i spent a couple weeks in honduras in 2003. two major gains there, eighteenth street, ms 13, there are two gains in los angeles. i actually talked to the head of eighteenth street, he was in prison for murder at the time. he talked to me about how he brought it there and spread it all over honduras. >> interesting you bring that up. it is hard to go to the daily news room, the reminders we are seeing crossing the border, i remember the first few weeks as was reported by was thinking when will they talk about the
gains they are fleeing from? and finally three weeks into is this there is more in depth reporting, but what you are describing, you testified in asylum cases maybe you can tell us an unintended consequence of our immigration policy. >> as a consultant one of the things i do in my consultancy is working as an expert witness for mexican immigration cases and other colleagues that work for central american kids. and to hire me to work on their cases, requesting asylum which is incredibly difficult to get for a mexican national or withholding removal or some kind of relief from deportation because if their client gets deport back to mexico the cartels are going to be met them, tortures them, kill them,
etc.. it is a sad state of affairs and in many cases i deal with snitches working with the d.a. for some time, convicted felons but if it is true they get deported to mexico and the cartel knows it they were a snitch and that will happen to them and those cases are tougher because you are dealing with people who did some bad things but the majority of my cases are people who have already been kidnapped, sometimes they get the primitive cases, police officers that are clean and some have been shot several times, some of them have been kidnapped several times and they are fleeing the cartel. in other cases you have families who own land and they have been threatened by cartels who want to seize their land to grow marijuana or opium on their land. business owners anywhere from a guy who owned a couple pharmacies or someone who owns the taco stand being exported from gained members or cartels and if they can't make their
monthly or weekly quota or extortion payment they will get thrown into a car and get water with hot sauce in fused, carbonated water shove their nose and electrocuted in personal places and this is stuff that goes on all the time. their kids are in some cases been threatened with recruitment by the cartel and this is something that has been fused the daily lives of mexicans in places where this never used happen. this convergence from the traditional mafia, traditional organized crime keeping violence among themselves, staying away from kids, they're targeting businesses, anybody that is perceived whether they do or not, perceived as having money. i just finished working on a case where an individual was being deported and his family threatened and kidnapped in mexico because they were decent
amount of land and received as having money the cartels were starting to target them and this was happening more broadly across mexico. the latest thing now was certain cartels targeting illegal immigrants from central america and mexico moving to the border. because these immigrants have to pay the coyotes or human smugglers from $3,000 to $8,000 a pop their perceived as able to round up that much money to pay the smuggler, surely their family has a little more money if they are in the united states, probably making some money they can send back to mexico and pay. sometimes stick the next state house or stashed away in mexico and wait for the ransom money to coming and if it doesn't, a lot of times they fashions them in the united states, stashed in phoenix, developed its own kidnapping and home invasion task force because this is happening so much, happens in texas and houston and south
texas because of the surge of immigrants happening lately, now we're seeing more and more of the safe houses where they're keeping these immigrants. .. >> because this is viewed as a cril problem and it doesn't meet the traditional requirements of being oppressed by the government, etc., our immigration system, our asylum
system stems from the cold war. it's very much a cold war way of thinking. it hasn't been updated to deal with new criminal threats, what i like to call a criminal insurgency that's happening in mexico. and because in places like honduras and el salvador and guatemala it may not be the government that is directly causing the violence, but the fact that the government is looking the other direction and not able to protect its citizens. you know, you take a look at the definition of refugee and refugee status, and because in many parts of mexico and many parts of central america the government is completely incapable of protecting its own citizens from these gangs and from these cartels and at the state and certainly at the municipal level, the government is very much complicit in many of these kidnappings and killings. so it's really kind of turned on its head the whole definition of what we view as government oppression, as who qualifies as refugees. >> right. >> some folks take advantage of that system.
they do, and i see it in my cases, and i certainly don't accept every case that comes in front of me, because i see some folks that are like, okay, they've been in the united states for the ten years, and they have a job, and they had a couple kids here, and now they don't want to go home because they're getting deported. they're like, well, my cousin got kidnapped maybe five years ago, and you can tell they just don't want to go. that happens, that's the nature of the game. in many cases, these are people that are genuinely afraid. >> especially with the chirp. >> especially with the kids. oh, my god. >> and central america as, i guess, differentiated somewhat from mexico, a situation with the gangs that you were describing. that's what made me think of that. and those gangs were, you know because of where you live and work, mostly deported from l.a., isn't that correct? >> yes. and if you're a decent person, one part of you has empathy for this. on the other hand, there are children that are being trained
to be murderers. and if you see some of the footage that comes out of central america and mexico, they make our crooks look like leave it to beaver, you know? i mean, there are, like, heads chopped off rolling in the street, limbs taken off. we literally haven't seen that kind of violence here to the degree that they do down there. and even talk about desensitizing, if you watch, you know, mexican television, you know, like i know we try to be so ain't septic in america -- antiseptic in america. if you see a body in the street, you'll see a sheet over it. the mexican news, there's no sheet, their head's falling back, and they throw them in a truck. i think that sort of speaks for the culture too. i think that even our government hates to say it, but it's really a narco-trafficking government in mexico and honduras and el salvador. and it's, like, the cat's out of the bag. i don't know how you put him
back in at this point. >> you mean the level of corruption. >> yeah. at some point you're going to can ask us what the solution is, you know -- >> yeah, right. >> and i'm going to say she'll answer that. [laughter] >> i wonder what do you both think of the role of the war on drugs and related domestic and foreign policies in development of the mexican drug cartels in particular? what does -- i know it's a big topic. >> it is, but i mentioned this this morning in a radio interview we did. maybe ten years ago i was down in san diego in a dea office talking to four to six office who had spent 20, 25 years of their lives chasing drug dealers across the border. and i remember one thing that sort of startled me that came up in the conversation was that they all said that, you know, they hated it -- whichever president copied that phrase the war on drugs -- they just hated that because it raised the anticipation of the american public that was something that could actually be won at some
time. and none of these agents were naive enough to believe they were ever going to solve this problem or lock it all up. but they still believed in the job they were doing. but this whole suggestion that we can actually solve it, was anathema to them really, you know? make a living. >> the agents? >> yeah. sure. which was very eye-opening to me because you'd think you'd have a bunch of john wayne cowboys, we'll lock 'em all up, and everything will be solved. these were smart, educated guys, and they had an honest view of it. and i don't think we will ever completely end it. but i don't think you just don't do anything about it, you know? you have to have a law enforcement arm. >> do you have any thoughts about the development of -- >> yeah. sure. i want to take a little bit broader view. one thing that, you know, a lot of people talk about, well, legalization is a solution and, obviously, there's a big controversy over that. but one thing a lot of people
don't understand when we talk about drug war and why we've continued to maintain the same policies it's been, you know, what, 40, 50 year we've been doing this war on drugs and really nothing has improved or changed. so a lot of countries in latin america have been challenging that mindset. and say, you know what? we're tired of these current policies. so uruguay recently said, you know what? we're legalizing everything. and oh, my god, you know? it's really kind of an experiment. but uruguay's not -- they're the first country to really do it, but they're not the first to think about it. guatemala's talking about it. guatemala is done. we think mexico's done, guatemala las zero money, their -- has zero money. their police, zero, and the cartels are all over guatemala. i mean, it is bad. so the problem is that there's something called the united nations convention against narcotics, and that's back from 1961. and i think there's, like, is 89 out of 189 out of 192 countries
that are signatories to this convention, and it basically says you will have laws that make it illegal to use or sell drugs, etc., etc. so any country that goes against this international convention, that's a really big deal. and bolivia went against it, they withdrew from the convention because coca is a big part of the indigenous culture, but now bolivia has this huge cocaine problem even though their president said, oh, no, no, no, yes to coca but no to cocaine, and that's really worked out well for them. but bolivia wanted back in. they just wanted that kind of exception for their cultural issues. even bolivia recognizes that, you know, being out of that convention, that's kind of a big international, that's something to be looked down upon. so uruguay being a kind of insignificant country relatively speaking in the grand scheme of things, they said somebody has to do something different. i don't know that that's going to be some big chain reaction,
but it's drawn a lot of attention. >> right. >> and now that we have this movement as far as, you know, medicinal marijuana and now, you know, colorado and washington and public opinion is moving a little bit, i don't think we're anywhere near pulling out of that convention because, you know, obviously fully legalizing here the way that it was in uruguay is too big a step. and too controversial. but there are countries that are looking at this at the international level and saying, you know what? screw the u.n. this is not working for us, and we need to do something different for our citizens. >> colombia's former top prosecutor in the whole era when colombia was dealing with this issue -- >> yeah. >> -- also came to be in favor of legalization. >> i have a question for you, tim. after spending those years in colombia, do they have the drug problem in terms of addiction that we have here? >> it's not the same, no. it's not the same. i don't think any country has the same statistics as the u.s.
does. >> don't we have, like, 80% of the world's drugs? >> although i think it's ireland that consumes the most cocaine. yeah, ireland or scotland. that was really weird. [laughter] but, yeah. >> no, it's not to the degree. it's an interesting thing that for producing countries do tend to see drug use increase, but the u.s., i mean, and that's a whole other topic, of course. u.s. culture and society on so many levels -- >> we have the discretionary income to buy the drugs. >> right, right. >> as opposed to the poor countries. >> right, right. and there's something about the culture and the society that somehow creates the demand for it. which, by the way, brings up the whole issue of treatment which neither one of you have mentioned. this was a certain point, wasn't
there, in the development of the war on drugs where there were decisions made to put more resources, financial and otherwise, into interdiction, into stopping the trafficking and less resources into treatment. i don't know what you think about that. >> about treatment in general? well, i think if anybody's ever had a drug addict in the family or a friend, i think the proponents of the treatment argument, i mean, sure you have to have treatment, but they always propose it as, gee, if we just have a bunch of treatment centers, the problem's going to go away. we did a story in l.a. back i think in in the like the late '80s in one of these drug treatment centers to find out that, yeah, 95% of the people leave in three days. you can't make a person give up drugs. that's what aa and na are all about, is helping people find that bottom where you will then give up. it's not as easy as opening
treatment centers. >> sure. >> and i think that's the fallacy of that argument, that treatment centers are going to end it. because, yeah, how do you get people to go, you know? most drug addicts love drugs, man. that's their whole life. where am i going to get that hit? your whole day is spent, you know, if you're a heroin addict finding that next fix. even if you're a rock and roll star, you've got to find a connection. your whole day is wasted doing that. >> yeah. one thing i learned from -- and i've consulted for a few episodes of drugs inc. and for border wars for nat-geo channel, and i can't recommend that enough if you really want to see what drug use and trying to fight that is all about. i was in law enforcement in the military for eight and a half years. i've always grown up very anti-drug, and i'm not pro-legalization of everything, i'm certainly not. but one thing that's hard to, that you kind of have to accept it, you watch that show, and you see mothers whose kids have been taken away already.
there's one episode, i can't remember what city it is because they do a different episode in each city now. she and her husband live in, like, a tent. he robs homes almost every day and works odd jobs. she prostitutes herself because they're meth addicts. like i say, her kids have been -- i'm, like, i'm a mom. you see pregnant women that are, you know, hitting the pipe. and i'm, like, what level of desperation, of mental illness, of depravity, of just poverty, of just sheer desperation do you have to be in to lose your kids and be okay with that because the drugs are more important than your own children. now, do you really think these people care that meth is illegal? i mean, i'm not saying to legalize it, all i'm saying is that the current environment, you know, whether it's the threat of putting them in jail -- there's nothing that you can threaten that, the people that are at that level of addiction, you know, like you were talking about, there's nothing you can threaten them with that will get them to stop.
and that's, you know, when you talk about treatment, i don't know how you treat those folks. you have folks that are like the mentally ill, that they are just in a situation, a social situation, victims of sexual abuse, of physical abuse that drugs are what they turn to. they don't have an alternative because it's a social problem. so we're treating the drug issue and the drug demand through interdiction right now because i don't know that we're capable of treating it at whether it's, you know, rehab or social services. i don't know that we have the capability to deal with the social issues that lead people to demand drugs and get addicted to that level. so there's just definitely more than -- it's more than just treatment, it's more than just interdiction. it's very complex. >> although at the end there what you're referring to is prevention. >> yeah. >> which would be another interesting thing to see more resources put into. >> yeah. >> well, you've got to have that. >> right. >> it's like the law enforcement -- [inaudible conversations]
you don't stop cops from arresting just because it's uncomfortable, you know? you can't, you have to do it on all fronts. >> yeah. >> and i don't think there's a perfect solution, you know? but you have to be -- i mean, you know what the perfect solution is? and you get this on every panel, i realize what it is, people just stop doing drugs. there really is no upside. if you had a drug addict in your family, there's no upside to getting involved in drugs. none whatsoever, you know? every argument there is. and even alcohol. alcohol in this country is just, it decimates families, just decimates them, you know? but people will sit and defend alcohol until the day they die. and that's not saying you can't have a glass of wine every night, but hard core drink canners cause a lot of problems in this country. >> right. you asked me about colombia. what do you both think about the historical connections between the colombian drug cartels, what happened in colombia with the
relationship between u.s. and colombia foreign policy with plan colombia -- >> oh, yeah. >> -- and the 4.5 billion that was spent there and then what's happening now more recently? you spent so much time looking at, both of you, in terms of mexico and the -- >> oh, yeah, no. >> what is that, two billion? >> at one -- yeah, 1.7. >> and even the drugs themselves and the development of the cartels. is it -- what are the similarities and differences in your minds? >> yeah. a lot of people love to say look at colombia. for those of you who are not familiar, the revolutionary armed forces of colombia, a terrorist group in colombia and also you have the national liberation army and formerly the paramilitaries, very heavily involved in drug trafficking. but then you also have the medellin, the cali cartels that are no longer functioning, you have still a lot of cocaine production. and the violation associated with that, with the terrorist
groups that have gotten into cocaine, i mean, it was enormous. it stemmed from a civil war. a lot of people were uprooted and displaced from their homes, a lot of people died over the 40, 50 years of this civil war. but over the last, i don't know, decade maybe, things have gotten a little bit better. cocaine production has not slowed, but the level of violence has improved, and that's largely due to something -- not largely due, but at least due in part to plan kilometer california i can't remember how many billions -- >> it was 4.5 billion, if i remember correctly. and at one point colombia was the second highest recipient of foreign aid from the u.s. behind israel. >> okay. so a lot of that money wasn't just money. colombia allowed our troops to go in and do counter drug missions whether it was overflights, radars, installations, etc. , and we still have several hundred military people that are there now. so a lot of people say, well,
that worked in that country to help reduce violence associated with the terrorists in there, why can't we have a plan mexico to do the same thing, whether it's sending a small cop tin gent of troops, whether it's injecting more money and equipment. and some folks say, well, that's easy. two latin american countries, and you've got a drug problem in both, and let's just do the same thing. but there are dramatic differences between the two of them. you have cartels that have very, very different personalities, very different ways of operating, but also you have very different governments. there's corruption in colombia just like there is throughout all of latin america. that goes back hundreds of years, and you're not going to do anything about it anytime soon. but the main difference in what we're seeing in mexico and what has been successful in colombia is the upper classes have stayed in colombia, and they have invested in their country, and they have worked very hard to take owner hardship of their country. in mexico -- ownership of their country. in mexico the upper classes are leaving. the middle classes, when they can, are leaving.
because they can come here, you can buy a visa for half a million dollars if you invest in certain, yeah, in certain industries. yeah, a million dollars or half a million, it depends on what part of the country and what industry, and you can basically buy the visa to come here. and you see a lot of folks in mexico that just say, you know what? we're done with this violation, we're going. and you didn't see that level of departure -- >> not the same level. >> not the same level. >> because it wasn't as easy. >> yeah. it was a lot -- it was very different. so you're seeing the way that civil society is reacting to the violence is very different. the way that the cartels are interacting with each over is very -- with each other is very different, how they're splintering. you've got the zetas that are not working like a traditional cartel. the whole situation on the ground is different. so it's certainly -- i don't think you compare the two, and i don't think the plan mexico is anything viable. >> the other myth that always gets me is if we do legalize
drugs, you know, that that's going to solve our organized crime problem. and that's not going to happen. i mean, these criminal organizations, they're just going to find something else. human trafficking. then what do we do, you know? legalize human trafficking too? where do you draw the line? i just -- there are a lot of myths propagated in this argument, and i think you have to address them all, and you have to be realistic in your conversation about it. some of this stuff is just really a tough fix, and you're not going to fix it. but, you know, again, you have to do something on all fronts, you know? i mean, life's not perfect, you know? and there are no -- we were talking about this morning after being news reporters for three or four decades, i think what you learn more than anything else why a lot of news people get accused of being more liberal because you learn as you go through life that things aren't always black and white when you're talking to both sides. life is lived mostly in that gray area.
and there are no concrete solutions all the time. and when you think you find one, then something else pops up over here, you know? and you're back in the gray zone again. but i'll tell you, one thing we do have in this country that none of those countries we're talking about, we are able to sit here and talk about this. >> right. >> so the smarter people than us can figure out what to do about it. [laughter] you can't have this kind of discussion in mexico. journalists are killed there. >> that's right. >> i don't know what the numbers are now, but it's 30, 40 guys -- >> which is an interesting point -- >> almost 80, actually. >> yeah. i was asking them about the differences historically between the colombian and the -- the situation in colombia and the situation in mexico. another interesting thing to note given where we're sitting is the difference between, say, the mob of the '30s and this more recent phenomenon because i
don't think the mob in the '30s was as interested in, they didn't have as much violence directed at the rest of civil society like journalists and politicians as much as you see in the -- certainly in colombia. politicians were killed by dozens. what do you -- >> there's a guy in chicago who's made an avocation about studying that capone era. >> right. >> which i think was like from 1929 to 1936 or so. and he told me this is back in the '80s i was talking to this guy, he said during that period which is, you know, in america is sort of seen as, like, the bloody reign of terror of mobsters. >> right. >> i think in history. and i think there was something -- i've got the figures in here, maybe i'll look them up as we -- i think there were something like 200 hits in that time period, in that -- and all the people who died were bad guys. >> were mobsters. >> and that even there was a hit and arrest riot one night in
chicago, a mob guy, and the story goes as this guy tells it there was a woman who was cut by glass from a broken window, and when they took the tommy gun, and al capone picked up the doctor bills for the woman. >> right. >> but i think, you know, today you talk to, you know, what they'll call old school gangsters in los angeles, guys 40 and above, and they're complaining about -- and the same thing in mexico even -- they're complaining about these young gangsters today. now even the guy i talked to in honduras who took 18th street to honduras, he was sitting there like i'm teaching -- what i'm worried about is these kids today, they're off the map, you know? they're off the gourd. he said i'm trying to teach them old school, the right way to be a crook. >> right. >> you know? but there is even a difference in those generations. the older guys and the mexican mafia here are worried about this young group that are just killing indiscriminately. >> yeah. >> you see drive-byes in l.a. where innocent people are killed
all the time, and i don't -- maybe, you know, i wasn't alive in 1930, but i've read a lot about it over the years, and it doesn't seem like they had the indiscriminate killing that we have today. >> right. or the targeted violence against members of civil society, especially in mexico. >> yes. >> and in colombia. whether it be journalists or politicians. so that's a big difference. >> yeah. >> do you think you'll see with the, i mean, continuing with this theme of the comparison, do you think you'll see in the mexican situation an attempt to enter politics and so on or control politics as happened in colombia? >> oh, they do control politics to an extent -- >> money. but more directly? >> and with coercion. no. >> in the united states? >> no, in mexico. >> no, in mexico. i remember when the farc formed -- [speaking spanish] and i think that was in 1984 or 1986 where they entered, briefly entered politics, and that
didn't really work out, so they bowed out of that. i think we see the largest levels of influence and coercion at the political level where you have people being threatened at the polls, then you have mayors that are being coerced and in many cases i think 36 some, 36 mayors if not more that have been kidnapped or can killed in mexico in the last several years. so the cartels do hold -- and the mayors are the ones who appoint the police chiefs. so at that level the cartels have a considerable amount of control over politics. but they're not interested in running the country. and one thing i do want to address kind of as a bit of a segway, there are a lot of -- i know there was one report written by a military outfit and other news reports that are saying mexico a failed state or is a failing state. we talked a little bit earlier about, oh, this is all such a
downer, let's talk about some good news. the good news is that mexico is not a failing state. it's easy to take a look at the violence and cay, okay, it's on its way down can. a failed state is somalia. a failed state is sudan. somalia is a disaster. there's, you know, very little government control, if any government control. you've got these warlords, i mean, so poor, yeah, it's a complete disaster. and in sudan, you know, how many millions of people -- how many hundreds of thousands of people killed and displaced. mexico has the world's, what, seventh largest economy? something hike that. a thriving tourism industry, a functioning military, a functioning -- the judicial system is extremely screwed up, but it's a functioning judicial system and police. ..
of mexico where the government has very little control over the hotels operating. you cannot say it is a general overall problem at the national level that you have cartels that know how to manipulate governments and government officials at the municipal level. >> we are seeing in los angeles that corruption already happening to a degree.
there was a city councilman southwest of los angeles where a couple years ago, was involved with cartel money and we had a couple city councilman in l. a for the last 20 years who were getting money from the mexican mafia. it is there. why wouldn't it be? any other thing, people always ask are they here? of course they are here. why wouldn't they? they have plenty of money. they can walk freely here. i was talking to a guy involved in a massacre where 30 people were killed in her early 2,000. he was involved in that. the number one wanted guy -- he said you could see him all the time. you wouldn't recognize him with plastic surgery. they are there. when the felix brothers were running around, i get calls from
people saying the felix brothers, this club in hollywood, i don't doubt that they were there. same thing in miami where they would show up with all this money to spend. spend it and live freely by the united states. >> we are at a good time to open up. >> everyone is hanging out in sweets -- the rain lasted from 1924-1931, 703 people -- that is what we get in a year in los angeles. >> compared to 70,000, right. >> i don't know. do we have the mike over here? the house lights. do you want me to call people
and would you like to come up here so people can hear you? >> i live in hendrickson, now that. i spent over three years in mexico. if i was down there i would probably be the first one up here but it is all our fault. with our laws, that we allow this, they bring their drugs up, etc.. i had two people in my family which have died from drug overdose and such. it is so horrible death. anyone who sells them should be shot within a year. as far as i am concerned. the mexican people are great people but still at the same time, we don't have the
resources to take care of the whole world's. we need to knuckle down and verify or whatever it takes and start sending these people, go back to their own home cities. mexico basically is the richest country in the world. i have travelled extensively. they have got oil, copper, gold, but yet we take the pressure off of them, by taking the people because the good ones come up here and try to work instead of taking care of mexico. >> was there a question you wanted to ask us? >> i want to know how come our government does not do more to protect our citizens in the
united states from people like the drug cartels. my house has been robbed twice. my car has been stolen. mexican family moved right in our house, nothing was done with it but a guy that moved in is still right here in the united states. >> your question is? >> my question is how can we make the government take care of the people that are here? >> i hear this man's payne. i really do. you have drugs in your family. you are not alone. you start talking to anybody here with an alcoholic son, is a terrible problem. i have a lot of friends that were cops and they did a terrible job and most of them do adamic good job.
there are crooked cops like anything else. we have thrown a lot of money at this and it goes back to what i said earlier, so much gray area. if you were president tomorrow what can you do? you can't shoot everybody. it is not as easy as it sounds. i hear your frustration. i always hate that question, what is the solution? i don't know it. part of it is your angle. we should all be talking about this. we all play a role in this. we are the abusers. we are the drug users. we tolerate that and that is where it begins. if we study educating ourselves about the evils of drugs and stop kidding ourselves about how you can dabble with a little heroine, there are not many guys to get away with that, we got to have an honest ongoing discussion, i don't think we can
kill or spend our way out of it. >> thank you. if you don't mind if we could open up. what about the money. mexico just announced they were no longer going to keep their money laundering requirements for st. louis or banks at a certain level they are going to raise that. talk to me about the money. >> i had an entire chapter in my book about money laundering that you can buy out side and i will sign it for you. money laundering is, i think, one of the best kept secrets about the drug war problem because it is not sexy. you don't see the blood or violence and it doesn't make for an exciting news story. the cartels are bringing in anywhere from 8 to $39 billion in drug money every year. that is of ballpark figure, the
best we can estimate and a lot of that money has to be laundered. people say 10% across the board, we're catching only 1% of the money being laundered, 1%. that is going to bank of america, wachovia bay, south texas, hundreds of thousands of dollars being laundered through south texas every year. the local governments have a reputation for being very core of the if you all of a sudden cut off the flow of money going through realistic or from companies or restaurants the local economy will see some of the hardest times they have ever seen. away they are laundering money, trade based wandering with people working for the cartels, they order fabrics in china, import them through los angeles and this is with u.s. dollars, as they bring them down south into mexico across the border
and sell them for 5 or 7 times what they are worth in pesos so not only are they laundering the money through but converting the currency and this is the stuff that is really hard to detect. immigration and customs enforcement and homeless security investigations tried to develop these new outfits to counters that. the irs, financial crimes enforcement network trying to be more aggressive than the department of justice but going after the banks, we never even level any criminal charges against any banks or bank employees, we're just blocking them with lines. >> you hit it on the head. the most effective place to go to stop this is the money, take their money. we have not spent enough money going after the money. the big money. we confiscated $10 million a year but at the bank level, going after morgan chase, most of that money coming to the united states. >> the department of justice was
quoted as saying they are afraid of leveling criminal charges because they are afraid it is going to partially collapsed the financial system. go figure. >> i would like to thank all of you for a wonderful program. i enjoy learning things especially from people who are historical. mobsters at the library, i asked them what the solution was and they told me it was legalization and the more i think about it, it can't be any worse than it is now and it makes sense and the other thing was as long as consumers, there's all this success in the mexican cartel in the united states consumer and that must be the only thing we can control. >> that is what we are talking
about. the reason it is so expensive, the reason you make so much money as a trafficker is because it is illegal and it being illegal makes it expensive. >> might be more expensive or whatever. what happens on tv. there is that. we were saying before the treatment and prevention aspect. >> my name is charlie and i had a couple comments from you guys. i am a retired federal correction counselor, i am a 15 year military man. i think probably -- i am not big on the immigration issue but we need to change our focus. as you guys know we have not
just thousands, 30 or 4,050,000 illegals coming across the border that are arrested. a lot of people don't know they go to federal prison. private prisons operated, all the other places, and they stay in federal prison coming the cross the border six 4 seven times. >> >> until they're hearing? >> they come back several times, minor crimes and basically mexican nationals come across the border and hard working and all that good stuff. come to our private facilities six months, two years, as they go to court, all this money goes into this and transporting them to a private prisons and then they are deported back. i wonder how much money we are
spending on fat. how much of that money we could use to help the mexican army, to pay mexican police or give it to the country of mexico, whatever it took maybe help with our troops, and let's go in there, and you know -- a couple on the case load, i had one guy, you probably know this, he used to inject heroin into racist in his leg, crazy, bad man. the subject -- he is in protective custody now or whatever but some bad people and you wouldn't believe how much
control, how much control the mexican mafia has been what is funny and what i don't understand about mexico, and you help me out here. in trees and the numbers cap. you know who runs -- nobody messes with the mexican nationals because the penitentiary has 1500 inmates, 700 of them, l a gang members, numbers wind. i don't see why those numbers are not winning in mexico. >> to address what you were talking about earlier, of the main ferias that i present in border and security, immigration and immigration reform are very controversial. i do not offer my own opinion of
what the answer is. you have four categories of people across the border. the vast majority, maybe 95% of those people coming across economic migrants, coming to reunite with families, these are noncriminal just coming to work, then you have bought much smaller percentage of people that are criminals, violent drug smugglers, a human traffickers and an even smaller percentage of people associated with hezbollah, not operational terrorists or people associated with groups coming here for terrorist groups or sending overseas, is a miniscule minority. we have a certain group of folks on capitol hill that feels the answer is to double the border patrols and send billions of dollars more on technology to the border. we have historic levels of border patrol agents and spent historic amount of money on the border and have seen no change,
no improvement in the volume of drugs coming across, number of people coming the cross is dictated more by the economic conditions in the united states and economic conditions in mexico and central america. my proposal is we look at this from a select perspective, this is from a military background. i don't believe economic migrants, that pose a national security threat, so if all of a sudden you take a look and again immigration reform i don't believe in amnesty but don't believe in deporting everybody. i think there is a middle ground. if you treat the immigration problem as a legislative and policy e. schumer, i don't know what the solution is but you make it simple, legislative policy solution and not a law enforcement solutions and all of a sudden that frees up billions of dollars and so many thousands of border patrol agents to go after the bad people that are
coming to hurt us, bring drugs illegally into the country. as you were saying dealing with the detention centers, in south texas, we have been covering this so heavily, and you have the vast majority of border patrol agents to processing, these families administrative work. don't using drug cartels are taking advantage of that, and spending tonnage, and there are detention centers processing the folks, making lunches and sandwiches so that is the theory that i put out as far as dealing with it. >> why don't we go to mexico and arrest these guys?
in the last 20 years law-enforcement has done a great job in mexico. the reigning -- as they were bad and they took over most of mexico at one point. they wiped out that organization to be point where we are today is now just a bunch of fractured cartels all over the place rafters and general motors cartel so to the point that it is like that whatcom will game how that pops up over here. yahoo! >> whoo-hoo imprison to asian blue lehigh -- presentation. u.s. special forces -- there was a lot of cooperation in south
america, a living in panama for many years and seeing the light to contribute to to a big picture of it. the colombian mafia and mexican mafia, the colombian mafia to this level, the rest of south america is different. the u.s. government, to have drug problems, make a number. and they're going to get paid backed, everyone sense to those countries. i am sending you that that you will allow us to do that and there is an economic cycle needed their.
columbia is like the war. keep the operation in profits. we have to build guns, and everything -- and the rest or latin american countries is because they get the call, when another country, anybody in bolivia can grow cocaine. and review that after, there is no option. you grows that or you die. no road or schools in iraq and you are in the middle of nowhere, the middle of the amazon jungle land your kids are
starting and okay, you don't have to grows them. the other ones grow. they are allowed to grow crops of cocaine. they are allowed to end you may not. there are deep holes in the grounds, and and they are very toxic and cannot process it to cocaine. and the cartel in colombia as a fix that to the d a n the diego's and shuts down the operation. you don't see them talking. there's not a road. there is nothing so you have people who do not have an option. the only stop this consumption.
so you have columbia at allowed the to process it, process it and commercialize it. other countries don't. if you do, you are shutdown and the user shutdown forces, definitely works and collaboration. you have not even touched it. >> that is a prevailing attitude in mexico. the government official i was with, his attitude toward the united states was is your problem, you are the one bringing all the drugs. >> a little back to this speech. it is heaven.
the signal station, that teeny little country not much production, and bring all but money and we compare uruguay and columbia again. the cartel money, big families alone in panama. in the last 15 years, in 2,000 when they return to the basis in panama, most of the chinese money coming in we had two years and you go to panama. that is where they're having money is so to contribute that
that allowed immigration. i don't understand -- >> you should be sitting on the panel. but i want to make sure they get their questions in. >> you have a very low way of seeing the problem and there are certain things like immigration. it is ridiculous for the rest of the world's, you see a better life. they want to let this cool. every child in the world wants that. are we going to with our tax money secure all those families. a single mom, raise our children, is it going to be taxes to have somebody receiving $72,000 a year, and responsible appearance, that is not the way
to do it. you are creating a higher rate for them to bring children all the way here. >> excuse me. with all due respect i'm trying to make sure we distinguish between the questions. i don't want people behind you -- >> i am sorry. you are the moderator and -- >> i am trying to say -- >> the issue, open your mind gilmore sobering to america what you are saying is really good that your vision may have to be weiner to understand what will stop this and -- a percentage to make the cake with all these
filling the top. it is very positive. >> it is -- very sad. >> thank you. >> my name is cheri, i am retired new york police officer and by the like to get off the topic of drugs and ask the panel what they feel about terrorism. i actually heard and been somewhat schools is that we should be more aware of terrorism from mexico than overseas, and question the panel. >> entire chapter on that. >> a simple question. i go to mexico. >> it is more -- an issue that is shaped very much by the media. there is not a lot of context or
history. some things that is hard to explain in 800 words. can i sit down? >> please. please go sit down. we had media reports coming out, isis is probably here and coming across the border, since 1993 out of the 36 operational terrorists that have been apprehended in the united states, not only has not a single one of them, not a single one has come from mexico, every single one has come through airports or the ports of entry from canada or overseas into the airports with ids and legitimate travel documents. you have to understand how terrorist groups train and invest in their operatives that are coming to blow stuff up. they put a lot of time and effort into training and funding these operatives that come here so they are recruiting people
who will pass a backgrounds heck, go through customs and have a legitimate -- of their fraudulent there are ids the go through customs and will pass through and don't come on a plane because it is the easiest way to come here. we have a lot of people the come across the border and detected but that me tell you it is a hard and deadly journey, to spend years and millions of dollars to put a terrorist operation together and send your operatives with a coyote who could kill them when these guys could force an ankle in the desert and i and held hostage and possibly get caught by border patrol across the border. send them through canada or give them legitimate documents and send a monoplane because that is how they'll get here. that is from the terrorist perspective, looking from the hotel perspective why would the cartel's want to do business with the terrorists can't afford
them? there was a story a couple years ago about iran wanting to hire -- assassinate the saudi ambassador in washington d.c. in a restaurant, they wanted to pay him. was never -- there was nothing about it. it was a confidential informant working for them. wanted to pay $1.5 million. if you wanted to pay $1 million i would laugh in your face. that is one wants drug load. cartels want nothing to do with international terrorism let alone an assassination in d.c. because that brings attention. domestic and government may have their problems, they may have the corruption and the shoes with their police. lasting mexican government wants is any involvement coming from mexico crossing the border into the u.s. to blow stuff up. ..
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