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The escalation of drug-related violence occurring along the border among DTOs increasingly involves DTO use of violent paramilitary enforcement groups. Mexican DTOs use such groups to protect operations and drug shipments as well as to target members of rival drug cartels and law enforcement officers. Los Zetas, the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, may be the most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and violent of these paramilitary enforcement groups. Some Los Zetas members are former Mexican Special Forces soldiers and maintain expertise in the use of heavy weaponry, specialized military tactics, sophisticated communications equipment, intelligence collection, and countersurveillance techniques.
Although much of the violence attributed to conflicts over control of smuggling routes has remained in Mexico, some has spilled into the United States. Murders and kidnappings linked to Mexican DTOs as well as assaults against U.S. law enforcement officers are becoming increasingly common along the Southwest Border. Violence directed at law enforcement officers along the Southwest Border, primarily U.S. Border Patrol agents, often is intended to deter agents from seizing illicit drug shipments or as a diversion during drug smuggling operations. In addition, drug-related violence has expanded from Tijuana, Baja California Norte; Ciudad Ju?rez, Chihuahua; and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, into other geographic areas along the border, including Agua Prieta and Cananea, Sonora, and Palomas, Chihuahua.
Violence associated with alien smuggling has increased in recent years, particularly in Arizona. Expanding border security initiatives and additional Border Patrol resources are very likely obstructing regularly used smuggling routes and fueling this increase in violence, particularly violence directed at law enforcement officers. Alien smugglers and guides are more likely than in past years to use violence against U.S. law enforcement officers in order to smuggle groups of undocumented aliens across the Southwest Border. Conflicts are also emerging among rival alien smuggling organizations. Assaults, kidnappings, and hostage situations attributed to this conflict are increasing, particularly in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.
2. The Alliance, also known as The Federation, is a cooperating group of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) that share resources such as transportation routes and money launderers. The Alliance was formed to counter the Gulf Cartel. The Alliance includes organizations headed by Joaqu?n Guzm?n-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garc?a, Juan Jos? Esparragosa-Moreno, Arturo and Hector Beltr?n-Leyva, Edgar Valdez-Villareal, Armando Valencia-Cornelio, and Ignazio Coronel-Villareal.
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