Transnational Criminal Organizations

New Details on US-Mexico Intelligence and Logistical Coordination against Cartels

By Robert Chesney
Sunday, August 28, 2011, 3:10 PM

Another Mark Mazzetti story from the past week that deserves your attention: this piece, which sheds some additional light on the intelligence and logistical support that the United States is providing to Mexico's conflict with the cartels.   The story primarily focuses on "boomerang" operations in which Mexican security forces preparing to conduct a raid on a cartel target in Mexico first gather and learn of their mission in the far-more-secure and discreet confines of a US government facility within the United States; the basic idea is to reduce the risk that a mole within the Mexican forces can tip off the target, or that the cartel's own intelligence networks will detect the raid through monitoring of activity at or coming out of facilities in Mexico.  Apparently this was done a few years ago under DEA auspices in Southern California, as Mexican police took on the Tijuana cartel with the occasional boomerang raid conducted with staging from Camp Pendleton.  According to an anonymous official quoted in the story, that earlier effort ended when a Mexican Attorney General's office official and two other counternarcotics officers were kidnapped, tortured, and killed.  But boomerang operations again are underway, it seems, though the details are few at this point.  One thing is clear, and worth emphasizing: these are not jointly executed operations; no US forces (DEA or military) are participating in these raids directly.   The support is in the form of logistics (the safe and secure staging area in a boomerang operation, for example) and intelligence (both collection and analysis).