Department of Justice Says Mexican Cartels Operating in More Than 1,000 U.S. Cities

Two Years Ago, DoJ Said Cartels Were in 230 U.S. Cities 

WASHINGTON, DC -- A newly released report by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that Mexican drug cartels are rapidly gaining ground inside the United States, despite expensive efforts by the government to crack down on trafficking. In light of the findings, a group of border patrol agents, police officers and judges is saying that it is time to legalize and regulate drugs in order to de-fund the cartels that make so much money from the illicit drug market.

"As someone who fought on the front lines of the failed 'war on drugs' for decades it is really no surprise to me that our prohibition policy isn't helping to achieve any reduction in drug trafficking," said Terry Nelson, a board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a retired U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent. "We should have learned this lesson decades ago with alcohol prohibition, but let's hope that the data in this new government report helps more members of Congress and Obama administration officials to realize that their 'drug war' strategy is an abysmal failure and that it's time for a new direction." 

The DoJ report, the 2011 National Drug Threat Assessment, says that Mexican criminal organizations have set up shop in more than a thousand U.S. cities, a sharp rise from the 230 cities reported in the 2009 assessment. The new report also says that, "The threat posed by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs will not abate in the near term and may increase." 

In a separate recently leaked memo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection admits that enforcement operations against the cartels have no "discernible impact on drug flows."  

"Innocent civilians and hardworking law enforcement officers are dying every day because of our failed policies," said Nelson. "The fact that we keep ramping up the 'drug war' instead of changing course is unconscionable."

The 2011 National Drug Threat Assessment can be found at

The leaked memo from U.S. Customs and Border Protection can be found at

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at

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Tom Angell, Media Relations Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
phone: (415) 488-6615 or (202) 557-4979 
San Francisco, CA

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