Mexican Cartels in Houston?

Drug related violence in Mexico has become almost a daily occurrence as cartels continue to fight each other in order to stake their claim to drug markets. Local law enforcement and politicians are concerned about some of the violence spilling over to this side of the border. They say the cartels are already here. The violence could be next. Bill Stamps reports.

Congressman Michael McCaul says Mexican drug cartels are already in South Texas and specifically in the Houston area.

“We always think about them being in Mexico, but the fact is in Harris County that we’re seeing an increased presence of the cartels and their associates. They contract with MS-13 and gangs here in Harris County.”

McCaul and law enforcement officers aren’t saying the cartel members themselves are in Harris County, it’s the ones who help them move the drugs back and forth.

“It’s no secret thought that I-10 is a corridor for them. Harris County is a distribution hub for the drugs that they bring in. Our concern is that with that increased presence, we’re going to see more increased violence, and so that’s what the sheriff and I working together with a good partnership are trying to avoid happening.”

The threat of cross border violence has become such an issue in South Texas that McCaul and fellow Congressman Francisco Canseco of San Antonio introduced a bill this month called the Border Violence Recognition Act. The lawmakers say the Obama administration and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano aren’t taking the issue seriously. His bill would help define what current crimes are actually spillover crimes from Mexico.

This is Canseco at a recent news conference.

“The Department of Homeland Security will be required to report to the congress of the United States on what it finds regarding the cross border violence. Law enforcement and policy makers can’t solve problems if we don’t have the right information.”

Congressman McCaul says the U.S. must be more proactive. With Harris County under a hiring freeze, McCaul plans to ask the Department of Justice for grant money to pay for more  deputies. Those deputies will be used to combat the cartel drug gangs.

“Fortunately, we haven’t seen the gruesome tactics that we’ve seen in Mexico: the decapitations, burning people alive and we don’t want to see that happen here, so we’re doing everything in our power to make sure that doesn’t happen here in Houston.”

McCaul recently flew to Mexico and met with President Calderon to discuss the war on drugs. McCaul believes the U.S. should help Mexico the way it helped Columbia its war against the cartels including the infamous Pablo Escobar.