Mexican Cartels Connected to Central Valley

March 26, 2009 11:53:52 PM PDT
Mexican Drug Cartels are behind methamphetamine labs in the Central Valley, and Marijuana farms in the Sierra. Bob Pennel Director of the State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement office in Fresno says they are well entrenched here. "One thing about these organizations. They are family based. And a lot of them have family members and people that have been in the Central Valley for decades. And they have smuggling routes they have everything here," said Pennel.

The cartels try to maintain a low profile here. But Pennel says there's a threat the violence and kidnapping that has gripped Mexico will spread here.

Pennel said, "But if you were to think that someone could not get kidnapped here in the Central Valley and taken back to Mexico, you're wrong. It could easily happen here." Pennel believes there may well be many local unreported kidnappings that have originated in Mexico.

Alfredo Cueller, is a professor at Fresno State and a native of Mexico. As a delegate to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, He travels there often. He advises caution to anyone visiting Mexico. "To be honest, yes. I do not go out at night anymore. I am very careful where I am staying," said Cueller.

While most of the violence is in the border areas Pennel notes the drug wars are underway all over the country.

"Tourists can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Pennel.

It's not just drug wars. Mexico's poverty and widespread corruption in law enforcement that Cuellar says makes it easier than ever to become a victim.

Eight out of ten crimes in Mexico are never solved. So, it is a good risk for anybody to become a criminal because the chances of them being caught are minimal."

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