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"Basically, the cartels are recruiting U.S. street gangs to create a binational army of killers," says Blancornelas.
So far, there is no concrete evidence of Arizona gangs being directly recruited by operatives of Mexican cartels.
Blancornelas expects that to change.
"It would only make sense as a next step," he says. "This is what they do. What moves drugs on the streets of America this morning is a direct extension of the cartels in Mexico. They like to put their own people in place to oversee things, yes, but they like to use the natural criminal resources of the U.S. as well.
"All we see leads us to a simple conclusion: As long as Americans demand drugs, there will be a supply from Mexico, and blood will spill on both sides of the border."
See previous stories in the Hard Core series here.Contact David Holthouse at his online address: firstname.lastname@example.org