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“A cross-border drug gang born in the prison cells of Texas has evolved into a sophisticated paramilitary killing machine that U.S. and Mexican officials suspect is responsible for thousands of assassinations here,” The Washington Post reports. “Including the recent ambush and slaying of three people linked to the U.S. consulate.” Well that sucks. But evolution isn’t just a theory. With so many criminals competing for a slice of the action, the appearance of a gun-slinging murder-for-hire niche was inevitable. And lo . . . “Officials on both sides of the border have watched as the [Barrio Azteca gang members] honed their ability to locate targets, stalk them and finally strike in brazen ambushes involving multiple chase cars, coded radio communications, coordinated blocking maneuvers and disciplined firepower by masked gunmen in body armor. Afterward, the assassins vanish, back to safe houses in the Juarez barrios or across the bridge to El Paso.” Uh-oh. Sounds . . . professional. Then again . . .

Organized crime is only as organized as it needs to be. And life is cheap south—not to mention slightly north—of Border.

The special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in El Paso, Joseph Arabit, said, ‘Our intelligence indicates that they kill frequently for a hundred dollars.’

Huh? Not that cheap. A hundred bucks won’t buy you enough ammo to ambush an armadillo—never mind a couple of reasonable radios or a police officer. Besides, there’s probably something of a labor shortage.

Artistic Assassins, or “Double A’s,” operate as contract killers for the Sinaloa cartel. Sinaloa is vying for control of billion dollar drug-trafficking routes through the Juarez-El Paso corridor.

So . . .

The theory that the carnage in Juarez is being stoked by rival gangs of contract killers — the Barrio Aztecas and the Artistic Assassins — each working for rival drug cartels makes sense to many observers.

Evolution suggests that this competition will eventually lead to accommodation or annihilation (for one of the rivals). As for destroying BOTH gangs and eliminating the Mexican drug trade, it ain’t gonna happen. Remember: nature abhors a vacuum—especially one with billions of dollars of profit ripe for the picking.

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