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July 15, 2024

Las Vegas Sol:

Discussion: Border security and the Mexican drug cartels

Mob Museum hosts panel of border experts

Cartel Boss

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines at a navy hangar in Mexico City, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. A senior U.S. law enforcement official said Saturday that Guzman, the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, was captured alive overnight in the beach resort town of Mazatlan.

After a spike in the number of children and families crossing the southern U.S.border earlier this year, border security has been widely discussed by politicians and pundits alike, especially in light of proposals to reform the U.S. immigration system.

Even more troublesome are reports that drug cartels have been running many of the trafficking networks to smuggle people into the United States. The wave of immigrants has tapered off over the last few months, but questions remain on the level of security at the border and the best way to address the gaps that exist.

For those interested in learning more about border issues, violence and drug cartels in Mexico and the role of U.S. law enforcement, the Mob Museum has put together a discussion on the topic.

“Border Insecurity: The Mexican Drug Cartels and Their Threat to America,” featuring a diverse panel of experts, starts at 5:30 p.m. today at the Mob Museum.

Border Insecurity: The Mexican Drug Cartels and Their Threat to America

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. reception; 6:30 p.m. program Sept. 23

WHERE: Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Ave.

COST: $25; 10% discount for Museum members


While the amount of some drugs captured crossing into the United States, such as cocaine, has dropped, according to the 2013 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary from the Department of Justice, heroin seizures along the southwest border increased 232 percent from 2008 to 2012.

The panel will offer firsthand insights into operations on both sides of the border, look at the successes and failures of enforcement and address the current salient issues affecting the region.

Chris Blatchford, an award-winning journalist who has investigated Mexican organized crime and Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, will share his insights on the drug trade and enforcement. Blatchford is author of “The Black Hand,” the chronicle of a contract killer working for the Mexican mafia.

Sylvia Longmire, former U.S. Air Force officer and a commentator and analyst on U.S/Mexico border issues, also will join the panel. Longmire is author of the book “Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences and Drones Aren’t Making us Safer,” and served as a senior intelligence analyst for the California State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center from 2005 to 2009.

Joining Blatchford and Longmire is Timothy Pratt, a journalist who has worked throughout the Americas covering public money, drug enforcement, unemployment, poverty, immigration, health care, education and north-south relations. (Full disclosure: Pratt used to report for the Las Vegas Sun.)

The presentation will be aired on C-SPAN-Book-TV.

There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, with a 10 percent discount for Mom Museum members. Tickets can be purchased online here.

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