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Examining the Rise in Mexican Drug Cartel Related Violence

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Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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From 2006 through 2012, Mexico witnessed an unprecedented rise in drug cartel-related violence within its borders. When local police were unable to restore security, the Mexican government responded with a direct assault on the cartels employing both federal police and the military to restore order. Despite the government efforts, the levels of violence continued to escalate. The border region with the United States was the center for violence as cartels fought for control over smuggling routes, and Ciudad Juarez was the border city who saw the highest murder rates. These facts raise the question What factors caused the rise in cartel-related violence in Mexico from 2006 to 2012 This study analyzes the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez over three time periods that include the Fox, Calderon, and Nieto Presidencies and completes a comparative analysis of cartel organization, local and federal government actions, and outside influences to determine the causes of the increased violence. The results show ineffective policing and governance at the local level followed by the failed kingpin strategy of the Calderon administration compounded the ongoing war between the drug cartels and led to the exponential rise in cartel-related violence during the period.

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