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The Power Behind Transnational Criminal Organizations: An Inside Look At Mexican Drug Cartel Networks

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The ongoing drug epidemic fueled by Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations TCO is a matter of national interest that the current presidential administration has addressed in its 2017 National Security Strategy. Mexican TCOs continue to expand their cross-border operations through robust distribution networks and shared relationships with gangs located within the United States. Efforts to prevent expansion and influence have been largely unsuccessful due to the application of inappropriate strategies and lack of intelligence-sharing products. This thesis examines the factors that make up powerful Mexican TCO networks through the application of visual analytics. Exploration of power factors such as territory, violence, and relationships will lead to determining how TCOs become powerful and how they maintain their power. Our findings highlight factors and vulnerabilities that U.S. interagency organizations can use to develop their own strategies for disrupting nefarious organizations involved in cross-border illegal activities and to add to our overall understanding of TCO networks.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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