Mexican Drug Cartels Penetrate Houston


The order was clear: Kill the guy in the Astros jersey. In a case of mistaken identity, Jose Perez ended up dead, says the Houston Chronicle. The intended target – the Houston-based head of a Mexican drug cartel cell pumping millions of dollars of cocaine into the city – walked away. Perez, 27, was a working guy, out getting dinner on a Friday with his wife and young children at a seafood restaurant. The assassination gone awry point to the perilous presence of Mexican organized crime and how cartel violence has seeped into the city. “It is here and it has been here, but people don't want to listen,” Rick Moreno, a Houston police homicide investigator working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI, said of the cartels' presence in Houston. “It is so far-reaching.”

Arrests came in December when police and federal agents got a break as they charted the relationship and rivalries between at least five cartel cells operating in Houston. A rogue's gallery of about 100 names and mug shots taken at Texas jails and morgues offers a blueprint for Mexican organized crime. Houston has long been a major staging ground for importing illegal drugs from Mexico and shipping them to the rest of the U.S., but a Department of Justice report notes it is one of 230 cities where cartels maintain distribution networks and supply lines.

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