Skip to Content

Central and South American criminal groups coming to the border

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The U.S.-Mexico border is well known for being a place of immigration for people all over the world. But people who want to improve their quality of life are not the only ones making the trip to the border.

Criminal groups from different parts of the world have also made the trip, looking to expand their operations and in recent years. Expects say they are taking advantage of migration north.

Transnational criminal organizations from Mexico and other places in Central and South America have been operating on the border, doing business such as drug trafficking, human smuggling, extortion, and prostitution, according to officials.

With the recent arrival of the Venezuelan criminal group "Tren de Aragua" to the border, experts in El Paso and Juárez are concerned about the impact these organizations could have on crime.

ABC-7 spoke with Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Mari-Esther Edwards at New Mexico State University to learn about the impacts migration and gangs have had on the border in recent years.

Edwards said that whenever you look for any type of gang activity in our area, you need to look at migration.

Migrants who have left their countries of origin leave due to legitimate and illegitimate reasons, Edwards explained.

Legitimate reasons could be social reasons, violence, civil wars, death threats, etc.

But illegitimate reasons could be illegal activities, criminal acts, and seeking other criminal business on the border.

"When you look at migration, we want to look at the whole picture. You can't really just target looking at getting migration per se. There'll always be a percentage of gang members who are migrating as well because they're fleeing from the same things," said Edwards.

The impact we see on the border is an increase in criminal activity, and this is due to the larger migrant flow our sector has seen in the last 5-6 years.

U.S. Border Patrol also sent ABC-7 the following statement.

"Transnational Criminal Organizations pose a threat by attempting to smuggle criminals into our country. Dangerous criminals endanger our communities when they often continue to disregard the rule of law."

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony Scott Good
Article Topic Follows: On the Border

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Heriberto Perez

Heriberto Perez Lara reports for ABC-7 on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content