Author Biography

Sylvia M. Longmire is a former Air Force captain and Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. During her eight years with AFOSI, she conducted numerous criminal investigations and specialized in counterintelligence, counterespionage, and force protection analysis. During her final assignment at Headquarters AFOSI (2003–2005), she served as the Latin America Desk Officer and as an analyst covering issues in the US Southern Command area of responsibility. Ms. Longmire was medically retired from the Air Force in June 2005, and briefly served as the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Tom Green County, Texas, while her husband was assigned to Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. Since December 2005, Ms. Longmire has served as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for CRA, Inc. in Sacramento, California. Her current focus includes southwest border issues, Mara Salvatrucha, and Latin American terrorist groups. Ms. Longmire received a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Florida International University in 1996 and a Master's of Arts degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from University of South Florida in 2003.

Lt. John P. Longmire is an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. During his assignment to the 572d Contingency Response Group at Travis Air Force Base, California, he provided force protection analysis and training support for Air Force bare base operations. He is currently assigned to the 60th Operational Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, where he works in threat and risk mitigation in addition to supporting installation anti-terrorism initiatives. Lieutenant Longmire received Bachelor's of Arts degrees in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the College of William and Mary in 2001 and a Master's of Arts degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from University of South Florida in 2004.



Subject Area Keywords

Gangs and criminal organizations, Latin America, Mexico, Narcotics trafficking, Terrorism / counterterrorism, Transnational crime


Mexican drug traffickers are more than criminals. They are terrorists. And that's not hyperbole. The tactics, strategy, organization, and even (to a limited extent) the goals of the Mexican drug cartels are all perfectly consistent with those of recognized terrorist organizations. Admittedly, the cartels lack the motivating political or religious ideology most terrorist groups display, and some argue this precludes the application of the "terrorist" label. However, we will show this objection is inclusive at best. Were the United States government to formally recognize the Mexican cartels as the terrorists they are—or at least hybrid organizations that employ terrorist tactics—a more effective range of options would become available for combating the cartels and curtailing the violence that todayengulfs the US/Mexico borderlands.