OTR Interviews

Mexican cartels branching out to Europe

ICE, law enforcement are not worried about just drug cartels in Mexico anymore


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is the ignored crisis. We have been telling you this almost nightly "On the Record." We have taken you to Mexico. Mexican cartels are vicious, violent and growing out of control. It is no longer a war in Mexico saving their citizens and spilling onto our streets. Tonight, we can report that they are in Europe, in Britain, France, and the Netherlands.

Oscar Hagelsieb is a U.S. homeland security special agent. He joins us. Good evening, sir. And tell me, am I right that these Mexican cartels have now spread to Europe?

OSCAR HAGELSIEB, HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS: Yes, you are correct. We have intelligence and our sources have indicated that they have spread to Europe, including England, the Netherlands, France, and as far away as Africa, and in the Middle East.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is being done, if anything? I understand that the British are talking to you -- is that right, sir?

HAGELSIEB: Yes. We have established the contact with the British authorities, specifically, this organized crime agency. The British have visited us here in El Paso to see how we tackle the cartels. We have experience investigating high-level cartel members all over the world. We have offices all over the world. So they have reached out to us and we are now beginning to share intelligence and information.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you were to compare a year ago with right now, has it gotten better, the control over the cartels, or are the cartels grown and spread out over the world in a year?

HAGELSIEB: Compared to a year, and I point back to my time in Mexico, I believe that the cartels have grown in violence and in tactics and ruthlessness. Right now what we see is that this cartel violence has taken hold. We attribute to that perhaps the cartels are in a wait-and-see posture with an election coming up. They are trying to determine if the new administration will be as vigorous in pursuing them as the Calderon administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are talking about the administration in Mexico. You are not referring to our election in the United States, right?

HAGELSIEB: No. Exactly. I am referring to the Mexican elections.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do the British seem to have the same level of urgency or more of a greater level of urgency to this problem than the Americans? Or are they both on the same page?

HAGELSIEB: I think we are both on the same page. The only difference is that they haven't been exposed to these kinds of investigations. They have never had to deal with the ruthlessness of the Mexican cartels and to how they operate. So they took this opportunity to communicate with us to see exactly what our methods are, to investigate and dismantle them. We have done this for years. We have investigated the cartels for numerous years in the United States and Mexico. So who better to teach them our methods than us?

VAN SUSTEREN: When you talk about the cartels spreading to Europe, are you talking about a distribution network for their drugs? Or are you also including the vicious violence that we see -- that we have heard about in Mexico, like beheadings and tortures? Is that also spreading to Europe?

HAGELSIEB: Well, from what we have gathered from our intelligence is that right now what spread to Europe is a distribution network. Specifically the Sinaloa cartel has been very adept at doing that and setting up distribution networks throughout Europe. They don't have much competition there, so you won't see the level of violence that there is in Mexico where they are battling against each other for the lucrative wraps.

So at this point, what Europe and anybody else in Africa, the Middle East should be concerned is that they set up and entrench themselves in the society to launder money and try to legitimize their illicit money. And at this point, we don't foresee the violence spreading there, but it has the potential. For example, we see how lucrative the distribution is in Europe, who is to say they don't muscle there way over there and continue the violence there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Agent, thank you and good luck, sir.

HAGELSIEB: Thank you.