Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Five Years Of War: What Has Changed?

Saturday, April 21, 2012 |

A submission

It’s been five years since President Felipe Calderon began a clampdown on the Mexican drug cartels that have been tearing the country apart. Troops have been sent into a variety of different Mexican states, and bloody battles have become commonplace in many parts of the country. The government that took power in 2006 vowed to take the cartels apart, and bring an end to the bribery and corruption within the police and government. As it stands now, the cartels are still getting drugs into America, and murder victims are being found every day. They are taking advantage of every possible way to keep their businesses running, and deadly violence is a daily part of their lives.

Multi-Billion Dollar Industry
It’s estimated that around $40 billion dollars a year is spent on drugs by Americans, and all the cartels want a piece of it. The National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) 2011 revealed that: ‘Mexican Based TCOs were operating in more than a thousand U.S cities during 2009 and 2010.’ It’s one thing getting the drugs into the United States, but they also need to bring the money back. Moving the money back into Mexico is not always easy, because trying to send hundreds of thousands of dollars through a money transfer would arouse suspicion. Instead the cartels are coming up with all sorts of new ways to outsmart the authorities. Large amounts of bulk cash are smuggled from the US back in to Mexico, and while some does get seized, it is only a fraction of the total amount of drug money destined to the cartels that supply the US illicit drug markets. The NDTA 2011 stated that ‘bulk cash seizures totaled $798 million from January 2008 through August 2010.’

Increase In Drug-Related Deaths
The fight back against the drug cartels in Mexico was supposed to bring an end of gang violence and crime, but since 2006 the number of drug-related murders has just kept rising. The national figures for murders linked to organized crime shed some light on how ineffective Mexican police and troops have been in preventing the rise in violence. In 2006, murders linked to organized crime throughout Mexico were estimated to be just below 3,000, and by 2010 almost 3,000 murders were committed in the City of Ciudad Juarez alone. From 2009 to 2010, the total number of cartel-related murders in Mexico rose a staggering 60%, from just below 10,000 to over 15,000. 2011 saw a much smaller rise, but the latest figures released by Mexican officials estimate that 16,700 deaths occurred due to the Mexico drug war last year. On average, that’s 1392 a month, 348 a week, or 50 a day.

The Rise Of Extortion Rackets
One surprising and scary result of the on-going drug war in Mexico is a rise in extortion rackets. This might seem less important than the thousands of people being killed every year, but it poses a great risk to the general public in Mexico. Over the last five years smaller drug cartels have been squeezed out of the business and now it seems there are only two that can successfully operate large drug-trafficking operations into the Unites States. The Pacific Cartel and Los Zetas are now the big two, and so smaller cartels and other criminal cells have changed tactics. Instead of trying to compete with the big two in terms of drug smuggling, they have looked inwards to see where they can generate an income. In an ironic situation, the increase in violence and arrest of cartel leaders has led to domestic mafias specializing solely in extortion. The climate of unpredictable violence between cartels, and the inability of local law enforcement to protect the public has led to people in Mexico paying gangs regular protection money in the hope of staying safe.

What The Future Holds
The current state of Mexico suggests that the drug war is not stopping the cartels. Recently the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, went on the record to defend the American policy that supports the Mexican drug war. Insisting that is was not a failure, she was quizzed by the Mexican Interior Minister, Alejandro Poire, about why Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, the leader of one of Mexico’s largest and most powerful cartels had not been captured yet. He was arrested and incarcerated in 1993, but 8 years later he managed to escape, and now the US are offering a $5 million bounty for his capture. Her reply was: 'It took us 10 years to find Osama Bin Laden and we found him.' With the Mexican presidential elections coming up in July, President Felipe Calderon does not have years, but only months, to achieve a break through that will boost his plummeting popularity ratings.

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34 Borderland Beat Comments:

PUEBLO said...

i thought the beltran-leyvas, CJNG and Gulf still send bulk shipments of coke into the U.S., if anything it's the Zetas that still nickel and dime compared to everyone else, they don't have a reliable coke connection, so they rely on others and even then its small compared to other cartels.

Anonymous said...

Why was there more peace with President Fox??

Anonymous said...

All the billions of dollars thats coming back into mexico there is someone who wants to get their hands on some of that thats were the zetas come in they rob and extort the business thats is being fronted by the cartels.

Anonymous said...

kiero cokaine!!!

Anonymous said...

I ask myself "Why is Poire quizzing Napolitano on why el Chapo has not been captured?" Ok so we got Napolitano's answer, which actually should have been " Because el Chapo is protected by corrupt officials"........so, what is your answer Mr. Poire, why hasn't el Chapo been arrested??.......I along with other Mexican-American's would love to know WHY??

Anonymous said...

Well Buggs, Are You saying that attacking Gangsters,Narcos,Gangs,kidnappers,etc. MADE CRIME IN MEXICO WORSE?? What would Mexico be like if the President had sidestepped the issus,left things alone,are you saying that the CRIMINALS would have not taken advantage of a free reign?? The Mexican govt is responsible for the inter gang wars of Mexican Narco gangs?? The USA is responsible for Law Enforcement in Mexico( Catching Chapo) ?? Extortion Rackets grew because of the drug war?? Is Mexico incapable of being a responsible stable productive State where interference with the Criminal Culture is a No No ?? Can Mexico Police itself at all,will it ever be able to? if so WHEN?? Will the PRI help make Mexico a Safer Place where business and society can prosper? or will the heart of Mexico just Rot even More?

Anonymous said...

the only thing has change is the cartels are making even more money as the us economy goes down the drain and "Mexico Proves their how incompetent their intelligence service is by only being able to catch a few most wanted drug lords from the smaller cartels" BLO LFM

Anonymous said...

Who wrote this article?

Anonymous said...

"The current state of Mexico suggests that the drug war is not stopping the cartels. "

Because they are not KILLING enough of the bastards!

Anonymous said...

Corruption exists all the way up to Calderon. Mexican presidents are not kings. The whole "political establishment" surrounding the president is rotten. The next Mexican president will continue to be just a corrupt. Pobrecito Mexico!! I hope they all enjoy their dirty money on earth, because it will be useless in HELL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How many more decades does the "war on drugs" have to continue before it is declared LOST! When you are dealing with $40billion/year there are too many participants. DHS, DEA, ATF, etc.are more of the problems than the solutions.It is well past the time for a different approach. The billions provide for too widespread corruption in all government agencies.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:30 PM There seems to be a consensus of uninformed people like yourself on this site. The Zetas are the predominant cartel in some of the South American countries that produce cocaine. More over, they own the on land routes through South America and additionally through Mexico to the biggest trucking port into the US of all the ports, Nuevo Laredo. They have fine tune the art of street drug dealing in Mexico so there is no cost to the cartel to pay it's employees, and they are controlling their supplies in the US and using their people to sell their drugs in the US at the street level. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin are a rocks throw from Nuevo Laredo and those metroplexes have upwards of 20 million people combines and are thriving more than anywhere else in the US, economically. The Zetas and their affiliated street gangs are moving and shaking and they are fearless. Your assumption that the Zetas are nickel and dime could not have been more off than calling the north pole the south pole. They are about the business of crime. They are allied with other major northern Mexico cartels that are just waiting for the elections to occur and then they will wipe out the southern cartels that have had a luxury ride sponsored by Calderon for 5 years. Calderon is a snake and a politician and will sell his cartel down the river in the end though. After this, we will see some peace in Mexico. The South American drug cartels are formed from military and ex-military personnel just like the Zetas. They understand each other. Some of the heroin growing areas in Mexico are controlled by them too. I do not know the Zetas status on amphetamine production. As far as that goes, they are similar to the Juarez Cartel, they keep their mouths shut about their operation, sources, production and distribution of all their drugs. Unlike the Sinaloa Cartel.

Anonymous said...

After president Reagan declared war on drugs 20 years ago, what have changed??????

Anonymous said...

.
Where there is big money, Loss of Control of one's GREED sets in:

- what they never mention in any articles is WHAT PLANS such organizations had BEFORE the war on them started. I would say Increase Business Return$, Expand business $ize, $trengthen business & knock out the competition, Hijack & start trying to TAKE OVER GOVERNMENT, little tings like dat.

Where there is big money, loss of control of one's GREEDY Appetite sets in.
.

Anonymous said...

Corruption in Mexico is rampant, that's why drug is produced, processed an crossed to USA. But my questions are: How come the drug moves all over the USA without being noticed by the authorities? And when the americans are going to stop spending 40 billions a year in drugs?
Is the american people a country of drug adicts?

Anonymous said...

Americans leaders are going down in history as some of the most stupid people in the world. They are throwing away billions of dollars to strengthen Mexican cartels which in the long run will finance a Mexican style revolution here in the USA.

Anonymous said...

A change? So what are we expecting? An End War.

Anonymous said...

Smaller cartels? LFM and BLO were on the top they both at they're decline were much larger and powerful than other cartels such as CDG AFO and CJNG

Anonymous said...

Greed and corruption have taken over the entire world. This civilization needs to be "cleaned up". Something huge, of epic proportions is near. Just remember the Egyptians, the Romans, Atlantis, etc.....By acts of God or self-destruction, those civilizations are gone. Mother Earth goes through "cleansing" phases periodically. Will you be ready?

Anonymous said...

Honestly after all these years very little has actually changed, sure the players are different now but the cause of the war is between the cri inal groups that operate in Mexico. Sure the government has created power vacuums that cause the war between the cartels but many people think it's the Los Zetas that are the aggressors but they are not. The cause of this. Violence mostly relies with the Sinaloa Cartel in my opinion. They have attacked and have destroyed the pact between the cartels, and now the cartels have commercialized the sale of drugs in Mexico causing more violence because the lower cells seem to have control over it. Most of the victims in the drug war are bottom level drug dealers and halcones, the only thing that has caused from this drug war. Is show the world how lawless ans corrupt are the local and state government with impunity and injustice foe the poor.

Anonymous said...

Itz going to be a surprized!

Anonymous said...

I know I am.

Anonymous said...

Because vicente fox was part of the PAN presidential party and they tend to make a truce with the drug cartels in exchange for peace, where each drug cartel sticks to their own territory.

Anonymous said...

You people keep thinking it's JUST drugs and JUST the US. These groups are operating all over there world doing a varaity of horrible crimes, selling drugs of which is the least in my opinion. Extortion, kidnapping, forced prostitution are far worse, and seems some cartels more than others are making this their MO.........

Read the article on www.insightcrime.org about Medican Cartels and sex trafficing in Agentina, terrible

Anonymous said...

1. Mexico needs to put at least 25% of the money spent on drug war/military, into parks and sports programs/trades training in the poorest neighborhoods. Give the young people alternatives to the criminal life, so it won't be so easy for the cartel to use them as human fodder. 2. Allow law abiding citizens to obtain firearms to protect themselves. 3. Bring back the death penalty, reserved only for mass murderers and heads of cartels. 4. Institute (temporary) marshal law to the highest degree, removing all local and state police 5. National curfews for the young. 6. Allow for juveniles, to be tried as adults more easily, based on the crime. 6. More intelligence based crime fighting ie: Investigate incomes/taxes of super wealthy, ie: mansions in Culiacan etc. America needs to deal with its dependence on drugs, alcohol, anti-depressants...for such a prosperous nation, they sure are a depressed bunch. But that's a WHOLE 'nother problem.

Anonymous said...

I think nixon declared war on drugs

Anonymous said...

There will always be drugs, always be criminals, THE BEST THAT CAN BE DONE IS SEVERE SUPRESSION, SUPRESSION is a VICTORY, Got it, That is a win!!

Anonymous said...

Where does this $40 billion/yr figure come from?
It can't be right.

There are 380 million Americans. If we assumed something like crazy 1 out of 5 (20%) Americans is a regular drug user, this means each spends $288 per year on drugs. per user or $0.77 per day.

US research indicates that, especially for harder, more addictive drugs, the *daily* spend can be between $50 and $100 per day! That's an outlay of between $18K and $35K per year.

I could be wrong, but $40 billion per year just seems way understated.

Anonymous said...

1 out of 5 Americans is not a regular illegal drug user...that is absurd.

PAN, if elected, will bring back peace to Mexico at a high cost...the cost of more corruption.

Anonymous said...

What has changed? The lights have been turned on and the roaches are revealed. The corrupt government has been revealed. The evil cartels have been revealed, the whole stinking mess has been opened for everyone to see. The whole corrupt/mordida way oy of life in Mexico has been revealed. This is not the fault of the Mexican President. He is an idiot and not worthy of naming; however, he did at least have the balls to confront this one way or another. Be he an incompetent fool or not, he came along at a time when the zetas and the rest boiled to the surface. The U.S. under Obama is becoming as corrupt as the Mexicans. There will be no place to seek refuge. It will be on and our children will be thrust into this hell.

Anonymous said...

04/23 11:54AM,
I agree with you...your wrong!

Anonymous said...

The figure of 40 billion dollar represents the estimated amount of money from illegal U.S. drug use that gets repatriated back to Mexico. At least another 70 billion dollars from it is estimated to stay in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

So $40 billion gets repatriated to Mexico, and the $70 billion stays in the US of a $110 billion market. Assuming a ridiculous 20% of US population buys drugs (from Mexico), that'd represent a $921 per year habit. That's not consistent with what US law enforcement has long reported (e.g. $20 to $100/day habitual drug use expenditure).

Assuming a smaller number of US drug users, for the math to even work, this market would have to be much, much bigger than just US$110 billion.

Anonymous said...

THEIR IS ONLY ONE WAY TO GO BACK TO THE GOOD OL MEXICAN DAYS IF THAT'S HOW YOU PUT IT MORE CORRUPTION!!!

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