by Yaqui republished from Calgary Sun
Canada's border guardians have reason to fear the elimination of visa requirement for Mexico will lead to an influx of drug cartel operatives, says a former DEA agent.
But while the Liberal government action on visas will ease the way for drug traffickers, Mike Vigil said Canada's already ripe for the ruthless cartels.
"It will definitely be a factor but not the only factor," said Vigil, who battled Mexican drug cartels in the Latin American country for 13 years, four of them along the border with the U.S.
Compared to that border, the one shared by Canada and the U.S. is porous and easy to exploit by drug cartels who are relentless in their quest for new markets, he said.
"The Mexican cartels are very similar to a state army that probes for weaknesses and then exploits them," he said.
"They'll easily be able to spread their chemicals into Canada — you have a large border that's easily penetrated."
In a document obtained by Postmedia, officials with the Canada Border Services Agency say lifting the visa requirement will enable the traffickers to "establish or strengthen existing cartel smuggling chains."
It says they expect those criminal gangs to recruit airport and marine port workers to help with smuggling and distributing drugs.
Elements of two of the organizations — the Sinaloan and Jalisco cartels — are present in Canada now, focused mainly on distributing more profitable drugs like crystal meth, heroin and cocaine, said Vigil.
And he said the CBSA's citing the cartels' intention to woo locals to their cause is well-founded.
"Particularly the Sinaloa Cartel are very good at recruiting, like ISIS," said Vigil, who's authored two books based on his experiences, including Metal Coffins.
"They use images of posing with lions, cheetahs, Lamborghinis, gold, beautiful women to entice," said Vigil.
Postmedia has already reported the fact criminal gangs have been operating at the Port of Vancouver.
Those Mexican-based drug gangs already operate in 600 U.S. cities and 40 countries with Canada's multi-cultural make-up an advantage in recruiting, camouflaging and operating, he said.
"Not only do they export drugs, they export violence," he said.
Vigil said he's experienced that violence intimately, surviving several shootouts with cartel members including one where he narrowly cheated death while a policeman next to him was killed in the 1980s.
"The trafficker fired two shots that missed me and I killed him," he said.
Last year Hector Armondo Chavez, a man linked by U.S. federal officials to Mexican drug cartels, was extradited from Alberta to Colorado, ending a five-year, cross-border tug-of-war.