Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Mexican Drug Cartels Are A National Security Issue

By Grace Wyler
Business Insider

The U.S. and Mexico have categorically rejected a recent report from the high-profile Global Commission on Drugs, which claims that the U.S.-led war on drugs is a colossal -- and costly -- failure.

The report -- signed by world leaders including former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana -- argues that harsh drug policies have primarily resulted in the proliferation of organized crime, corruption, and mass criminalization, while failing to substantially reduce illegal drug use. It advocates addressing illegal drug use as a public health issue rather than a crime problem, with an emphasis on “legal regulation” and treatment over punishment.

Despite the panel’s big-name cachet, the U.S. and Mexico have indicated that they have no intention of abandoning their strategies for fighting the drug war, which has claimed more than 40,000 Mexican lives since December 2006. In a statement last week, the Obama administration claimed that the fight against illegal drugs is working.

And the White House is actually looking to increase funding for its war on drugs. The president’s 2012 budget asks for $26.2 billion for drug control, a 7.9% increase from 2011 that includes $1.7 billion to help Mexico fight the cartels.

Some border state politicians and policymakers argue that those funds don’t go far enough. They warn that if the U.S. doesn’t do more -- commit more National Guard troops, deploy more drones, build higher fences -- Mexico’s escalating drug violence will “spill over” the border.

Mexico's powerful criminal organizations have extensive -- and deeply rooted -- networks across the U.S.. The cartels have already put tremendous strain on the US criminal justice system and law enforcement, and now threaten to jeopardize U.S. trade, compromise the integrity of our financial systems and destabilize our already-weak border.

The Mexican drug cartels are some of the most extensive and successful organized crime networks in history. They are sophisticated, transglobal criminal enterprises that control access to illegal supply routes across the Western Hemisphere. There is growing evidence that their influence is expanding; the cartels are reportedly making inroads in Europe, Africa, Australia and and South Asia. Mexico’s leading newspaper, El Universal, Mexico’s leading newspaper, reports that the cartels are now facilitating production and smuggling of Afghan heroin.

Cartel operations are not limited to the drug trade. Mexico’s organized crime gangs have diversified into other illegal enterprises, like human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and movie and music piracy. PEMEX, Mexico’s state-run oil company, says the gangs stole 2.16 million barrels of fuel in 2010 alone.

Cartel activities extend to legitimate industries as well; in many cases, the gangs use the pathways of the global free trade system to smuggle drugs along with shipments of everything from tiles to Chinese-made toys. The Sinaloa Cartel even reportedly controls a huge share of Mexico’s avocado industry.

Overall, the Mexican cartels generate about $38 billion annually, according to U.S. government estimates. And that money isn’t crossing the border in a suitcase. The gangs launder the money through a network of international banks, using the global financial system like any other multinational corporation. Last year, Wachovia was found to have allowed $378.4 billion in laundered Sinaloa Cartel funds to pass through its accounts unchecked. The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly working on a case against HSBC bankers who allegedly laundered money for Mexico’s drug gangs.

So far, the U.S. has been virtually powerless to stop the proliferation of Mexico’s cartel networks, even as the organizations penetrate deeper into the country. Mexican drug trafficking organizations are now deeply embedded in cities across the U.S.

Unlike their Colombian predecessors, Mexican drug trafficking organizations outsource operations to established criminal groups, mainly Hispanic street and prison gangs like the El Salvadorean Mara Salvatrucha and the Mexican Mafia. As a result, the cartels' presence is ubiquitous in American inner cities and penitentiaries. The capos control this vast, decentralized network from Mexico, making it nearly impossible for U.S. law enforcement to break up the organizations.

Given the vast scope of Mexican cartel networks, the U.S. was, in many ways, right to dismiss the Global Commission on Drug Policy’s report as too narrow in its purview. The drug trade -- and the powerful criminal organizations that control it -- has become a national security problem, and needs to be dealt with as such.

But the report’s ultimate conclusion is correct: After four decades, it is clear that the drug war has failed. The U.S. needs a new approach that treats illegal drug trafficking and abuse not as a moral issue, but as a significant threat to domestic security and regional stability.


  1. It is curious that the WhiteHouse are looking to get more funds for it. Its silly. I did think Obama really had a brain. In many ways I think many US Politicians DO want to change, but won't be elected if they don't go with the status quo. I hope American Politics change one day!

  2. Where in the world is there an effective Drug policy?? Only one place that I know of CHINA. OH MY GOD,Human Rights people would shit,and it will never happen so WHAT NOW ??

  3. Sounds like it has become to ingraind and starting to become another corporation , to many heads to the beast.

  4. Obomber wants to rush form the ...uh... 'successes' of the US wars in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya into having yet another 'success' in Mexico.

    When this finally all blows up big in our faces big time, we'll probably have a currency as valueless as the old Mexican pesos became. This constant elite stupidity, arrogance, and venality is bankrupting us as a country. And like always, they will continue to ask the poorer classes to pay for it all.

  5. There are too many vested - business - interests in the US, who are profiting from "The War On Drugs" for anything to change. It doesn't make any difference who the POTUS is, or which political party he is from.

  6. agree with Ardent..

    I liked this article. Drugs will never go away people. People are addicted and buy them. Someone has to sell them. Only thing will happen is change up again and again. Used to be coloumbians. Now its mexicans. Push too hard and it will be the same shit from El Salvador or some other place.

    On the large scale of things, even looking past Mexico and the current cartel situation, drugs are here to stay people. The fact stands that drugs are cheaper and more potent and there is more quanity and all that my friends = WAR ON DRUGS FAIL

    I know the united states uses war as a first option to change whatever we see fit, but war isn't always the best option.

    war here war there war everywhere.

    shit, typing all this makes me tired. I'm gonna go pack a bowl and relax.*

    *Drugs are here to stay, point well taken.

  7. @oneclick,

    First of all, anybody who openly agrees with "Tar'dent" isn't right in the head! Secondly, it's obvious your a drug user, hence your pro-legalization stance, but keep dreaming asshole..the United States will never legalize drugs. Your little recreational drug use is the core of the problem and I'm sure it will catch up to you in the end.

  8. @Ardent,

    Are you living in the United States or Mexico? Your post here, seems to indicate your living in the United States but I could of sworn on another post, when you were dueling it out with "lil brito" you stated you resided in Mexico? Just curious..

  9. yeah ..i noticed that as well...also first he says he lives in texas ..then colorado? san fran?...

    and Obama was still in high school when somalia happened

    and FYI..the old mexican peso was the standard that the american dollar was based on..actually at one time the peso was accepted more widely and considered a more stable currency than the dollar...including inside the USA... whence the .."legal currency for all debts public and private"

    i am not sure about t'ards location ...but i am sure that he is an idiot

  10. Ardent, your political agenda is showing...:)

    Comments like "Obomber" are not helpful. You seem to ignore the facts that the Merida Initiative was started and funded under President Bush. Additionally, aid to Mexico to fight cartels (both monetary and intelligence) started decades ago.

    You may agree or disagree with the policy but to try to put the blame on any one President is ludicrous. A President is just a steward of the highest office for a few years at a time. Problems that flare up are usually years or decades in the making.

    As for any action, you don't worry about your ability to succeed. You do what is right because it is right.

    As an armchair quarterback, Ardent (and the rest of us) are in an easy position to criticize after the fact, without actually DOING anything. But, please, at least get your facts straight before you spout off.

    Oh, and by the way, I DO live in Mexico, unlike Ardent, who just talks like he does

  11. yeap..whoever the pres is he is subject to the dual forces of the moneylenders and an easily manipulated public...after he is elected ..he is shown the skulls at yale ...and there is a place for him..if he dosen't play ball

    Obama has got to walk right or he faces the possibility of going down in history as Americas first dead black/white pres

    and like anon sed is easy for us to call the shots from the sofa..

    remember changoboy bush and doctor deth cheney..i do...Obama is an improvement...

    but as we all know the powers behind the throne are gonna keep us at each others throats..along racial and class lines ..and warring against the non sycophant Muslim people ...Mexico is just a part of the screw plan...

  12. if the united states doesnt want to legalize drugs then fine, but the better option is still abondoning this "war on drugs" which has failed since it began, and decriminalize drugs in the united states. I can understand punishing people that are harming other people, but why are you punishing people that are doing harm to themselves?

  13. They forgot to mention that mexican cartels are not only doing business with hispanic street gangs and the mexican prison mafia they also supplying the black street gangs and theres a few of them hustleing cocaine,heroin,crystal high grade meth,and weed the cartels are also doing business with american motorcycle gangs like the bandidos,hellsangles,etc i also saw a program where they interviewed the aryan brotherhood there also in with the cartels getting coke and crystal meth from them its all about the money as to the article saying the mexican cartels being one of the most successful organized crime networks in history of this so called earth no doubt in that seems el mayo and el chapo and other cartel leaders are making history mexicans reaching triumph rip Pancho Villa Viva mi raza

  14. God gave me the right to light my Bong!!!!

    why is the State taking my right away?
    If God had never wanted me to get stoned he would have never grown the shit!!!!!!!
    Viva La Verde!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Anonymous 12:34 PM, I wrote a long reply to you here, but evidently it will not be allowed to appear???? I never told anybody that I live in Mexico contrary to what you just said.

    'Oh, and by the way, I DO live in Mexico, unlike Ardent, who just talks like he does.'

    I live in Colorado though some of my wife's family lives in your hot hot miserable city of Monterrey and in Tamaulipas.


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