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

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mexico Gangs Spread Tentacles Abroad

Mexico's drug gangs are increasingly developing ties to mafias around the world, from Japan to India, Russia, and Western Europe.

Contralinea's map of Mexican drug gang connections abroad

Written by Patrick Corcoran
In Sight

Mexico's drug gangs have exploded into a frenzy of violence in recent years. Less visible, but just as significant, is their increased power in the international drug market, and connections to foreign criminal organizations. As Contralinea reports, while Mexican groups like the Sinaloa Cartel have long had close links with Colombian cocaine suppliers and U.S. drug wholesalers, they are now establishing their presence across the world. In the process, they are carving out links with some of the most established groups in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent.

While reports of Mexican groups being mixed up in drug rings in places as far afield as Malaysia and West Africa is nothing new, recent evidence points to a more substantial, enduring presence in strategically important foreign nations. Not only are they buying and selling large shipments of cocaine, they are setting up shop in local retail markets and carving out toeholds in newly important regions like West Africa and India.

The “Mexicanization” of the international drug trade has an impact on Mexico. For the governmental agencies charged with combating these gangs it is bad news. Increased profits and new sanctuaries abroad can reduce the gangs’ vulnerability to local prosecutions, while also increasing their financial capacity to corrupt. Indeed, one source contacted by Contralinea speculated that the expansion of Mexican drug gangs is being orchestrated by legitimate government office-holders, though he offered zero evidence to support such a charge.

The following is InSight's translation of extracts from the report.

Their bilateral investigations [by Italian and American authorities] have revealed that the Gulf Cartel maintains links with the ‘Ndrangheta, the criminal organization that controls the region of Calabria and, in the international scene, traffics drugs to New York and Europe.

The binational operation Reckoning was the first antecedent for American and Italian authorities regarding the drug-trafficking links between [Italy] and Mexico. The operation showed that the Mexican traffickers exported cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana in large quantities to Italy.


With information from Japanese authorities, the report [from the State Department] indicates that "methamphetamine is illegally smuggled in principally from Iran, Mexico, and Africa. The exporters of marijuana are Canada and the United States, while the domestic cultivation of marijuana is rising, though it is of small scale."

The report adds that more than 80 percent of the arrests for drug trafficking are related to methamphetamine, a market that continues to be the greatest threat for the anti-drug efforts of the Japanese government.

Researcher Daniel Marquez points out that international drug trafficking “is a business of $400 billion annually.” With the phenomenon of the globalization of crime, he offers two hypotheses linked to the role of the intelligence agencies in the traffic of drugs and the role that illicit substances play in corrupting officials:

“If all that money is moved, someone necessarily must control it and maybe they aren't the big cartels or those big criminal groups -- the Zetas, the Beltran Leyvas, the Familia Michoacana, the Valencia Valencias, the Gulf -- but maybe there is a higher level of decision making.”


American authorities point to Peru as the second largest producer of cocaine in the world and a big importer of precursor chemicals used for the production of that drug. It is estimated that, across the country, some 40,000 hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of coca.

At the same time, they identify Mexican traffickers as some of their principal clients. According to American investigations, the links detected thus far involve the Peruvian mafia and the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas.

Furthermore, the Council of the European Union says that the erstwhile hegemony of the Colombian cartels in the drug business in Colombia is presently shared with the Tijuana, Sinaloa, Juarez, and Guadalajara Cartels.


Along with the Russian mafia and the Chinese triads, the Mexicans are one of the three principal mafias of transnational organized crime, PRI Deputy Maria de Jesus Aguirre Maldonado said on March 6, while presenting a bill to consider organized crime a threat to national security.

According to Europol, the presence of Mexican cartels in European markets is growing. “The growth of the cocaine traffic from Mexico to Spain and Portugal is striking. This could indicate a new trend in the importance that the European Union, along with the predominance of the Mexican cartels in the illegal drug markets in the United States and the levels of violence linked to their activities.


In the assessment mid-term review and regional indicative programme 2011-2013 for Latin America, the European Union warns that the Mexican cartels have begun to replace the Colombians in drug trafficking, principally in the world cocaine market, "seemingly as a result of successful actions against the Colombian mafia."

According to Annex 6 of the report, "Central America and the Caribbean are two of the principal regions for cocaine transit. In 2008 alone they represented 15 percent of all world seizures."

It adds that in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, cocaine production has increased. "This reflects the growing importance of these countries in traffic of that drug, to satisfy internal demand and to export drugs to Europe (principally through West Africa), Africa, and the Pacific region."


  1. LOL, this was my point about Lascano being killed. Look at the international picture and then tell me he is running around Matamores with a caravan of 120 SUVs getting into a gun battle. That was a joke. He is in Europe where it is safe for all of them.


  2. In reference to the other article. Who cares about how much money drug cartels make? I feel like those articles are advertising drug sales.

    Join a cartel then get butchered and beheaded is a good incentive to stay away.

  3. so true TRC
    i always said fuck argentina or mexico, these guys may visit but they are living the good life abroad

    who wouldn't

    this is pretty old news however, these connections have been reported consistantly in mainstream media and even on blogs.

  4. Seriously bro u wish u knew ur shit and what really goes on...Keep thinking you know how people think and operate...You ain't living 5 min away from Mexico where u can actually hear gun battles and you don't know families that have been victims of kidnappens and extortion that has left them so severly traumatized that they have to leave there lives in Mexico and seek refuge in the U.S

  5. I think the same, some of these guys should be sipping coffee in Paris, or seeing the colisieum in Rome, but then you see things like Arturo Beltran Leyva partying in Cuernavaca, or Nacho Coronel living in his area of influence, same as La Barbie. Countless examples of big (big enough) players that don't leave the country.

  6. By the looks of it Throw in a few Trillion more,
    250k + dead and still Drugs Win.!

  7. While it may not be news to some, it is interesting research, and the degree and extent of research is very telling. So, it is not a problem of whether DTO's are a threat to national security, but rather that our government (US) would wish us not to know it?
    Daniel Marquez is thinking in the right direction, I believe.

  8. Mexico is exporting marijuana to Italy?

  9. @10:21 PM

    Has been for a long time.

  10. who says if they are out of the country they don't come back? Like 5:05 suggests they may come in for visits, slither in slither out?

  11. These are going to probably rather minor connections to other parts of the world other than the US market that Mexican cartels will be involved in. MJ/ Hashish will come via the ME/ North Africa, Opioids via Afghanistan, and Cocaine via directly from South America into the European market. The South Americans hardly need Mexican cartels in the transport to Europe. That leaves little profit making possibilities for the Mexican cartels in Europe.

  12. i dont get why everyone hates on ardent he seem like a pretty reasonable guy. theres wayy more people that say dumber things.but yea i dont know why this article is news.

  13. To who knows thanks G4L Border boys...


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