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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, April 12, 2019

Study: The WOD only Strengthens the Cartel Supply Of Cocaine

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Alternet
If you’ve spent nearly a half-century and $250 billion trying to stop the flow of cocaine into the United States, and the white powder is now cheaper and more plentiful…

By Phillip Smith / Independent Media Institute April 10, 2019

If you’ve spent nearly a half-century and $250 billion trying to stop the flow of cocaine into the United States, and the white powder is now cheaper and more plentiful than ever, maybe it’s time to rethink. That’s the implicit lesson lurking behind a new study on the impact of drug interdiction efforts on drug trafficking organizations.
Interdiction is the supply-side approach to reducing drug use. Rather than reducing demand through education, prevention, and treatment, interdiction seeks to reduce the supply of drugs available domestically by blocking them en route to the U.S. or at the border.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by scientists from a half-dozen American universities, the study relied on a computer model called NarcoLogic that shows how drug traffickers respond to interdiction strategies and tactics. More sophisticated than previous attempts to simulate the drug trade, NarcoLogic models local- and network-level trafficking dynamics at the same time.

“Our team consists of researchers who worked in different parts of Central America during the 2000s and witnessed a massive surge of drugs into the region that coincided with a reinvigoration of the war on drugs,” David Wrathall of Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences said in a press release announcing the research results. “We asked ourselves:  did drug interdiction push drug traffickers into these places?”

The short answer is yes, and that has implications that go far beyond drug policy. The Central American migrants who are at the center of the current “border crisis” are fleeing not only poverty but also high levels of violence generated by the movement of Mexican drug trafficking groups into the region a decade ago as they faced increasing interdiction efforts at home and from U.S. authorities.

In fact, although it is not addressed in this new research, it was earlier interdiction efforts aimed at Colombian cocaine trafficking groups in the 1980s that led directly to the transformation of formerly small-scale Mexican cross-border smuggling organizations into the Frankenstein’s monster of drug prohibition that the cartels are today. With the Colombians under intense pressure, Mexican traffickers rose to the occasion and have been making billions of dollars a year ever since.

This is despite five decades of U.S. interdiction efforts with an average annual expenditure of about $5 billion. Instead of curbing the flow of cocaine into the United States, all that has been accomplished is making the drug trafficking operations more widespread and harder to eradicate. Putting pressure on one route or location simply leads traffickers to scatter and regroup. This is the “balloon effect,” where suppressing traffic or production in one area prompts it to pop up elsewhere, and the “cockroach effect,” where traffickers simply decentralize their operations.

“Between 1996 and 2017, the Western Hemisphere transit zone grew from 2 million to 7 million square miles, making it more difficult and costly for law enforcement to track and disrupt trafficking networks,” Wrathall said. “But as trafficking spread, it triggered a host of smuggling-related collateral damages: violence, corruption, proliferation of weapons, and extensive and rapid environmental destruction.”

And for all that effort, the impact on cocaine price and availability has been negligible—or even perverse.

“Wholesale cocaine prices in the United States have actually dropped significantly since 1980, deaths from cocaine overdose are rising, and counter-drug forces intercept cocaine shipments at a low rate. More cocaine entered the United States in 2015 than in any other year,” Wrathall said. “And one thing people who support interdiction and those who don’t can agree on is that change is needed. This model can help determine what that change should look like.”

The main takeaway from the study is not that drug trafficking became more widespread and resilient because of ineffective interdiction efforts, but because of interdiction itself. The policy aimed at suppressing the drug trade has only made it stronger and wealthier.

“The study is a victory for observation and theory. This model successfully recreates the dynamic our team had observed,” Wrathall said. “It tells us that increased interdiction will continue to push traffickers into new areas, spreading networks, and allowing them to continue to move drugs north.”

Maybe it is time to try something different.

This article was produced by Drug Reporter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.


  1. Oh my God the experts always try to use numbers and add Analytics the price has not been steadily dropping the price hit an all-time low around 2002 to 2008 now it's five to ten thousand more per kilo depending on where you live also the quality was way better a couple years ago when most of the leaves were being grown in Peru but process in Colombia quality went down last year or so

    1. @ 712 not to mention who knows how low the price would be and how high the quality would be if there wasn't so much money being spent to fight this poison. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the answer to those questions.

    2. Police forces and lawyers and prisons keep insisting on this futile policy of incarcerating mainly drug distributors to cut suplly mostly even when these numbers are thrown in their face. This is without really educating people about the effects of drugs.
      What a waste of effort and us Americans are paying for it is my point

    3. You can get upwards of $1-200k per kilo if you get it to Australia or Europe. Even some areas in the states it's still mid to high 20s.


    4. 9:36 poolice forces get handsomely paid, on time, get retirement funds, pensions, health insurance, rob the evidence room, get cover up for their crimes and then get to handle millions and millions in war ON drugs money,
      --Because the brotherhood is in tight with the politicians, and not because of the work they do where it counts,
      250 million dollars is just like tips compared to the real cost of polesias all over, with the results they get and the prognosis for the patient. And the international results make the whole shebang a total world wide disaster, the narcos would have done better at keeping the order and the peace, for free and paid the foreign debt and spared us all the excuuuses. "narcos are muuuy malos"

  2. What are you supposed to do? Allow it, condone it?

  3. That money just goes around cause the same government trying to stop the flow is the one suppling all needed things to keep cocaine flowing freely...we all know goverment is hypocrite n fake when fighting against drugs cause they need them...if they invested 250 bill just imagine the turn around...goverment is the biggest cartel..

  4. Thx Yaqui for the post but nothing will change in the next few years.

  5. This study neglects facts like Air America's drug trafficking into the US, right after they were put out of business in SE Asia with the end of the Vietnam War, Air America founded by a Captain aire L. Chennault and a Whiting Willauer moved trafficking of cocaine and Marijuana in Mena Airport, ark. under guise of help for the contras.
    The War on Drugs has taken down Mainly the uncharted competitors or established ones, and the new owners keep doing better and better drug trafficking business, eating up the budget for the War ON Drugs on their way to the bank, without regard for truth or country, bent on becoming the new world's brave capitalistas.
    --By the way, always blaming the Mexican narcos who do not need to go and replace their billion dollars worth of drug trafficking into the US for drug trafficking into broke ass El Salvador will never fly, El Salvador and Honduras were inducted into drug trafficking by Cuban refugee Felix Ismael Rodriguez Mendigutia to reinforce the Contras fighting the Sandinistas who still hold on to power in Nicaragua. Same as the same drug traffickers since the 50's still hold on to the business, only with a few select new partners every year, and yearly budgetary increases with legal options to increase, replace or accelerate their growing clientele like the orphan Opioid addicts.
    Don't blame the failures of the Wars ON Drugs on El Chapo and Co. blame them on the big boys in charge... Rick Ross and Gary Webb, senators John Kerry and Gary Hart, US Rep. Maxine Waters, among others can witness for you who is to blame for drugs.

  6. Cocaine prices have surged in the years.
    Surpassing the $32000 range where I reside.
    The time of $16500 for a key and selling for $21000 are gone. Moreover, the quality from it being stepped on.
    Quality and purity has not been consistent in the past years. Unreliable and costly.
    Everyone is changing up.

  7. Interdiction by itself doesn't work, this is true. You need demand reduction AS WELL AS interdiction, eradication, and hitting their pockets. You need harsher punishments, the bastards above the street dealers aren't afraid of prison time, unless it's life without even the opportunity for parole. Even then, you'd better be able to take all of their money and property or they'll just get out and go right back to it.

    You need to go after the accountants and the money. Isn't a one of them that'll keep working with the chance of death or extreme prison time unless they are getting paid. That probably means you'll end up going after politicians too, and good riddance.

    You need programs that don't penalize people for getting addiction treatment. Giving a user a felony offense isn't going to make things better for anyone, and they'll go right back to drugs when they get out because their situation is now hopeless, nobody wants to hire people with a felony record. You also need a way to force people to go through rehab, outpatient crap doesn't work for most people, and neither do short term rehab facilities (unless they have the best family ever and aren't living in the environment that got them hooked in the first place).

    You need to eradicate the coca farms, consistently and repeatedly. It sucks that the farmers can't make a better living growing other crops, but a more comfortable living does not trump the thousands of lives that each coca farmer ends up touching with the crap they grow.

    And you need to more harshly punish those who transport the drugs, unless it can be proven that they were forced into compliance.

    I realize most of that sounds really harsh, and to be honest it is meant to be. People don't stop doing something that pays really well and grants them all sorts of perks just because the alternative makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you want to end the problem then ALL segments need to be dealt with, this piecemeal nonsense won't stop anything.


    1. thanks KB.
      it sure is not a black and white issue; people have to wake up and realize how far we have fallen as a society and think about what kind of world we want to live in . 7 generations and all that. I agree the issue needs to be dealt with from every angle possible. Truth : the truth IS harsh.

    2. So reverting to the 650 law for non-violent crime gets u life sentences?
      This was overturned in the supreme courts. Added with the fact that drug trafficking did not ease.
      I do agree treatment programs are essential for the reduction of consumption.

  8. @9:36a.m! AMEN! Thats because they make a hella lot more money off of it than any DTO out there and dont want their gravy train cut off but unfortunately they also have the real power in this sick game of cat and mouse!

  9. I want to know more details about this NarcoLogic program. It sounds interesting.
    BTW: I don't have much confidence in the idea of "educating" people about the dangers of addicting drugs. People that become addicts know much more about the danger than most lay people. Education is O.K. but there are much deeper issues about why people use drugs than is commonly acknowledged. I am for "education / prevention" programs, but not as they are commonly delivered by academics, social workers, or HS teachers.

    1. Thanks. if you can actually find a link pls post it !

  10. I’d like to know where this plentiful cheap supply is. Seems like everyone is selling cut up meth as yayo in the Midwest.

  11. Thanks yaqui. Really interesting. I've tried to read more from Drug reporter on that site but a newsletter sign up keeps popping up. Can't read it from my phone I guess. Ticks me off! If there are more articles from them, keep em coming. Thanks

    1. Drug dealers and their customers keep up with their thing real successfully, without a government budget.
      Drug war warriors can't do without government money, the more gov$$$ the merrier, it would be like a cake without icing.


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