Drug Cartels in Mexico

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Last updated: May 23, 2019

Mexican Modern War There are seven drug cartels in Mexico (CRS 1). The most important cartels are Sinaloa and Juarez. The Sinaloa cartel operates in the states of Nayarit, Sinaloa and Mexico State (Reforma 1). The Juarez cartel operates in Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Jalisco, Morelos; and Quintana Roo. Mexican cartels employ individuals and groups of enforcers, known as sicarios. Statistics show that more than twenty people are killed daily in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in crimes related to drugs.Drug lords send their gunmen to strategic places where innocent people that are in the wrong place at the wrong time are killed. Narco Lords like Vicente Carrillo Fuentes and Joaquin el Chapo Guzman, fight among themselves for the territory in Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

Every death increases the power that the Cartels have. In order to combat their illicit activity, The Mexican government should not delegate control of the States of Chihuahua and Sinaloa to drug cartels due to the lack of economic resources, lack of armament, and corruption.The Mexican government should not delegate the control of Chihuahua and Sinaloa due to the lack of economic resources. In the fight against the cartels, it is a priority to have enough resources. The Mexican Government should invest enough capital for the prevention and detention of drug cargo into the United States and across the Mexican Border. The United States department estimates that 90% of cocaine that enters to the United States comes from Mexico.

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This illicit activity of selling drugs generates earnings that range from $13. 6 to $48. 4 billion of dollars annually (Ibid).

Drug cartels spend many million trying to find new ways to smuggle drugs into the United States. Thus, the government needs to spend the same amount of capital to buy special equipment with radars and UV lights to detect suspicious cars or people who try to transport drugs. Besides, this money would be used for the training of police personal and to develop the infrastructure needed to perform their duties. The people who transport drugs inside their bodies are called mules. Cartels pay half of the money to the mules when they accept the job and the other half when they complete the job.Mules can earn up to $50,000 in a single transaction (Soto 1). People who accept this kind of job are usually young women because it is easier to implant them breast transplants with heroin or cocaine, making it almost impossible for the authorities to detect the drug.

Mules are also women with small children. In this case the drug is transported in diapers. If the Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels spend huge amounts of capital to transport the drugs, the Mexican government must dedicate the same resources to avoid the transportation of the drug cargo.Also, the Mexican government should spend resources investigating financing companies like banks to prevent them from laundering of money.

It is estimated that Mexican drug cartels of Juarez, Chihuahua and Sinaloa use banks and other institutions to launder $8. 3 to $24. 9 billion dollars annually (US Depart 1). One year ago, sports institutions in Mexico like Guadalajara Soccer and Dorados of Culiacan were accused of saving and laundering of money for the Sinaloa cartel.

Due to globalization and liberalization, the people who are responsible for organized crime take advantage of open borders, privatization, free trade areas, weak states, offshore banking, electronic transfers, smart cards and cyber banking to clean millions of dollars daily in profits from the illicit business drugs (Latinnews Daily 1). Drug traffickers use the state of Chihuahua to hide and plant drugs. This State has a significant amount of people who are dedicated to the laundering of money. Chihuahua occupies the seventeenth place in the laundry of money in Mexico. Sinaloa occupies the first (Freeman 1).The government should spend enough resources to launch strong investigations against banks and other financing institutions suspected of laundry. The investigations should trace any suspicious transaction to know where the money comes from and to whom it belongs. It should also investigate if the employees in the banks are corrupt or have relation with the cartels.

The Mexican Government should conclude obsolete programs and devote those resources to drug cartels. The Mexican Government spends unnecessary millions of dollars paying for local police departments that do not combat the trafficking of drugs.Local authorities are afraid of confronting the drug cartels. “We can just watch how they transport the drug from the Silverado to the Ram, crossing from Sinaloa to Chihuahua, We know who they are but we do not dare to oppose them, it’s a death sentence” (Soto). Alberto Soto stated that the local police department has been corrupted or threatened, “They do not care about their jobs but they fear for their families”. The actual military program must also be replaced it. The government should cancel the PGR and create a stronger fiscal-judicial program that supervises the Mexican army movements toward Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

Felipe Calderon has sent more than 24,000 soldiers and Federal police to nine states, included Sinaloa and Chihuahua, to combat the cartels (Medina 1). This mobilization requires a stronger supervisor instead of the PGR. There had been several army movements against drug cartels in Cd. Juarez and in Culiacan, Sinaloa, but they were not successful because PGR did not supervise and cooperates with the Mexican Army. PGR should not interfere with the support of the Navy to the Army. If PGR is not capable of maintaining order in the border States, then it should be cancel and replaced for a stronger program that actually works for the army.The Mexican government should avoid the lack of resources by confiscating Cartels’ properties to protect Chihuahua and Sinaloa. Cartels obtain more than 27,000 million of dollars per year selling drugs, 75% of these money belongs to the Sinaloa Cartel (Briseno 1).

Mansions in the state of Sinaloa are worth several million dollars with extravagant cars, and extensive territory. If the Government confiscates the 27,000 million of dollars, that money can be used against the same cartels. It is very likely to find properties with an approximate value of five to twenty million of dollars per Ranch (Becerra 1).Physical properties are valuable enough to confiscate in the State of Sinaloa, but the Mexican government should also freeze the bank accounts in order to obtain resources to fight against the Cartels of Sinaloa and Juarez, The cartels infiltrate up to 81% of the banks in Mexico (PGR 1). They use corrupt employees who laundry their money. Mexico should trace any indicator about high amounts of money that are not justified properly.

Millions of dollars in bank accounts in Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Baja California, and Colombia belong to the Mexican Cartels.Mexico should ask the help of Foreign governments to confiscate and freeze the “dirty money of the Cartel”. If the Mexican Government owns the cartels money or prevents them from using it, it is hitting hard in these criminal institutions. Mexican authorities should improve its armament in order to defeat the drug cartels in the frontier of Chihuahua and Sinaloa. To improve its armament the government must control the armament.

The first strategy to control the armament is to impose the license to use guns. PGR sent a report to the Mexican Senate in March 2008.This report estimates that in Mexico there are 15 million illegal weapons and 5 million others whose owners have a permit issued by the Ministry of Defense (Latin American Weekly report 1). Every weapon should be registered in order to decrease the power that Mexican Cartels have over the armaments. In 2004, the Mexican Government and the Congress modernized the aduanal agencies, airports, and ports in Sinaloa.

Unfortunately, in 2004, a law regarding the regulation of armament in the United States became obsolete.This caused that Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels acquired enough armament to fight among them and against the government. Investigation and punishment for the corruption, complicity, and negligence that exists in the border checkpoints, maritime and airport, should be implemented because the corruption there is the main cause of the illegal entry of weapons into Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

The government must also confiscate armament without documentation. Statistics show that fifteen million weapons are not registered with the ministry of defense. These weapons are used by the cartel to defeat police, army, and navy.If any weapon is located and the owner does not carry proper documentation, the weapon should be confiscated immediately, starting an investigation to check the record of the owner and the weapon. If the owner of the weapon is linked to the drug cartels, he must face prison and give his declaration. Armament without documentation is dangerous because it is likely to end up in the hands of criminal organizations like the Gulf Cartel. Chihuahua has been severely affected by the illegal armament that enters the State. In January 31, 2010 students were celebrating a championship soccer game between two high schools in Cd.

Juarez when gunmen entered into the house and started shooting. One of the gunmen that was captured after the massacre confessed that he worked for a cartel. He stated, “I received the order to kill the students, some of them worked for the rival cartel, their death supposed to impose fear in the rival cartel” (Extienden). The victims ranged in age from 13 to 42 because two street vendors were also killed by the gunmen. Most of the victims were students.

If the government had confiscate illicit armament this tragedy would never had occurred.In the Mexican war that the government has against Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels, the government should acquire new armament. Authorities should buy stronger, new armaments to oppose and defeat the cartels. Traffickers have improved their armament, they have acquired military weapons like grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions, hand grenades, and antitank rockets with firepower that has a far better range that any assault rifle (Herrera 1). Grenades were used in at least 10 Mexican states, including Chihuahua and Sinaloa, during the last six months (Herrera, Rolanda 1).Those grenades were used against police stations, city halls, United States consulate, TV stations and Mexican officials (Becerra 1). Traffickers using M203 40-millimeter grenade launchers killed eight Mexican federal police officers in Culiacan, Sinaloa last year (Freeman 1).

With the armament that the police officers has . 223 caliber rifles, they are not likely to defeat the Cartels’ armament. Police officers are renouncing their positions because they are afraid of stopping a trafficker with strong armament. Some police officers have even requested asylum to the United States in order to save their lives (Lattinnews Daily 1).Mexican Government should form an alliance with the United States in order to buy and obtain militar weapons to defeat the Cartels. It is not possible that the government confronts the cartels with outdated armament when they are preparing with war armament that is coming not only from the United States but also from Guatemala and Colombia (PGR). When the government acquires new armament, the training of soldiers and police agencies would be necessary.

United States has proportionated monetary aid to the Mexican government to confront cartels.In the fiscal year 2008, the United Sates Administration’s budget requested $27. 8 million (Stevenson 1). Other helps that United States has provided to Mexico are the aviation support, operational support for Mexico’s drug interdiction, eradication programs and professionalization and training of Mexican law enforcement personnel.

The training is really helpful because the local police officers need to know how to confront strong groups like the Zetas or los Negros and Pelones using the new armament. The zetas are the personal army of the Gulf Cartel. In recent years, the government has weakened the Zetas.During september, 2006, the Mexican government arrested over 300 sicarios (gunmen). Over 134 enforcers captured where from the Gulf Cartel (Herrera 1). The Zetas are disputing territory of the Sinaloa and Juarez cartel. Their confrontations increase the violence between the government and the cartels.

In response to the Zetas, the Sinaloa cartel formed its own paramilitary group, the Negros and Pelones. Edgar Valdez Villareal “La Barbie” is the leader of the Negros. Edgar “La Barbie” was born in Laredo, Texas. He used to work for the Beltran-Leyva Cartel as a lieutenant.In December 2009, th cartel’s leader Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed. In 2010, “La Barbie” separated from the Beltran-Leyva brothers and tried to create his own cartel forming an alliance with his rival los Zetas (Becerra 1).

Another way that the Mexican Government should use to improve its armament is to prevent the smuggling of armament coming from the United States into Mexico. Mexico needs to form a partnership with the government of the United States with strong laws against selling of armament in Arizona, Texas, and California that would be introduced into Chihuahua and Sinaloa.A clearly example of how the smugling of armament affects Mexico is the following, An AK-47 gun can be purchased for $300 in the United States and be sold in Mexico for $1,500. During 2007, According to the PGR, 2500 executions were committed using such weapons, 3,900 more occurred during 2008.

Some authorities estimate that during the present administration, 2000 caliber weapons, assault rifles, grenades, and guns, enter Mexico daily. Mexico contends that its counternarcotics efforts will fail without more U.S support to reduce arms trafficking into Mexico; stop the trafficking of drug earnings, and reduce American’s demand for illicit drugs. The authorities should not allow any armament to enter the Mexican Frontiers without legal permit of the Mexican Government. If any armament is to enter, it would be just for the soldiers’ use against cartels. In February 2007, at the port of Matamoros, an officer found a shipment of seventeen grenades, a grenade launcher, eighteen high-powered rifles and seventeen caliber pistols and in his duty proceeded to confiscate (Notimex).

The next day, that officer named George Santillan, was riddled by gunfire from an AK-47 rifle. The seized arsenal was destined to one of the most powerful drug cartels in Tamaulipas to attack Chihuahua (Notimex). In the other hand, a federal police officer named Alfonso C,for two years bought a total of 231 weapons in Texas that crossed into Mexico illegally for sale, with a net gain of more than $ 100,000. After a long investigation by the U. S.

authorities, the case concluded with the arrest of the Mexican police.He was sentenced to eighteen months in a federal prison of Texas(Notimex). The Mexican Government should reduce or eliminate corruption to keep the control of Chihuahua and Sinaloa from the Cartels. In order to decrease corruption, the government should investigate every high rank authority that is related to the fight against drug cartels in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and the rest of the country. Government should verify their incomes and properties to check if they are justified. Also, the government must verify that the authorities are not linked to the drug cartels.In the past three years, agents of Federal Investigative (AFI) Agency of Mexico worked for the Sinaloa Cartel and approximately a fifth of the Attorney General’s office are related to the cartels also.

Eight AFI agents have been related with the kidnapping and torture of four zetas. AFI agents kidnapped the Zetas in Acapulco, and then handed them over to the members of the Sinaloa cartel to be interrogated and executed (Pinkerton 1). In case any authority is found to be corrupt, the government should enforce the law. The corrupt authority must resign position because there will not be tolerance.In June 2007, President Felipe Calderon purged 284 federal police commanders, including federal commanders of all 31 states and the federal district. These authorities were dismissed from their positions.

The punishment of resigning position for any corrupt authority it is not enough. The Mexican government should also charge them with penal antecedents and confiscate their unjustified income. Depending on the degree of the offense, the corrupt authorities would have to face extradition to the United States because they gave valuable information to the cartels.Government should replace the corrupt authorities for new autthorities.

In the particular case of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, if the governors are found to be corrupt, the federal government would have to establish a provisional state agency that responds to Federal government only. If military agencies are corrupt in Chihuahua and Sinaloa, the government would have to require the Mexican Congress the creation of an emergency committee that works directly with the Mexican Navy to protect the safety of the border States.The Mexican Government is combatting the drug cartels in Mexico, especially in Chihuahua and Sinaloa because they are strategic places for the transportation of cocaine and marihuana. The Mexican Government faces difficulties to confront drug organizations due to its lack of armament, lack of resources, and high corruption.

Mexico should improve its conditions in order to maintain the control in border states.


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