Mexican Drug Cartel

30 Jun

I’ve been staying up late really late reading articles on the Mexican Drug “War” of the past 6 years. I’ve read up on the history, the markets it feeds into, their technological advances, rise to power, and the current presidential elections in a few hours that will determine the fate of Mexico for the next 6 years. Today I read the Orange County link to the drug cartels. Freaky. 

I will try my best to summarize all of my research. The best source is the New York Times, but wikipedia also does a good job in summarizing the core of the drug war.

First, the Mexican Drug Cartels exist to this day because the US has a never ending desire for drugs. 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 take drugs on a regular basis. That’s about the same as the unemployment rate.

Second, illegal substances began to flow into the US from Mexico during Prohibition. The 1950’s and 1960’s saw a resurgance of marijuana, but it was the crazy 1970’s that saw the drug boom in the US. Thanks to Pablo Escobar of Colombia, the Mexican drug market made it much easier for the US to get its share of cocaine and heroin. During the 1980’s, the Mexican underground drug market was peacefully split up to prevent fighting. There had been no drug cartel related violence and innocent people were left alone up until this point. The Tijuana, Beltran-Leyva, Sinaloa, Juarez, La Familia Michoacana, and Gulf Cartel came into existence and each controlled their own territory. The cartels bribed authorities and paid their way to make sure they conducted their business while being left alone. The scary part was that slowly police officers and military officials began to join the cartels since they paid very well and protected their people very well.

The most intriguing article was the one I read on the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, El Chapo Guzmán. He is estimated at $1 billion USD and has made Forbes magazine’s list of wealthiest people in the world. He is the 10th richest man in Mexico and has been called the “biggest druglord of all time.” He is also known for being incarcerated in 1993, buying the prison system including fellow jail mates and wardens. Rumor has it that the El Chapo would order food off a menu everyday and a prostitute would visit him every week. In 2001, he escaped Mexico’s highest security prison by leaving inside a laundry cart while the police looked the other way for 24 hours. He spent $2 million dollars plotting his escape. El Chapo is also known for going into restaurants, closing all doors, eating his dinner, and then buying everyone’s meal WITHOUT injuring or killing anyone. El Chapo was known for hiring the best of the best to expand his business. Underground tunnels, boats, submarines, commercial flights, helicopters, catapults and a jalapeño industry were used to transport drugs under El Chapo.

The scary part happened in 2008 when El Chapo’s son was murdered supposedly by members of the Beltran Leyva cartel. About 400 people died in the span of 3 months in the state of Culiacan where El Chapo’s son was killed. Both cartels had also been fighting for the Chicago drug market.

In the late 1990’s, the Gulf Cartel needed protection so they sought out to find the best bodyguards possible. Disgruntled high ranking army members joined forces to become Los Zetas. In 2006, they grew too fast for the Gulf Cartel and became their own cartel. The Zetas quite simply began to attack everything in sight. They were the ones who use kidnapping, torture, dismembering, beheading, etc. to scare their enemies. Unfortunately, many innocent lives also began to be lost during this time.

In late 2006, newly elected Felipe Calderon declared a war on drugs and began “Operación Michoacan” in an attempt to get rid of all drug cartels in Mexico. Too bad he didn’t know the massive amount of worms that came of out the can he opened. The corruption had reached the national level. The second highest ranking official of Mexican National Security was recently found guilty of corruption charges and aiding the drug cartels. The previous ruling party of 70 years, PRI, had supposedly made deals with the cartels so that the cartels could function while the country would be at peace. With Calderon, from the PAN party, in power all agreements had been broken.

All the above events happening at the same time caused the start of a drug war that has cost the lives of about 40,000 Mexicans since 2006. Every single state in Mexico has been affected by the drug war. My parent’s hometown was full of Alcones “Falcons” known to keep a lookout for Los Zetas which took over the town for about 2 years. Luckily, no Zeta related deaths happened in the town, but the nearby towns had a different fate.

The OC link? Members of Los Zetas were investing money in horse racing in the US in order to expand their profits. The Zetas were racing horses in Los Alamitos race track and participating in million dollar races. Just last weekend, one of their horses raced and won.

The presidential election is July 1. What if the PAN wins? Will there be no change in the current policy or lack of policy? What if the PRI wins? Will they go back to their corrupt, but peaceful ways? What if the PRD wins? Will they make everything worse since they are a very leftist and action oriented party? Time will tell, but whatever happens I hope its for the good of Mexico so that dignified peace along with peace of mind exists within the Mexican people.

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