The 140 mile border between California and Mexico is the ground for many things that affect both the United States and Mexico. The growing volume of commercial and pedestrian traffic that plays an integral role in our nation’s economy also creates an infinite number of opportunities for drug trafficking organizations.
The drug threat presented by the United States and Mexico Border is fairly consistent with the national drug threat, and to a certain extent, seems to define the overall drug threat against the United States. Mexico is the largest transshipment point of South American cocaine destined for the United States, and 65% of this cocaine reaches American cities through the California/Mexico border. Mexico also remains a major source country for heroin and marijuana, and many of these Mexican based trafficking organizations are utilized by Colombian Cartels to transship drugs destined for the United States.
As a waiver, while I am not exactly a member of the DEA, I have utilized a number of tools to obtain more than a sufficient amount of information on drug trafficking over the California-Mexico border.
Drug trafficking organizations have grown and prospered because of the illegal status of drugs in the United States, and Mexican based groups have expanded because of the business Colombian based drug traffickers have done with them, making Mexico a drug trafficker’s emporium.
First, I will talk about how drug trafficking started as a result of different laws on each side of the border. Then I will discuss why Mexican based groups are willing to bring drugs into the United States for the Colombian drug traffickers. Lastly, I will tell you why Mexico is a drug trafficker’s emporium!
Prohibition on one side of the United States-Mexican border and legal commerce on the other created the conditions for drug trafficking. When opium was prohibited in the United States–it was legal in Mexico. Social agents who commercialized it were criminals on one side of the border and legitimate traders on the other. However, the circle was completed when Mexico eventually adopted similar laws to the United States. And so, a new social category was born: the drug trafficker. These criminal groups have smuggled heroin, marijuana and cocaine across the Southwest border and distributed them throughout the United States since the 1970s.
Mexico is the largest transshipment point of South American cocaine destined for the United States. Once again, a whopping 65% of this cocaine reaches American cities via the United States/Mexico border. Many Mexican based trafficking organizations are utilized by Colombian cartels to transship drugs destined for the United States. The border between the United States and Mexico is 2,000 miles; while the border with the most traffic across it, the California-Mexico border, is 140 of those 2,000 miles. Mexico is definitely responsible for supplying most of foreign marijuana available in the United States. Virtually all marijuana smuggled into United States, whether grown in Mexico or shipped through Mexico, is smuggled across the California/Mexico border. The growing volume of commercial and pedestrian traffic through the California/Mexico border plays an integral role in the nation’s economy and creates opportunity for drug trafficking.
Now that I have discussed how drug trafficking originally came about, I will now talk about how Mexican based groups have expanded because of the business Colombian based drug traffickers have done with them.
Previously limited to marijuana and heroin smuggling, Mexican based groups have expanded and profited by maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with Colombian based traffickers. Colombian based drug lords and Mexican based trafficking organizations entered into a symbiotic relationship that resulted in Mexican based traffickers playing an increasing role in cocaine trade. Most of cocaine entered United States through the Caribbean and Southern Florida in the 1980’s.
However, increased enforcement efforts forced traffickers to shift the majority of their smuggling operations to Mexico. Mexican based groups receive payment as much as 50% of each cocaine shipment they smuggle into the United States for Colombian based traffickers.
This provides benefits for both parties:
- Protection for Colombian based traffickers because it minimizes their risk of exposure to United States law enforcement authorities and it provides Mexican based traffickers with a valuable source of revenue and domestic customers. Distribution of multi-ton quantities of cocaine once dominated by the Colombian based drug traffickers is now controlled by trafficking groups from Mexico.
- In turn, Mexican based traffickers now control a substantial proportion of wholesale cocaine distribution throughout the Western and Mid-Western United States. Methods of Transportation over border include the transportation of: Marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine concealed in compartments within cars and trucks; commingled with legitimate cargo. Cocaine shipments average between 20-50 kilograms, sometimes carried VIA “mules” – who are people who carry cocaine over the border. The primary cocaine importation points in United States are here in Southern California, Texas & Arizona.
Now that I have discussed how Mexican based groups have expanded because of the business Colombian based drug traffickers have done with them, I will now talk about why Mexico is just like a drug trafficker’s emporium!
Mexican based groups offer a range of services for Colombian drug traffickers such as:
- Wholesale cocaine distribution
- Money laundering for Colombian clients
- Direct delivery to wholesale level customers for Major Colombian based cocaine groups
In conclusion, drug trafficking came about because there was a difference in laws on either side of the United States/Mexican border. In turn, Mexican based groups have expanded because of the business Colombian based drug traffickers have done with them. Mexico is a drug trafficker’s emporium because of all of the “amenities” it provides the big cartels with.
Drug trafficking is a huge problem in the United States. The economical benefit for Mexican based groups has caused the drug trafficking business to continuously grow in many directions, providing a money source for people in Mexico, as well as a means of getting the drugs over the United States/Mexico border for Colombian based drug traffickers; Mexico has become a drug trafficker’s emporium because it provides everything a drug trafficker needs to get drugs into the United States.
Drug trafficking organizations operating along the California/Mexico Border, which are controlled by Mexican-based kingpins, continue to be a great concern to communities in California and the nation. As a result of their alliances with Colombian organizations, Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations have become increasingly organized, specialized and efficient, with individual components steadily consolidating power and control over well-defined areas of responsibility and geographic strongholds.
Originally authored by Christina Prevot