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Dangerous Addictions. The Struggle with Drug Cartels. Rise of the Drug Cartels. Geographic location always made Mexico a valuable center for transportation of narcotics . Cartels have become more powerful since the demise of the Colombian Cartels in the 1990’s

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Dangerous addictions

Dangerous Addictions

The Struggle with Drug Cartels

Rise of the drug cartels
Rise of the Drug Cartels

  • Geographic location always made Mexico a valuable center for transportation of narcotics.

  • Cartels have become more powerful since the demise of the Colombian Cartels in the 1990’s

  • Wholesale earnings from drugs range from 13- 48 billion dollars.

Origin of drug cartels
Origin of Drug Cartels

  • Smuggling to U.S. Border

    • Opium

    • Cocaine

    • Marijuana

  • Connections made him point man for Pablo Escobar.

  • Privatized the Mexican Drug business.

  • Arrested on April 8 1989

  • Gulf Cartel: oldest organized crime group now operating (1970-present

  • Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo

    (El Padrino)

    The War on Drugs: Felipe Calderon

    • 2006

      • December 1: Calderon assumes presidency & declares war on drug traffickers

      • Operation Michoacana is launched against La FamiliaMichoacana cartel

    • 2007

      • Popular singer Sergio Gómez is kidnapped and killed

      • Entire police force in Baja California stripped of weapons due to suspicion of collaboration with cartels.

      • Drug related death reached 2,477

    • 2008

      • Death Toll: 6,290

    • 2009

      • Death Toll: 7,724

    • 2010 & 2012

      • Estimated Death Rate: 15,000 each year

    Operation of the Drug Cartels

    • Highest Level Cartels

      • Sinaloa

        • Most powerful cartel in Mexico today

        • Proximity to border

        • Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

      • Others:

        • Pacific Cartel

        • Knights Templar

        • Zetas

    • Role of Drug Lords

      • Set prices

      • Track shipments

      • Manage employment

      • Handle pay-offs

    Operation of the Drug Cartels

    • Use of Violence to Protect Territory

      • Over 34,000 deaths since 2007

      • Kidnappings and hostage situations



    • “There are no codes. There are no boundaries. There are no limits. There is a high degree of impunity. That’s the big worry of all of us that live in Mexico. There were limits in the past; now there are no limits.”

    • -Security Consultant Carlos Seoane,

    • on kidnappings by drug cartels.

    Mexican Government’s War on Drugs

    Factors Driving Mexico’s

    Drug Policy

    • Government corruption

      • Ranked 2nd most corrupt police force in the world

      • Many upper level officials have faced corruption charges

    • U.S. pressure to curb the illegal drug trade

    • Vast crime and violence from the drug cartels

    • Voter dissatisfaction triggered by the violence

    The Government’s War on Drugs

    Government combating police corruption

    • August 2010: Mexico fired 10% of federal police force.

    • The anti-cartel operations begun by President Calderón in December 2006 included ballistic checks of police weapons

    • Proposed creation of a national criminal database and a department to oversee coordination among police forces and anti-corruption efforts. 

    • An extra 1,800 federal agents sent intobattle with drug cartels



    "This is not 'the government's war against drugs,' but the fight of all Mexicans to build an authentic security, based on the rule of law and justice.” -National Security Spokesman Alejandro Poire

    The Government’s War on Drugs

    Mexico’s fight against drug cartels

    • 2006: roughly 36,000 troops deployed to work with the federal police

    • 2008 constitutional reform merges the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) and the Federal Agency of Investigation (AFI),.

    • 2011 Calderon's administration ordered troops and federal police to a Gulf coast state where gunmen dumped 35 bound bodies on a busy avenue.

    M rida initiative

    Mérida Initiative

    • October 22, 2007- US and Mexico issued a statement announcing the start of the initiative

    • Eventually signed into law on June 30, 2008 by G.W. Bush

    • Overall agreement to expand bilateral and regional counternarcotic and security cooperation in Mexico and in Central America

    • Goal: Reduce $12-15 billion yearly ash flow of drugs between the US and Mexico

    What is the m rida initiative

    What is the Mérida Initiative?

    • It is a multiyear plan for US assistance in Mexico and Central America

    • Predicted to cost about $500 million in Mexico and $50 million in Central America

    • Mexico was the area in need of the most aid- Mexican military and law enforcement




    • Mexico: $500 million for planes, parts, training, expansion of the immigrations agency database and verification system, securing communications systems, law enforcement training, etc.

    • Central America: $16.6 million spread throughout the 7 countries

    • Expenditures

      • support for the CA Fingerprinting Exploitation (CAFÉ),

      • technical assistance on firearms tracing and destruction, border security

      • anti-gang efforts


    Training of agents

    Training of Agents of the immigrations agency database and verification system, securing communications systems, law enforcement training, etc.

    • Training is included in a $24 million proposal which also covers logistics and spare parts

    • 4,500 federal police have already completed training

      • Taught by law enforcements professionals from other countries

  • Millions for canine training

  • Training of agents continued

    Training of Agents Continued… of the immigrations agency database and verification system, securing communications systems, law enforcement training, etc.

    • Skills learned

      • criminal investigative techniques, evidence collection, crime scene preservation and ethics

      • How to view contents of rail cars using Railroad, Vehicle, and Cargo Inspection Systems

      • How to detect weapons and drugs in cars, trains and many types of containers

      • How to hold, transport and classify prisoners

    Interrogation controversy

    Interrogation Controversy of the immigrations agency database and verification system, securing communications systems, law enforcement training, etc.

    • A US Secretary Firm Instructor in Mexico was accused of teaching city police officers “enhanced interrogation” techniques

    • Line between “enhanced interrogation” and torture not always clear

    • Upgrading Capabilities of Mexican & Central American Governments

    • The US helps to train police, prosecutors and defenders 

      • Support from the US is helping to develop correction systems

      • The Mexican government has used funds to establish a corrections academy to train federal correctional staff.

      • Similar efforts in Guatemala, El Salvador & Costa Rica

    Equipment Exchange Governments

    •Eight Bell helicopters to the Mexican Army/Air Force

    •Three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to the Federal Police

    •Three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to the Mexican Navy

    Security Cooperation: Drones Governments

    Orbiter Mini UAV

    • Solutions towards Security Cooperation Governments

    • Embedded U.S. Security Forces:

      • Trust:  Information can be compartmentalized

      • Training:  Experts can give on the job training

      • Equipment:  U.S. forces can have access to                 American technology

      • Laws:  Small teams can take advantage of loopholes

      • Funding:  Cost effective compared to pure funding


    • Criticisms of Merida  Governments

    • •The Mérida Initiative is called "Plan Mexico" by critics, to point out its similarities to Plan Columbia

    • •In "Plan Columbia", U.S. has heavily funded the Colombian military, yet cocaine production has steadily increased and registered a 27% rise in 2007, before declining in 2008 and 2009.

    • •  Comparison casts doubt on return for investment on Merida

    • Concern over potential compromise of personal privacy

    • Challenges to Cooperation: Governments

      • Lack of Trust

        • Criminal Gangs have infiltrated the security Mexican security forces

        • Mexicans do not trust the U.S. government

      • Poor Training

        • Tactical, Criminal, Judicial

      • Bad Equipment

      • Restrictive Laws

        • Who is in charge?

        • Gun smuggling 

      • Limited Funding


    • Security Cooperation:  Fast and Furious Governments

      • Operation by U.S.  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)

      • Encouraged gun sellers to provide guns to suspicious buyers

        • Gunwalking ("letting guns walk")

      • Over half of the 2,000 guns were lost

        • Many recovered at crime scenes too late

        • U.S. border agent (Brian Terry) killed with guns from Fast & Furious

      • ATF attempted to hide the scandal

        • Used the increase in violence from rifles as evidence it needed stronger gun laws it had long wanted.

      • Shattered trust and charges of U.S. recklessness


    • Security Cooperation:  Political Pressure Governments

      • 2012 is an election year for Mexico and the U.S.

      • Mexican electorate threatening change

        • Fear of corruption and violence

        • Increasing role of the U.S.

      • Barack Obama on defensive over Fast & Furious

        • Drugs are still crossing the border

        • Violence could spill over

        • Lobbyists preventing changes to gun laws


    Drug related violence continues Governments

    • Monterrey attacks; August 26, 2011

    • Alternative Proposals

      • Legalization of Marijuana

        • Cartels’ greatest source of income

        • Analysts suggest as best solution

        • Attack as a business, not just a crime.

        • Encourages other forms of crime?

      • Truce or Accommodation

        • Negotiate a ceasefile with cartels

        • Amnesty

    • Issue in 2012 Mexican Presidential Campaign

    Administration of government of enrique pe a nieto 2012 2018
    Administration of government of Enrique Governments Peña Nieto (2012-2018)

    • Will the drug problem be handled differently?

      • Corruption and bribery

      • Strict rules for the cartels.

      • Crime and corruption, but violence kept off the streets