by Teahupoo - Cannabis Education Activist
As I fight against ignorance of the issues surrounding the prohibition of Cannabis Sativa, from which both hemp and marijuana are derived it never ceases to amaze me how uniformed the vast majority of the American Public and even the world are in regards to the origin of prohibition and the extent to which Mexican Drug Cartels have spread. In this article I want to focus on the spread of Mexican Drug Cartels in the United States and hopefully enlighten and educate people to the fact that this is NOT a “Mexican Problem”, the Drug War is here, the Mexican Drug Cartels also have brought the fight to us.
In 230 U.S. cities, the organizations maintain distribution hubs or supply drugs to local distributors, the federal government reports.
Places such as Miami and other longtime transportation points along the southern border. But also Twin Falls, Idaho. Billings, Mont. Wichita, Kan. St. Louis. Milwaukee and others.
The Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center calls Mexican drug cartels "the greatest organized crime threat to the United States," saying they "control drug distribution in most U.S. cities."
The violence being committed by the Drug Cartels matches and even exceeds that of the violence in the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, 4,197 U.S. military personnel have died since the start of the war in March of 2003. In Afghanistan, the number of dead has reached over 600 (PDF) as of the writing of this article.
In the meantime, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) reports that as of March 13 of this year it had counted 10,475 executions since the beginning of President Felipe Calderon’s term on December 1, 2006. In addition, 10% (997) of the victims were public servants. This includes the 6,262 people who died “violent deaths” in 2008–a 154% increase over 2008’s official (according to the PGR) death toll of 2,477.
Over 2000 more people have been killed in the Drug War in Mexico alone in the past year than the total number of U.S. Soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns in over 6 years. Is ANYONE ELSE paying attention? Please understand, I am not stating these figures to take away anything from the sacrifices made by American servicemen and their familes, I am merely trying to point out how ridculous the Drug War is and how it is causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people. These people were not soldiers.
The most violent period of the Calderon administration occurred in January 2009: between December 26, 2008, and January 27, 2009–a period of 32 days–one thousand people were executed. It points out that in 2007, it took 115 days to reach the first one thousand executions of the year; in 2008, 120 days. January 2009 was also the most deadly January under Calderon’s watch.
Now, that I hopefully have your attention let’s go into the main subject of this article, which is the spread of the Mexican Drug Cartels in the United States. I want to tell you about some areas well away from the border because there is a belief by many Americans that the problems with the Mexican Drug Cartels are ONLY occurring in border states. Since the majority of the problems are in the Southwest we will start there and then proceed to other areas.
In Arizona, Mexican Drug Cartels are working in tandem with local drug dealers and supplying them with marijuana produced in Mexico while causing an increase in the amount of drug related homicides, home invasions, and kidnappings according to local authorities. ”There is a tremendous impact on our crime,” said Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik. According to a federal report, Mexican drug dealers here have forged alliances with two cartels known to be operating in Tucson - the Federation and the Juarez Cartel.
The cartels distribute some marijuana here and operate Tucson area stash houses, Dupnik said.
While the cartels also ship other drugs, marijuana is the most common, said Sheriff’s Bureau Chief Richard Kastigar. ”Based on our encounters with the smugglers we come across in the southern part of the county, the majority of the items smuggled is marijuana.
“But there is human cargo (illegal immigrants), cocaine, heroin and to a lesser extent methamphetamine,” Kastigar said. “It is proportional to the voracious demands of the (marijuana) users in North America.”
For the most part, cartel members are here to see that cartel drugs are shipped on to other markets across the United States, said Ritchie Martinez, a supervisory drug intelligence analyst with the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. (source) TucsonCitizen.com
In Phoenix, nearly 1000 kidnappings in the last 3 years are linked to border smugglers moving drugs or people or both.
The DOD dispatched the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the Merida Iniative with Mexican leaders last month. The 3 year plan was signed into law in June of 2008 to allow 1.4 billion dollars of assistance for law enforcement training and equipment and technical advice to help Mexico deal with the problem. In Tijuana, Mexico just over the border from San Diego the Mayor of Tijuana said “It’s a real war, we are not faking.”
The Merida Initiative is intended to help keep the violence from spilling over the border into the U.S. but it is way too late in my opinion. We are already seeing huge increases in crime attributed to the drug cartels and I believe it will only increase as long as marijuana prohibition remains in effect since that is by far the area that provides the most income for the cartels with well over 60% of their income coming from marijuana.
Mexican drug-trafficking organizations which are known as DTOs in law enforcement lingo “control drug distribution in most U.S. cities and they are gaining strength in markets that they do not yet control,” the National Drug Intelligence Center reported in its 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment. The report warned that violent urban gangs connected to Mexican cartels were extending their network “from inner cities to suburban and rural areas.”
Let’s move over to the Southeast now where in August of 2008 five men were found slain in an apartment in Shelby County Alabama in a suburb of Birmingham. The men had been tortured in multiple ways including having electrical burns from clamps placed on them connected to them and an improvised electrical device. They were bound with duct tape and their throats had been slashed AFTER they were killed, a signature mark from Mexico’s Gulf Cartel, based in Matamoros, right across the border from Brownsville, Texas, which covers the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico all the way up into Central and Northern Mexico and now spreading across the U.S.
Sheriff Chris Curry, knew when he got the call that this was something bigger and he called the state, the FBI, and the DEA, saying, “I don’t know what I’ve got, but I am gonna need help.” This sheriff of a small county in Alabama had now seen the violence of the Mexican Drug Cartels, right around the corner from the local Home Depot and over 1,000 miles from the Mexican Border.
Rival drug cartels, the same violent groups that have been fighting in Mexico for control of routes to lucrative U.S. markets, have now set up Atlanta as the primary distribution center for the entire eastern U.S., according to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center.
In fiscal year 2008, federal drug authorities seized about $70 million in drug-related cash in Atlanta, more than any other region in the country, Drug Enforcement Administration records show. This year, more than $30 million has already been intercepted in the Atlanta area, far more than the $19 million in Los Angeles and $18 million in Chicago.
There are five main Mexican Drug Cartels that are warring with each other as well as the Mexican Government; The Tijuana Cartel which was founded by the Arrellano Felix brothers which is just south of San Diego, The Juarez Cartel, which controls a relatively small area south of El Paso, The Beltran Leyva and Sinaloa Cartels control most of Northwest Mexico, The La Familia Cartel covers Southwest Mexico, and finally the Gulf Cartel which stretches from the border of Belize and Guatemala though the Yucatan Peninsula all the way through Central and Northern Mexico.
The cartel that concerns the U.S. authorities more than the others is the Gulf Cartel because of the rivalry of the Gulf Cartel’s Los Zetas, many of whom are former military and police trained in counternarcotics tactics in the U.S. (yes, we trained them how to avoid, elude, and beat us) and the Los Negros, the narco-military brigade of the Sinaloa Cartel. Their fights occur mainly along the border between Ciudad Juarez near where Texas and New Mexico come together, and Nuevo Laredo to the southeast of Laredo, Texas.
Now, for those of you who have stuck with me through this lengthy article I am going to tell you what the U.S. government is doing about the problem and close by giving you my opinion of what I think should be done, an opinion shared by over 500 economists, leaders of former Latin American countries, former U.S. Law Enforcement personnel and prominent U.S. politicians.
The new Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano stated that the violence that began in Mexico has started affecting innocent Americans. Last month, the administration stated that it is sending hundreds of federal agents with high tech surveillance equipment and drug-sniffing dogs to the Southwest in an effort to keep the drug cartel violence from coming into the U.S. (TOO LATE!)
The administration’s plan is to stop the cash and gun shipments coming from the U.S. into Mexico like the 1000 guns and $300,000 in cash they stopped recently on the border. So, how many thousands of guns and how many millions of dollars did make it across?
President Obama, speaking in Mexico said he would not seek to reinstate the automatic assault weapons ban which was a campaign promise but instead increase the enforcement of the laws in place. Way to bow to political special interest groups. Mexican President Calderon had hoped Obama would reinstate it since the vast majority of weapons being used by the drug cartels come from the U.S.
Okay, my turn.
We are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats; there are two countries on the verge of rapid collapse, Pakistan and Mexico.
From the report:
“The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.”
Now, what about common sense? How about having a RATIONAL and intelligent debate on the merits of continuing a failing drug war that has well exceeded a trillion dollars and costs over $40 billion a year by conservative estimates?
The topic of marijuana prohibition is not a laughing matter as President Obama insinuated with his flippant and callous attitude at the recent online town hall meeting when the subject of marijuana legalization came up. Other industrial nations have already dealt with this in favorable ways and we could learn from them. In the Netherlands they do not have an increase in usage despite their decriminalized environment and Portugal has seen drug use decrease since implementing their decriminalization measures 5 years ago.
We have a HUGE problem which has been exacerbated by our own government’s ignorance and unwillingness to look at the ONLY reasonable and logical solution.
My proposal is that we stop the madness and repeal the 1937 Marijuana Prohibition and all subsequent laws concerning cannabis sativa and replace them with a CURRENT and reasonable approach that deals with both marijuana and the industrial farming of hemp as other industrialized nations are doing with great success.
When one truly researches the issue there simply is no reason to continue an unwinnable war that has caused great financial loss as well as loss of life. Just from an economic standpoint alone, we could eliminate a 40 billion dollar deficit and create a 40 billion dollar income just from the elimination the expense of prosecuting the Drug War and the tax revenues from regulating it and taxing it. In addition the industrial farming of hemp could create jobs here in the U.S. to create products we currently import from other countries who do farm hemp. By the way, we are the ONLY industrialized nation that does NOT grow hemp.
I know that this is a very divisive issue but only because there has been a seventy year campaign of lies and misinformation that is finally being revealed to those of us who take the time to research it. That’s all I am asking, take the time to read other points of view, research the origins of the prohibition of the Cannabis Sativa plant. If you are a conscious, rational, thinking human being you will get angry when you find out the truth behind the prohibition.
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