The problem of drug abuse is extremely significant nowadays. Drugs are everywhere. Children can buy them even in schools and on the streets. People die every minute, because they cannot stop using drugs and change their lives. According to the report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), around 8% of the American population above the age of 12 had experimented with illicit drugs in 2008 (Dean et al. 7).
Despite the fact that this problem is widespread, there is no one possible solution of how to overcome it. The problem of drug cartels is the central point in the analysis of the anti-drugs policy since these organizations are responsible for dissemination of drugs all over the globe. The war on drugs continues till now since this significant issue takes millions of human lives every year.
Nowadays, drug cartels became a real threat to national security in many countries. Current research paper seeks to analyze their activity and the core problems connected with drug cartels.
The Problem of Drug Cartels
Increased demand for cocaine is the core reason for appearing of drug cartels. Taking the greater segments of market, the drug cartels became the multi-national corporations. Many politicians confess that drug cartels along with organized crime are the greatest threat to the modern world. These multi-national corporations are responsible for money laundering as well as traffic of illegal drugs. It was revealed that Mexican drug smugglers had laundered hundreds of billions of dollars through one of America’s largest banks (Dean et al. 20). This allows them to earn enormous profits and thus to corrupt economic and political systems in many countries. These corporations threaten the world democracy and without proper attention to this problem, the drug cartels will obviously continue to grow. Authorities should find a completely new approach to drug cartels in order to destroy them.
Unemployed youth from poor and criminalized provincial cities are the social base of the drug cartels; many of these people are actually run by drug lords.
Drug cartels have close ties with corrupt officials in Mexico City, and in some states, corruption is spread among the power structures, which are often not used to struggle against drug trafficking, but for the redistribution of the market between the drug cartels.
Drug cartels often collaborate and enter into temporary alliances with each other and with the organized crime groups outside the country, primarily in the United States, Colombia and Central America. However, the struggle for financial flows, power and influence is constantly accompanied by a large number of victims. During the clashes of militants of the various drug cartels, hundreds of people die; moreover, many murders are committed with demonstrative brutality in order to intimidate rivals. Drug cartels influence public authorities, law enforcement agencies and the media.
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Mexican Drug War
Mexico’s drug war is the conflict between rival drug cartels, government troops and police in Mexico. Only during the first five years (from 2006 to the end of 2011), more than 47,500 people became the victims of the armed struggle of Mexican drug cartels.
The history of modern Mexican drug traffickers begins in 1940s, when the farmers from the mountain villages of the Mexican state of Sinaloa began to grow marijuana. However, for a long time, Mexicans served as one of the channels of supply of Colombian cocaine to North America. Mexicans could not conquer with powerful Columbian drug cartels. Cali drug cartel was one of the most powerful drug organizations.
The heyday of Mexican drug gangs began after the defeat by the U.S. Colombian drug cartels Cali and Medellin. One by one, El Mexicali and Pablo Emilio Escobar were killed; the brothers Carlos Ochoa and Leder (El Aleman) of the Medellin cartel became the prisoners.
Also, after the close of Americans Colombian drug supply chain through Florida, the Mexican way of delivery was in fact no alternative. Weakened Colombians could no longer dictate their rules to the Mexicans and were only selling them large quantities of drugs at wholesale prices.
As a result, the Mexican gangs have gained control over the entire chain of drug trafficking. They managed to expand significantly the scope of business: from 2000 to 2005, shipments of cocaine from South America to Mexico increased more than two times.
Prior to 2006, periodic mafia showdown practically did not affect the ordinary Mexicans. Drug cartels were engaged in big business, and big business requires calm environment. Drug gangs have even become a part of the everyday lives of citizens. Ordinary people, seeing the success of the drug business, especially on the background of total poverty in the country, have started to compose the so-called “drug ballads”.
Everything was changed with the victory of Felipe Calderon in the presidential election of 2006. After his election, the new head of state has declared war on drug cartels immediately. Analyzing the existing situation, Cook concludes that in addition to drug trafficking, Mexican cartels have been tied to both human and arms trafficking, auto theft, and kidnapping. (Cook 9)
To this day, the Sinaloa Cartel remains the dominant drug trading organization in Mexico, with a monopoly on up to 45% of the industry” (Dean et al. 8). Sinaloa, Pacific Cartel is the largest drug cartel in Mexico; it is also known as the Guzmán-Loera Organization. Sinaloa drug cartel imported nearly 200 tons of cocaine and a large amount of heroin in the USA from 1990s to 2008. Sinaloa has about 1,000 fighters in the submission. During a massive security operation in the U.S. state of Arizona, the law enforcement officers have arrested 70 people suspected of smuggling drugs in October 31, 2011. All of them collaborated with the Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa.
There are now seven the most powerful organizations: Sinaloa, Tijuana/AFO, Juárez/CFO, Beltrán Leyva, Los Zetas, Gulf, and La Familia Michoacana (Dean et al. 8).
Currently, Mexico is the main foreign supplier of cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States, and the Mexican drug cartels dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States. The arrests of the leaders of the cartels have led to an increasing level of violence, as the cartels have exacerbated the struggle among themselves for control of the trafficking routes into the United States. Cook states, “Mexican cartels are also increasing their relationships with prison and street gangs in the United States in order to facilitate drug trafficking within the United States as well as wholesale and retail distribution of the drugs” (Cook 9).
Drug cartels get from $25 to $40 billion a year on the US market. In general, Mexico produces annually about 10 tons of marijuana and 8 tons of heroin. Almost 30% of farmland suitable for processing in the country is planted by marijuana. In addition, almost 90% of the cocaine consumed in the United States goes through Mexico. The majority of methamphetamine consumed in the United States is made in the Mexican laboratories.
The United States, as it is known, is not only the main market of drugs, but also a source of weapons involved in the disassembly of the drug cartels in Mexico.
Pablo Emilio Escobar
“Pablo Escobar became a famous criminal legend of the old-fashioned way” (Escobar, 2012) as he created his career based on drug selling business, smuggling and money laundering within the whole life. He referred to one of the most authoritative drug dealers that possessed power to the end of his days. Escobar was a real personality despite he distributed cocaine beyond Colombia. Moreover, he was not indifferent to the surrounding world and the existent problems allocating large sums of money to such issues as poverty and healthcare.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was born on the first of December in 1949 in Rionegro, Colombia in the middle-class family. His father Abel de Jesus Dari Ascobar worked as a cattle farmer, and his mother Hermilda Gaviria was an elementary school teacher (Slone, 2013). Escobar did not live in poverty as his mother was a respected teacher, and his father worked hard and persistent in order to get the appropriate income. However, the house, which they possessed, did not have either electricity or running water. Such living conditions showed that the family belonged to the upper class of society. Later, Escobar and his family moved to Medellin and began to live better than before. Firstly, Escobar’s father found a good job as a watchman, and a mother continued to teach children from the suburbs. In such a way, Escobar had enough food and clothes, and he even was fond of music. However, previous life had a negative impact on the boy’s mind and the perception of the world as it left the precise trace of injustice and bloodshed.
Escobar started his initial career “as a small-time criminal in the slums and back roads outside Medellin, Colombia” (Levinthal, 2012). In such a way, he began to deal with drugs, and for the first time, the police arrested him due to unlawful possession of cocaine at the age of twenty-six. In some period, Escobar created a so-called Medellin Cartel that was a major alliance based on the cocaine trafficking. This corporation controlled cocaine business including the United States of America. Besides, Escobar made a decision to reinforce his position and power in society, and took part in the elections of the Columbian Congress. He became a member of the Congress, but he realized that cocaine business could give him more opportunities to develop his power. Thus, Escobar continued his way connected with a boundless violence and constant bribes.
In 1984, Escobar was defined as a billionaire that got more than two billion dollars every year. On the other hand, he helped poor people and invested some money into the hospitals and the development of the soccer stadium. Additionally, Escobar used much money in order to support his favorite soccer team named Atletico Nacional. He applied drug incomes “to benefit the community, building soccer fields and providing all the necessary equipment for the impoverished children in Medellin” (Dutt, n.d.). On the other hand, Columbia turned into a cruel country being full of violence and crimes, and the police blamed Escobar in all current events and results. Thus, he was forced to hide everywhere, but once it was impossible to escape, and the DEA agents traced him and killed.
Summing up, Pablo Escobar was a well-known drug dealer, who was busy with the cocaine trafficking, but charity was an integral part of his life. People called him “Lord of the Drugs” and a “Robin Hood” at the same time as he possessed a strong character being kind as well. He had all the accurate “characteristics of a strategist and a businessman as he united the appropriate aspects of a pragmatic negotiator” (Rodriguez, 2005).
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that Mexican drug cartels are extremely numerous. They have well-developed and well-equipped private armies that are replenished including former members of the Mexican army and police. The militants are equipped with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, have modern equipment and means of communication, armored cars, etc. The total number of fighters of all Mexican drug cartels is about 100,000 people. Over time, the balance of power between the various Mexican cartels changes; the new ones arise and the old ones are weakening and falling apart. Failures in the system, for example, the arrest or death of the leader of the cartel generates bloodshed caused by a power vacuum.