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MEXICAN DRUG LORDS

Mexican Drug Lords


Eric Rixson
The University of Kentucky

MEXICAN DRUG LORDS

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Abstract

The Mexican American war on drugs was been on going for years. Richard Nixons presidency
began the War on Drugs, and has been continued ever since. While there has been tens of
thousands of busts in Mexico, at the border, and in America, they have barely lessened the
magnitude and constant flow of drugs from Mexico to the United States. But who is on top of all
of this illegal activity? Mexican drug lords. Theyve been around for years and have been known
for being some of the richest men in the world, having the most extravagant luxuries, while also
being some of the most ruthless people on the planet.

MEXICAN DRUG LORDS

Mexican drug cartels take in between $19 and $29 billion annually from U.S. drug sales.
I recently began watching a Netflix series called Narcos, which portrays Pablo Escobar and his
reign over the production, transportation, and selling of drugs, mainly cocaine, in Colombia. The
series focuses on Escobars late-life at the peak of his reign, and was so thrilling that it made me
want to explore further more for myself, into the facts behind Mexican drug lords and not just
what some show portrays.

Mexican drug trafficking has always occurred due to a very lacking police force and a
very weak judicial system, providing great lead way for low level drug dealers to work their way
up. In 1971, president Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs. For the ten years following, the
United States government used aerial tactics and significantly reduced the amount of drugs
entering the United States. In response, drug trafficking gradually moved out of Mexico and into
Colombia and many other South American countries. Drug production moved from formality
amongst buyers and sellers to a more underground world. People moved to more rural places to
get away from cities, where police forces were majorly located, so they could cook, grow, or
manufacture whatever they please. The article An Overview of Mexicos Drug War states
that, demographic youth bulges, and a massive influx of drug money from the coke craze in
the United States during the 1970s kick started the globalization process of drug cartels
throughout the region, (An Overview of Mexicos Drug War, 2015). This quote demonstrates
how younger children were being involved with trafficking. It also shows that this was the time
of the real rise in cocaine, and kingpins began to push their work out of its homeland boundaries
and into the hands of the people of the world. Mexican king pins (a person or thing that is
essential to the success of an organization or operation) can be traced back a good thirty-five

MEXICAN DRUG LORDS

years to 1980, when Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo founded the GuadalajaraCartel. Felix Gallardo
controlled all marijuana and opium importation to the U.S. from Mexico. Furthermore, he made
connections with persons of Colombias drug culture and began a worldwide network of drugs,
death, and money-making. From here, we see the rise of cartels such as Los Zetas, Gulf Cartel,
Tijuana Cartel, and the Juarez Cartel. In fairly recent news, we see the escape of Mexican
kingpin Joaqun Archivaldo Guzmn Loera, or better known as el Chapo. He saw his rise to
power in 2003 when his top rival was arrested and became known as the most powerful drug
trafficker in the world, (Joaqun Guzmn, 2015).

Mexican king pins mainly traffic drugs within their own country, all of South America,
and heavily to the United States. There is a set process cartels follow to make, transport, and sell
these drugs. It begins with production. Often times crews are assembled deep in the forests of
Mexico, in such things as tents and other rigged shelters for cocaine or heroin production, or on a
plot of land deep in the woods for growing marijuana as well to stay under the radar. Once the
process of production is over, these crews package and transport drugs to wherever they need to
go. If they need to reach some other sort of transportation, like a plane, which are in fact used,
they drive to wherever they need to go to get it there. Other methods of transportation include
boats, cars, and mules (people who transport drugs by foot). From When the Mexican Drug
Trade Hits the Border, The nature of narcotics trafficking changes as shipments near the border.
As in any supply chain, shipments become smaller as they reach the retail level, requiring more
people to be involved in the operation. While Mexican cartels do have representatives in cities
local gangs get involved in the actual distribution of the narcotics, (When the Mexican Drug
Hits the Border, 2009). This quote shows how things break down once shipments hit the border.

MEXICAN DRUG LORDS

More people are required at this point because shipments are split up, and you cannot take full
shipments across the border. It would be better to have many different people take smaller
shipments across the border and have a few get caught because at least some product still makes
it across. If you take a whole shipment at once and they get caught, the entire shipment is lost.
The article Four of Five Border Patrol Drug Busts Involve US Citizens states that, Three out
of four people found with drugs by the border agency are U.S. citizens, the data show. Looked at
another way, when the immigration status is known, 4 out of 5 busts which may include
multiple people involve a U.S. citizen, (Agustin Armendariz, 2013). Stereotypically, most
would picture a Mexican man when they think of the transportation of narcotics across the
Mexican United States border. By fact, three out of four people who are busted at the border
are American citizens, killing the stereotype that most trafficking is done by Mexican citizens.
Many United States citizens are taken prisoner by drug cartels and forced into the drug trade,
being used as drug mules who transport narcotics and money back and forth between Mexico
and the United States. Many get involved willingly. They seek the thrill behind the drug trade or
the income that the drug trade can bring.

There are many levels to cartels. At the top are bosses who controls different sanctions
and make major decisions. Next, we see underbosses who translate the orders of higher-ups and
who would take the possible criminal charges for the wrong-doing of higher-ups. Furthermore,
we see advisors who do exactly what their title is: give advice to the boss regarding criminal
activities and give advice on how to handle matters within the family. Next come captains, who
run the day-to-day. They settle disputes and move money up the chain to higher-ups. Next are
lieutenants, who control lower ranking members and take the criminal charges for higher ups.

MEXICAN DRUG LORDS


Looking further, there are soldiers who are the lowest in rank and are usually solely the newest
recruits. They do much of the dirty work and would receive the hardest charges if a case is
caught. Lastly, we see associates, who deal with the doings of cartels but are not a part of the
organization. These men are not a part due to ethnicity and are controlled by all higher-ups.

In conclusion, drug lords have been around for years. They extend globally, distributing
drugs and causing havoc all over the world. They have been known for being some of the
wealthiest, yet most ruthless men in the world. They will do whatever it takes to avoid
prosecution, make their dollar, and live to provide for their homeland. There is many levels to
these drug lords reign, all of which being located beneath them.

MEXICAN DRUG LORDS

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Works Cited

Becker, Andrew, Tia Ghose, and G.W. Schulz. "Four of Five Border Patrol Drug Busts Involve
US Citizens, Records Show." Reveal. N.p., 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 06 Oct. 2015.
"Mexican Drug War." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Oct. 2015.
"Mexico Drug War Fast Facts." CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Oct. 2015.
Mixon, Jon. "What Is the Organizational Structure of a Drug Cartel?Frequently Asked in." The
Organizational Structure of a Drug Cartel. N.p., 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 06 Oct. 2015.
"When the Mexican Drug Trade Hits the Border." Stratfor. Security Weekly, 15 Apr. 2009. Web.
06 Oct. 2015.