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The Role of Sinaloa Cartel and Other Cartels in the Drug War

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In 1981, Raegan was in office as president and shared the same belief as Nixon that fighting the demand for the drug had no good outcome. Raegan believed that it would be more effective to take away the customers rather than trying to take away the drugs. If one tries to take away the drugs, then he or she never accomplish his or her goal because there will always be demand where there is supply. Following in Nixon’s footsteps, Raegan did not listen to his own advice, and the amount of funding for the eradication programs increased to $1.4 billion from $437 million during his first term.

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Raegan developed a program known as the “zero tolerance” program. This program requires people to face set penalties for the committed crime relating to alcohol or drug abuse. The Zero tolerance policy prohibited the “transfer of illicit drugs across U.S. borders, no possession, import, or exportation of illicit drugs was tolerable, and possession of any measurable amount of illicit drugs was subject to all available civil and criminal sanctions.” (Windham)Following after this in 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse gave the drug user full accountability. Still with block grants that were given during this time for drug treatment and rehabilitation, the efforts were not able to meet the overwhelming amounts of drug abuse.

Then comes Clinton. In 1995 Clinton set aside an extra one billion dollars for both the demand and supply front of the government drug policy. Clinton took initiative and attracted the media’s attention by doubling the spending for rehabilitation and prevention programs. Through his actions he presented a supply sided approach. Clinton did not change the direction of the United States drug policy, but he did present innovative proposals. Clinton wanted community action and empowerment in the demand side of the great drug war.

Mexico’s drug war has caused many lives to be lost, even those that are innocent. Since 2006, the country has seen over three hundred thousand homicides since the anti-drug campaigns. Then following into 2018, homicides linked to drug cartels hit a high of thirty-six thousand. Not stopping there, the trend continues in 2019 with about ninety murders daily. The illegal drug trade started first in Mexico.

In 1916, opium was only known as a United States problem, and President Venustiana Carranza wanted to keep it that way; he did not want opium to become yet another problem for Mexico. To avoid obtaining this problem, he passed a law banning opium imports. Four years later, Mexican authorities passed legislation illegalizing pot to avoid violence and disorder.

Mexico established its first anti-drug law which outlawed the use of marijuana and some opiates. This law was established to reduce the number of drug dealers coming into Mexico from the United States. If drugs are being taken away, so is the urge to migrate toward that area to sell it. During this time, drug use was very rare in Mexico.

In the 1930’s, when the United States created the law that taxed marijuana, Mexican growers started to ship marijuana north to meet the demand. “So, Mexico initially began timidly exporting marijuana to the United States. It crossed the border in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, but it represented no national security threat to the United States,” said Victor Clark Alfaro, Tijuana’s leading expert on narco-traffic. Where there is demand there is supply. By putting a tax on marijuana, the United States made it harder to import such drugs, which helped create a decrease in distribution.

Mexico then began an anti-drug campaign designed to target a region known as the Golden triangle, a well-known flourishing opium and marijuana growing area located where the three states of Durango, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua come together. The anti-drug campaign created a shift in drug policies and enforcement. The drug business kept climbing.

September 1969, even though President Richard Nixon set forth Operation Intercept, the United States demand kept growing, and Mexican supply kept growing with it. Around the time of 1971, poppy production began to grow in Mexico, and in turn, exports to the United States did as well. Production and smuggling over the border satisfied the growing demand in the United States. In the mid- 1980’s, the United States- Mexican Border became the main transport route for marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs to smuggle into the United States. By the time the 1990’s came around, Mexican Drug traffickers dominated in drug distribution and introduced methamphetamine. In the 1980’s and 90’s, the United States’s effort to stop cocaine traffickers in Central America and Caribbean just lead the South American drug cartels to shift operations to Mexico.

December 2006, Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug gangs. He deployed thousands of troops and federal police to the most affected areas, such as Mexican states bordering the United States. He deployed more than 6,500 Mexican soldiers to the state of Michoacán to battle drug traffickers. Within the first few weeks of the government crackdown on drug trafficking, 62 people were killed. During the year of 2007, many things occurred. For example: more than 20,000 Mexican soldiers and federal police were spread out across Mexico as part of President Calderon’s drug war. The president then fired 284 federal police commanders to help weed out corruption. Within just the first full year of the drug war, 2,837 people were killed. In 2012, President Enrique Pena Niceto continued to use narco-police, but based on statistics, this had little effect, and many people have gone missing since. In 2009, the Mexican government reported 9,635 deaths in the drug war. During the year of 2010, the bodies of seventy-two migrants from south and central America were discovered on a ranch in Tamaulipas state. It is believed that fifty-eight men and fourteen women were kidnapped by the Los Zetas cartel and killed off for refusing to traffic drugs. Through all these years a trend continued to appear stronger and stronger, and that is the trend of violence. President Calderon told CNN in Spanish, “We live next to the world’s largest drug consumer, and all the world wasn’t to sell them drugs through our door and our window. And we live next to the world’s largest arms seller, which is supplying the criminals.” In 2011, the Mexican government says that 34,612 citizens have been killed during the four-year drug war. One disturbing thing also occurred, ten police officers, including a police chief, are arrested on charges of protecting the Lost Zetas Drug Cartel. 

Because of this incident, lines started to get blurred on who the people can put their faith and trust in. If there are law enforcement officials bending the truth, the realization of who will seek justice is seen. Boundaries were also set during 2011. For example, on September 13, 2011 a murdered man and woman are found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo. Near their mutilated bodies was a sign that said that they were killed for denouncing drug cartel activities on a social media site. The sign also threatened to kill others who post “funny things on the internet.” In 2012, the office of Mexico’s Attorney General released a statement stating that nearly 13,000 people were killed in drug violence between January and September 2011. In 2014 a United States official told CNN that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the boss of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking operations, had been arrested in Mexico. This was one of Mexico’s biggest accomplishments because taking away such a large influencer within drug trafficking creates a statement that law enforcement officials are not messing around. 

Even though the message was received that officials were not messing around, drug lord El Chapo did not pay attention to the message. He was one of the most powerful drug lords, and for someone to think he or she could hold him captive was pretty naive. In 2015, El Chapo did make his great escape through a hole in his cell block that led to tunnel about a mile long. This was not El Chapo’s first escape from prison, which dates back to 2001. In 2016, due to a cross border raid by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials, twenty-four Sinaloa cartel members were arrested. They also acquired hundreds of pounds of narcotics and weapons. 2017 was the most violent year on record in Mexico with 29,000 homicides. High violence did not just stop during this year, but carried on into the year 2018. During an Independence Day celebration located at Morelia’s town square, grenades were thrown into the crowd killing eight people. This incident marked the first terrorist-style attack on innocent bystanders in Mexico’s drug war. Just last year, Mexico saw a record 30,499 murders, up more than fifteen percent in 2017. Looking at and reading about all the increases in number of homicides shows that not even in one year in Mexico’s history was there a decrease. This shows that all the policies and prohibition that were set in place cannot hold the violence and dangerous nature that the drug war brings.

Cartels, as previously mentioned have played a huge role in the drug war. Cartels have posed a threat to the United States and Mexico’s reputation. Mexico’s drug cartels for decades have grown, developed alliances, fought one another, and gained power. In order to truly understand why the drug war is still flourishing and stronger than ever is to understand its source, cartels. They are the main contributors to the Drug war. A good place to start is the Sinaloa Cartel. The Sinaloa Cartel is one of Mexico’s oldest and most influential cartels. It was formerly led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Next is the Jalisco cartel. The Jalisco cartel branched off from the Sinaloa cartel in 2010. Third is the Juarez Cartel. They are the rival cartel of Sinaloa. Fourth is the Gulf Cartel; they are one of the oldest organized crime groups, but over the years have lost their territory and influence . Fifth is Los Zetas. They are the country’s most technologically advanced, complex, and violent organizations. The War on Drugs and prohibition had a huge impact on the world, United States of America, and Mexico. 

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