Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mexican cartels continue supplying illegal drugs despite massive numbers of arrests and deaths

The total number of people employed in aggregate by Mexican drug cartels must be just massive.

According to the Washington Post ("Mexico launches 8th offensive in drive against drug cartels," Dec. 1), 14,000 cartel-related suspects have been arrested in Mexico in the last year, while 4,000 more people died in the intra-cartel feuds over favored supply routes in the last 18 months. Some of those 4,000 were police or elected officials who opposed illegal drug trafficking, but most deaths were from rival cartel members killing each other.

So assuming these data are accurate, that's a total 18,000+ recent cartel-related arrests and deaths. Dozens of tons of cocaine and marijuana have been captured over the same time frame, each with its own, jubilant, self-congratulatory press release. But nobody thinks any of this has done more than, at most, slightly raise the price of some drugs in some areas of the United States, and even those claims' veracity is disputable.

“What worries us as a society is that even if this year nearly 50 tons of cocaine have been seized, most of the traffic of narcotics is not detected, so the perception of impunity and corruption continues to be very high,” MarĂ­a Elena Morera, president of Mexico United Against Crime, an advocacy group, told the New York Times.

So if fifty tons of cocaine seizures, 4,000 deaths and 14,000 arrests weren't enough to reduce drug trafficking in Mexico, how many people must be arrested or killed before the problem is under control? There must be many, many more people smuggling drugs through Mexico if reducing the cartels' workforce by that amount hasn't made a major dent.

These are not just 18,000 criminals, they're 18,000 people who worked in one of the more lucrative Mexican industries, meaning that, en masse, the drug war has a negative effect on Mexican domestic demand the same way 18,000 middle-class layoffs in a major industry might effect the US economy. That's a lot of folks.

That large number of arrests must also mean they're mainly catching "little fish" with little tangible effect on overall drug supplies. Most of the bigger fish captured, with one or two high-profile exceptions, have come from the Gulf Cartel, which has led me to wonder if the overall strategy of the Mexican government might not be to pick a side in the cartel wars instead of to stop all illegal drugs. The quickest way to reduce violence in Mexico, which after all stems mainly from competition among rival illegal businesses - would be for the government to enforce an informal monopoly for one side or the other, probably the Sinaloa drug syndicate. By comparison, the Sysiphian task of halting all illegal drugs likely cannot be accomplished any time soon, even if it's what the US might prefer.

Time will tell which way Mexican President Felipe Calderon is headed.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you think illegal immigration is for one purpose and all the illegal immigration is just for Jobs. Wake up people!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually, I think that if we legalized the immigration for legit jobs, it would be MUCH easier to target the actual cartel thugs. Wake up people! :)

bob said...

But we're winning the War on Drugs, right?

Anonymous said...

Grits, Do you have a point. Let's give illegals legit jobs if they come over legally. Document their arrival etc. Let them find a legit job or visa-versa. Do you really think that legalized immigration is going to dent or provide a better focusing of targetazation on cartels through elimination of present INS/BICE law. Look at the wording of this subject on your blog. Taking out, by what evr means massive numbers of people has not stop the scurgg so why would legalizing them be any different.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sorry, I've read it several times and can't tell what you mean. Can you clarify your question? And who mentioned abolishing the BICE laws? Are you saying that reducing the need to spend enforcement on immigration wouldn't free up resources to focus on drug smuggling? If so, I don't agree. Focusing limited resources on fewer instead of more targets makes success more likely. best,

Anonymous said...

Grits,

Sorry for my confused writing. I mean changing immigration law as you suggest by allowing aliens to cross our border for legal jobs will not stop the supply of drugs from Mexico by easier targeting of cartel thugs. Either way drugs will continue their flow whether Mexican aliens are legal or not. Some would just get a free pass.

Made more sense?

Anonymous said...

no no senor. you make no sense. I crossed the border two years ago and great Texas is educating my eight childern, providing free health care and food. I mow lawns get paid in cash and pay no taxes and send the bulk of my earnings to mexico where it belongs. you dont even know I am here. Great great Texas! so no no document me. my life is good.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@9:59 - There are so many fallacies in your obviously non-authentic comment that I won't even bother to go through them - suffice it to say satire works better when its based in reality.

@1:40: Bottom line, document workers and it frees up enforcement resources to go after drug cartels. If immigration enforcement strategies = X, drug enforcement strategies = Y, and Z = total enforcement resources, then currently our enforcement efficiency is (X+Y)/Z. Legalize immigration for labor to match market demand, and that equation becomes Y/Z, meaning there's a greater impact on drug smuggling per enforcement dollar spent.

Anonymous said...

Grits in theory that does make sense. It may free up and allow more assets to fight smugglers. But let's face reality. Unless you militerize the boarder the factors you utilize will become a fraction again of what resources the cartels will put forth to continue in their trade. I am for allowing honest alien citizens in to work. But that will also open another channal for cartels to manipulate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Scott - here's the reallity of illegal immgration. I can't complete with them in the construction industry. I have to pay taxes on my earnings, they dont. I have to be bonded, they dont. I have secure a two million insurance policy to work, they dont. I have to pay workers comp, they dont. I have to pay a hefty annual to TRCC, they dont. I have to secure high cost permits, licsenced plumbers and electricians, they dont. I have to provide a three warranty on my work, they dont. I have to still speak spanish, they dont have to nor will they speak the official language of America. And yet what to residential consumers do - they hire the illegal because he's cheaper and carries no overhead cost. That's reality Scott.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@10:49, then why not change the reality through legal immigration?

"I have to pay taxes on my earnings, they dont."

While this isn't really true in Texas where sales taxes and property taxes from rent are paid by everybody, to the extent you're correct, amnesty corrects it immediately. I'll guarantee most illegal immigrants would pay taxes to relieve themselves of the risks of illegality.

"I have to be bonded, they dont. I have secure a two million insurance policy to work, they dont. I have to pay workers comp, they dont. I have to pay a hefty annual to TRCC, they dont."

Again, not strictly true since the company they work for is bonded, insured, pays worker comp, etc. E.g., the Mexicans playing corridos on the radio all day building the condos behind my house right now are employed by a firm that does all those things. But again, amnesty solves the problem you're complaining about - why shouldn't they comply with the same laws you do? Mainly because folks who believe like you don't want to let them!

Can't you see the irony?!

Anonymous said...

There is a little unknown alien conspiracy going on in this country especially in the construction business in Texas. It is called sabotage.

Texas companies are hiring illegals because they are cheap to employ. They work and work very hard at the same time destroying the infrastructure/equipment/stolen supplies/redone work etc of that business. Soon that Texas business is unable to compete or simply has lost it's competive edge and eventually folds.

Our alien friends then buy out or take that construction businesses, business. Then they engage in bidding that is way below other American contractors. They get the job not only because they are cheaper, they are minorities. Yes they still get paid much less to their work. However, those workers then make more than before working for Gringo because many of their illegals buddies are doing the same thing to Gringo for Mexican American contractors who then take over that work load of Texas business that is unable, due to Sabotage.

We are being taken over and don't even realize it. Oucheee wa wa!!!!

Anonymous said...

I cant see irony in this because I am in the trench at 5:00am everyday fighting to make a living for my family. and trying to do right thing by hiring legal americans that belong in the country. I did not make these unfair rules but I abide them because my consequences could possibly be a stint in the TDCJ and not get a free ride back home to mexico. I say no to your left sided thoughts. I say no to legalize or grandfather in immigration. If want to stay and work in this great country then you do the right thing and go through the entire process of becoming a US citizen.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If you can't see irony, how about foolishness? You're advocating the most radical version of the policies you say are harming you. Brilliant. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

12:47am., you are the exception.

Anonymous said...

you're a lefist blogger Scott you dont know what is happening out here. your too busy trying to make a ridiculous points on your site, like jane fonda an others who just want to stand on the soap box to stand. Foolishness, hardly. anyway blog away to pursuade the simple.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Calling me a leftist doesn't change the facts. I'm listening to what you say is happening, and the problems you describe aren't from immigrants, they're from the laws that limit legal immigration. Unless the things you described aren't really a problem, in which case I'm not sure what you're complaining about.

Anonymous said...

Scott it's not the lack of laws that limit immigration the creates the solution to the problem it's all about illegal immigration. period. They are simply here illegally. The drug war the immigration war it's the same, a zero sum game. The difference is we want the drugs, we dont want illegal immigration. It's bad for all. Just look at the farmers branch community in north dallas to truly see why we are at a cross road of this infestation, destroying the infrastructure of American. We can longer ask for the weak and weary on ellis island.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

If "we" didn't want the immigration, Mexican immigrants couldn't find jobs. Nothing in economics is a "zero sum game," and certainly not labor markets or black markets for drugs.

You cannot (or should not) complain of problems created by your own proposals and then claim that doing more of the same will make things better. If your competitors don't comply with the law, let's make it possible for them to do so. But these complaints sound disingenuous if you really just want your competition gone, which is what it sounds like to me.