Thursday, September 07, 2006

War on Drugs looking awfully war-like in Mexico

Mexico is paying a heavy, heavy price for the War on Drugs.

The director of Nuevo Leon's State Investigations Agency was assassinated on Tuesday - two shots to the head by a lone gunman who ambushed him at an art gallery. Nuevo Leon is a Mexican state bordering Texas.

Think about that for a moment: For Texans, this would be the unspeakable equivalent of a criminal gang killing Colonel Tommy Davis over at the Texas Department of Public Safety, or perhaps the head of his narcotics division James Brubaker. OMG. :-0

The same night, the Houston Chronicle reports this morning, "Masked gunmen burst into a nightclub early Wednesday (in Michoacan) and flung five human heads onto the dance floor in what was easily one of the most shocking incidents of drug violence in Mexico this year."

That last incident comes on the heels of multiple decapitations of police in Acapulco in August and the assassination of numerous officers along the border.

All hell appears breaking loose in the Mexican end of the drug war.

Now that the power vacuum in the Mexican presidency has nearly ended, with Felipe Calderon's victory affirmed by the courts, the power vacuum in the streets becomes even more painfully obvious. Mexican police are underpaid and in key areas largely bought off. Reported the Chronicle:
''The only way to stop the violence in Michoacan would be to replace the entire police force at all levels," said a state intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. ''You can't imagine what a huge problem we have here."
The smugglers have figured out the same Border Economics 101 the Chamber of Commerce types described in my blog post the other day: Mexico enjoys a near-term strategic advantage, or a disadvantage, depending on how you look at it, because of its position as a transportation hub to meet US demand for all kinds of goods, including drugs.

"Poor Mexico," lamented dictator Porfirio Diaz, "So far from God, so close to the United States."


Anonymous said...

I want to add something to the equation so your readers can get a better understanding of what's not working.

Last count, the DEA had offices with spanish speaking personnel in Ciudad Juarez, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Mazatlan, Merida, Monterrey, Tijuana, and the mother ship which is located in Mexico City. There are more DEA Agents in Mexico than Texas and they were put there to coordinate drug intelligence so that large scale trafficking organizations outside the U.S. can be identified, dismantled, and destroyed.
The Agents in Mexico were once assigned to DEA offices in the U.S. where they exemplified themselves in some cooperative manner. That largely meant sitting in the DEA office waiting for some state and local to bring them a state and local case they wrote up and prosecuted as a federal case. Then the state and locals write the DEA Agents up for awards and the DEA Agents write the state and locals up for awards. Neat huh.
In Mexico that cooperative model doesn't seem to be working because the state and local police are largely owned by the traffickers.
You have no idea how much money is spent maintaining a DEA presence in Mexico with Agents who have no clue how to function without that state and local connection. It's what they're taught. It's what they're rewarded. Those Agents are sitting in their offices running telephone number leads, coordinating nothing, because they simply don't know how to do anything else.

Anonymous said...

Good point by all!

If we legalized and regulated drugs, we would " NOT " have to be interfering in other countries politics or BUSINESS! At the same time we would be showing the world, WE ARE TAKING RESPONSIBILTY for our peoples choices , NOT BLAMING OTHERS!!! The key to this problem is " DRUG CONTROL AND MONEY ", FACT! At the present time after 40+ years and a TRILLION dollars later, the criminals STILL CONTROL " ALL " ASPECTS OF THE DRUG TRADE, FACT! They control the quantity, quality, price AND AGE LIMIT!!! Both the good guys and the bad guys are ADDICTED to the power and money of this CASH COW, FACT!!!

Legalizing and regulating drugs " IS NOT " to solve our drug use problem, " IT IS " to solve the control and violence problem! Then we can use the 69 BILLION dollars a year to address our drug use problem, WHILE HELPING instead of terrorizing and harming our sons and daughters!!!

How long do we continue with a KNOWN FAILURE??? How can we spread this KNOWN FAILURE around the world??? I invite all to watch the 12 minute video on our home page at

There has got to be a better way!

Rusty White

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Rusty White that the next step is legalization of drugs in part because many drugs are legal now and a user of oxycontin (legal) can be just as violent as someone who uses heroin (illegal).
Secondly, Colombians don't manufacture Oxycontin, Dilaudid, and Ritalin so saying criminals control every aspect of the drug trade is abosolutely ridiculous.
I'm a retired DEA Agent and I know from 23 years of experience that currently most all of the federal resources (money, manpower, etc) are supporting local and state initiatives on the demand side not the supply side.
Even though DEA has several offices in every state and over 80 offices worldwide, they are a numbers driven agency and one Juan Arellano Felix doesn't pay the bills like 80 users, addicts, and reoffenders in Colorado.
To prove it look at drug availability, purity, drug overdoses, prices, and a rising jail population.
Right now large piles of federal money, federal manpower, federal courts, and federal resources are domestically focused on a foreign enemy. They were set up to deal with a foreign enemy so that unfocused approach is akin to the U.S. Army using it's resources to invade a small U.S. city like Abilene.
If those that want to legalize all drugs were smart, they'd first untangle the domestic task force concept and reallocate money so it's spent on targeting real sources, suppliers, and manufacturers in source countries, not some mutt that the Drug Exaggeration Administration claims in a press release was a supplier, a source, and manufacturer.
That effort will at least move the drug policy issue more to the middle and make sure power and big piles of money are used for powerfully big traffickers.

Anonymous said...

Some would say that the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" of what constituted a relative handful of mobsters so shocked and horrified the general public that more impetus was given to end alcohol Prohibition.

Given the much higher body count associated with the trade since the 1980's, it's fair to ask how many more horrific deaths will it take before we do to the cartellistas what our great-grandparents did to Al Capone?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:39, with all due respect, I beg to differ with you. The main problem has always been domestic demand, not foreign supply. That demand has produced its' own 'evolutionary pressures' which have only resulted in greater violence amongst suppliers seeking to achieve market we see in Mexico.

Underlying all those pressures has been drug prohibition itself, providing ever greater incentives for black market activities. Increasing the penalties for production and trafficking have only led to greater profits, more players seeking to enter the market, greater violence, etc.

The drug cartels are like the mythical hydra; cut one head off, two or more grow to replace it. It's long past time to stop swinging the sword at the hydra's heads; the d-n things just keep growing back. Stab its heart, instead.

At the risk of sounding like a social darwinist, no amount of effort, money, or cop's lives will keep a fool from snorting the chemical equivalent of dried gut acid (cocaine hydrochloride, as in hydrochloric, as in the acid in your stomach) up their nose or sticking a needle into their veins. To paraphrase Yeshua the Carpenter, such will always be with us. If they are Hell-bent on slow suicide, then the threat to society in general by their actions in supporting cartels could be significantly reduced by allowing them cheap, State-controlled access to their particular poisons. If we are truly serious about eliminating this threat, this is what must be done, and all the shrieks from the scandalized self-appointed morals proctors who back this losing war will have to be they were after Prohibition ended. Too much is at stake, anymore; the intel suggests Los Zetas are operating on this side of the border as well. How long before what is becoming commonplace in Mexico happens here?

Anonymous said...

I used to think things like this only happened in Colombia. Then it was Central America. Now it's Mexico. Tomorrow Texas? This is getting really scary.

Anonymous said...

anybody ever watch The Wire on HBO?
New season this Sunday night.
Excellant show...a real kick in the gut.

Anonymous said...


Prohibition ended in 1933 and at the time it ended, the automobile was not a consideration for ending it.

70 years later, drunk drivers kill 17,000 people on the highways in drunk driving accidents.

Would you have passed it then if you knew 70 years later that many people would be killed? Are you so narrow minded that you think legalizing drugs only allows the drug user to use without affecting or impacting the lives of those that don't.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:06 asks:

Would you have passed it then if you knew 70 years later that many people would be killed? Are you so narrow minded that you think legalizing drugs only allows the drug user to use without affecting or impacting the lives of those that don't.

I don't wish to be insulting, but this argument is specious at best and sophomoric at its worst. This is like saying that the manufacturers of knives should be held legally liable for every act of mayhem, manslaughter and murder committed with an sharpened, edged piece of metal.

Alcohol use begins with a voluntary choice. That voluntary choice carries with it reponsibilities, such as wise usage.

Fail to adhere to those responsibilties and there are legal penalties for such failures. Which, as it should not need to be pointed out...but always seems to need re-iterating for some one of the hallmarks of being an adult in this society. A point which our great-grandparents a priori took for granted. But, for some reason, the proponents of prohibition always seem to need reminding of.

Our great-grandparents saw that the damage caused by alcohol Prohibition far outweighed the never-realized supposed 'benefits' of its inception and continuance. So, understanding the balance between the needs of society and the rights of the individual (which many prohibitionists of any stripe never seem to grasp) decided in favor of ending "The Great Experiment" because it turned out to be an unmitigated botch, causing damage to both. As does the DrugWar today.

To argue against rescinding drug prohibition as you have makes a tacit argument for the reduction of adults to the level of children...lorded over by a Nanny-State comprised of fellow citizens who are no less fallible or subject to corruption than you are or I am. Or are you stating that public officials become magically sainted as part of their inauguration and are thus immune to the innate corruption prohibition of any sort engenders? The reality being presented in Mexico would argue otherwise. But what is happening overtly there happens covertly here; the corruption brought about by prohibition is just better hidden, but no less tangible. And no less destructive of democratic institutions here as it is there.

Anonymous said...


All I asked was a question and I'm pretty sure that me and every one else who read what you wrote would say you didn't.

But on the other hand you did in a very intellectually stimulating way.

Next time answer the question like an adult would and don't ramble with anectdotal history and references to my grandparents.

If you would repeal prohibition then based on what you know now you're evil. I doubt anyone would disagree since you'd trade 17,000 lives for your privilege to drink.

As it relates to your knife comparison. Voluntary intoxication is a defense to Special Intent crimes so there's a big difference when someone is drunk and they use a car or a knife to kill someone. Courts recognize that someone drunk may not be able to form the intent necessary so the act is considered unintentional but reckless (at different levels).

A person who picks up a knife with the intent to stab or hurt someone is legally different than a drunk driver. They're separated by their ability to form the intent so your argument about the knife company and it's responsibility for making the knife is nothing but sophestry.

Anonymous said...


Well said, shame we have one disagreeing with you, and while doing so appears to want to bring back another known failure, PROHIBITION OF ALCOHOL!

anonymous with the alcohol question, would you bring back a know failure? Why would you force your biases on the MILIONS AND MILLIONS of responsible drinkers??? It is those such as yourself who have ALREADY brought prohibition back! Those that have no problem raping the savings and food money from those who make choices YOU DON'T LIKE, Sad at best!

You display the same mind set that lets our tax dollars be used TO LIE. Every TXDOT sign, has " DRINK AND DRIVE GO TO JAIL "! That is a BOLD FACE LIE! It " IS NOT " against OUR LAWS to drink and then drive, FACT! And those who carry badges who are making their own laws, ARE A DISGRACE TO Law Enforcement! When you have officer White, spokesman for DPS OPENLY LIE and misrepresent the authority given to him, it is not only insulting BUT ALSO A FELONY to abuse police powers! A news caster asked him on TV " How much is to much to drink and then drive ". His exact response was " if you drink " ANYTHING " and drive your going to jail "!!! DPS no longer has to up hold the laws THEY ARE SWORN to, they can make their own, BSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! If the good guys don't have to follow the law, NONE OF US DO!!! PERIOD!!!

While the deaths from car wreck involving drunk drivers, is wrong and sad! Equally wrong and sad are those who use the death of their loved ones to force their biases on MILLIONS AND MILLIONS, while seeking revenge!!! Just like the end of alcohol prohibition " WASN'T " to end the problems with alcohol, IT WAS TO GET CONTROL AND END THE VIOLENCE!!! SAME CAN BE SAID FOR DRUGS!!

Rusty White

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, to distill the answer down to the simplification you want: The anti-prohibitionist forces obviously did just that, i.e.they rescinded alcohol Prohibition knowing that alcohol-related car accidents would continue to occur as they had been since the invention and mass-marketing of the automobile.

With a rise in population inevitable, they knew quite well that they would see an increase in alcohol-related accidents.As logical a progression as you can expect to find. But they ended alcohol Prohibition, anyway...despite the objections of supporters of alcohol Prohibition who were anything but logical regarding the supposed ills that would befall society when it happened. I suggest that you read one of Billy Sunday's rants on the subject and realize that not much has changed between then and now regarding the prohibitionist use of hysterical language in making their point. (Get mine?)

Obviously, people back then were willing to take the risk, seeing as the continuance of alcohol Prohibition did not prevent drunk driving incidents anyway., and that it was causing orders of magnitude more harm to society than the supposed harms that caused the 'experiment' to be undertaken in the first place. I've listed plenty of 'em already;

As to my analogy, very few people in an inebriated state get behind the wheel of a car with the intent of committing vehicular manslaughter. That such things happen is tragic, but as I pointed out, the device used cannot be blamed for the act, only the operator of the device. In this case, you seek to pin the blame more on the substance involved than the user of it. Thus, my analogy is hardly s-o-p-h-i-s-t-r-y.

Again, they expected adults to behave like adults, know their limits, and not engage in dangerous behaviors while intoxicated. Those that didn't, well, as I mentioned, there are legal penalties to discourage and/or punish such lapses in judgement. As would be the case with regards to legally available and controlled drugs.

Anonymous said...

17,000 deaths is not a reason to surrender the liberty to make adult choices. It is a reason to require interlock devices in the autos of people who drive while intoxicated. The legal system already criminalizes and assigns liability for killing people while DWI.

Alcohol and automobiles don't mix. If one has to be banned, I vote the automobile, which incidentally kills lots of people without any help from alcohol.

Anonymous said...

I would like to add an element to this discussion that is inherently skipped in most drug debates....the topic of EDUCATION. The youth of this nation are being educated by people who, for the most part, have no first hand knowledge of what they teach. South Parks representation of drug education is frighteningly accurate. "Drugs are bad, mmK." Show the kids what the drugs are, how they work, what happens when they work too well(death, psychosis, divorce, bankruptcy as well as euphoria, intense introspection, and pathways to escapism) The bad and the ugly must be balanced with the good. The kids know that people don't use drugs to die, go crazy, or ruin their lives....this is a given. What they don't know, and what gets them every time, is trying to figure out why people take the risk. SCARE TACTICS AREN'T WORKING and they will continue to fail so long as we deny that drugs have a good side when taken appropriately for sensible indications. So, there's my 2 cents. Please, run with it!