Drug cartels have turned social-media sites like Facebook into one of their most potent weapons

4/13/16 Business Insider

facebookDrug trafficking has been the primary focus of Mexican cartels, providing most of their obscene profits and motivating much of the bloodshed they’ve caused.

But as cartels have expanded into other areas of operations, and as law-enforcement efforts have forced them to seek new moneymaking ventures, those cartels have started kidnapping and extorting Mexicans with more frequency.

And social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter have been a boon to these new criminal endeavors.

“Well, the extortion business is a profitable one for organized crime. And in countries like Mexico, it’s sadly pretty common that people get these threats,” Tom Wainwright, the author of “Narconomics” and the Economist’s former reporter in Mexico City, told Business Insider.

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Director of Oscar-nominated ‘Cartel Land’ on the blurring of good and evil among Mexican and American vigilantes

2/24/16 Business Insider


A decision could come as early as this week as to whether Mexican drug kingpin, Joaquín Guzmán, known as El Chapo, will be extradited to the United States for trial.

Since 2007, Mexico’s drug war has resulted in the murder of more than 100,000 of Mexico’s citizens and brought an influx of violence and drugs into the United States.

Cartel Land,” nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for best documentary, sheds light on a less well-known part of the story: the existence of vigilante groups on both sides of the border to combat the cartels.

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A look at seven emerging cartels Mexico just recognized

9/4/15 Economic Times – India

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has identified seven new criminal organizations that it has identified as cartels for their range of criminal exploits.

The new organizations are smaller, less entrenched, and are less powerful than the older generation of Mexican cartels which were massive sprawling criminal enterprises.

Instead the new cartels, Insight Crime notes, have largely spawned from mid-ranking members of former Mexican cartels, such as the Zetas.

Mexico is currently carrying out a “kingpin strategy” against criminal organizations in the country.

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Mexico is creating a ‘monster’ by using the US counterterrorism strategy on drug cartels

8/13/15 Business Insider

1363368470_a0fdfdf230_zIn the nearly nine years since the start of the Mexican drug war, the cartels have been battered and crippled through a series of high-profile arrests and the deaths of high-ranking drug kingpins.

But despite these successes, the drug war continues to intensify and become even more brutal as new organizations form to fill the void.

Since the start of the drug war, the Mexican authorities have followed a kingpin strategy. The strategy held that targeting the leadership of cartels would render the organizations ineffective, thereby limiting the groups’ dangers.

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As Mexico Arrests Kingpins, Cartels Splinter and Violence Spikes

8/12/15 New York Times

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008For nearly a week, gun-toting masked men loyal to a local drug gang overran this small city along a key smuggling route. Police officers and soldiers stood by as the gunmen patrolled the streets, searching for rivals and hauling off at least 14 men who have not been seen since.

“They’re fighting over the route through Chilapa,” said Virgilio Nava, whose 21-year-old son, a truck driver for the family construction supply business who had no apparent links to either gang, was one of the men seized in May. “But we’re the ones who are affected.”

For years, the United States has pushed countries battling powerful drug cartels, like Mexico, to decapitate the groups by killing or arresting their leaders. The pinnacle of that strategy was the capture of Mexico’s most powerful trafficker, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, who escaped in spectacular fashion last month from a maximum-security prison.

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How America’s War On Drugs Unintentionally Aids Mexican Drug Cartels

7/6/15 Huffington Post

drug dog sniffing suitcaseAs the United States government and vigilante groups continue to fight Mexican drug cartels with little direction, experts say there are unintentional consequences from the current war on drugs.

Sanho Tree, the director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, explained to HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill on Tuesday that the U.S. government’s drug war has been “an exercise in futility.” The prohibition of these drugs, Tree said, has only increased their value.

“Things like cocaine, heroine, marijuana — these are minimally-processed agricultural commodities,” Tree said. “They’re very easy to produce, these drugs. They’re very cheap to produce. There’s no reason they should be worth this kind of money that people are willing to kill, and torture and massacre over.”

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Mexican forces struggle to rein in armed vigilantes battling drug cartel

protest -- stroke -- resistanceCNN, 01/17/2014

The vigilantes came to violence-torn towns with a simple pitch: Join us and fight back before the cartel kills you. For some in the western state of Michoacan, long a flashpoint in Mexico’s drug war, it was an offer they couldn’t refuse.They toted guns and called themselves self-defense groups as they patrolled the streets, claiming they were forced to fight the Knights Templar cartel themselves because the state had failed to protect them. They took over several communities and sent a clear message to cartel members and authorities: Keep out.

But this week, the Mexican government stepped in, sending federal forces to the region and ordering the vigilante groups to lay down their weapons.

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