Wildlife trafficking from Mexico to China receives little attention, but it is growing and threatens biodiversity.
Date: March 8th, 2022
Moreover, while the connections between wildlife trafficking and drug cartels are sometimes exaggerated, in Mexico, wildlife trafficking, drug trafficking, and money laundering have become intertwined. Attracted by China’s enormous appetite for wildlife products and in contact with Chinese traders supplying precursor chemicals for the production of illegal fentanyl and methamphetamine, Mexican drug cartels are increasingly muscling their way into the country’s legal and illegal wildlife trade.
This blog previews a detailed report of mine to be published by the Brookings Institution later this month. It is part of a Brookings series of reports and blogs on China’s role in wildlife, drug, and human trafficking. The report and blog are based on over 100 interviews I conducted between October and December 2021 in various parts of Mexico and via virtual platforms with China-, Asia-, and Europe-based counternarcotics, law enforcement, and government officials, business community representatives, investigative journalists, scholars, and environmental activists.