The Consequences of the Drug War

December 4th, 2013   Submitted by Michael Hendricks

LegalizeItLiberty activists are constantly protesting the numerous political prisoners in the United States, held for no other reason than consuming cannabis. In New Hampshire the Porcupines engage in civil disobedience and organize public marijuana smoking events. The people who participate are often arrested (kidnapped) by police officers and locked in cages. Marijuana use in the United States is rampant. The drug is readily available in every city. As it turns out the wholesale cannabis market is the primary source of income for the drug “cartels.”

The actions of the United States government, they’re prosecution of petty drug users in the homeland, has more severe consequences south of the border. Tightened security has led to stockpiling of drugs along the border, and in recent years the border areas in Mexico have seen a rise in drug use. The surplus of drugs causes them to be readily available and cheap in Mexico as distributors lower prices in order to sell bulk product.

The most vicious aspect of the drug war can be seen in the internal conflict presently raging in Mexico. Rival criminal organizations battle each other for control of “plazas” or drug routes. In 2006 Felipe Calderon was elected president, one of his first acts was to order the Mexican military to dismantle the drug “cartels.”

Mexican drug trafficking organizations are referred to as “cartels,” but they are not cartels in any traditional sense. A cartel is a group of businesses that enter an agreement to restrict competition, most commonly by fixing prices. STRATFOR, a private intelligence firm, identifies criminal organizations in Mexico as Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO). At present these organizations have operations in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, literally spanning the globe.
The cartel soldiers, called “sicarios,” are responsible for mayhem and destruction across Mexico. These are very hard men. They rape, torture and kill indiscriminately, or on orders from their chain of command. Migrants from South America are known targets as these people do not have protection in Mexico.

Los Zetas is thought to be the most technologically advanced of the cartels. The organization was founded by a former member of Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE), Mexican Special Forces, one Arturo Guzmán Decena. Los Zetas trains its hitmen using camps that they’ve built modeled after GAFE training bases.

Here’s the thing, Los Zetas isn’t the biggest TCO in operation. It is believed at present that the Sinaloa Federation is larger, and there are more TCOs in operation including the Cartel del Gulfo (Gulf Cartel) and the Tijuana Cartel.

The TCOs have extreme power, and have infiltrated most aspects of Mexican culture. They use many forms of counter intelligence including songs, TV shows, banners, flyers and cards as well as bribery, intimidation and assassination. Corruption is rampant across Mexico, and anyone who thinks that politicians in the United States are immune is willfully fooling themselves.

Mexican TCOs are expanding their operations worldwide. At present they have known operations on six continents. Human trafficking is a market that these organizations are expanding into as they seek alternative sources of income to drugs, which due to heightened border security are becoming increasingly difficult to smuggle.

According to STRATFOR, the cartels are recruiting American Service members to carry out hits stateside. Another target group for cartel recruitment are young teens. Rosalio Reta, a Texan teen, was 13 when he assassinated his first man for Los Zetas. Reta is currently incarcerated and has claimed responsibility for over 30 murders committed in the United States. The TCOs are major human rights violators. They commit torture, rape and genocide.

It is known that some members of the Guatemalan Kaibiles (Special Forces whose training includes raising a puppy, bonding with it, then killing and eating it raw) have defected to Mexican cartels, particularly Los Zetas. At one point the Intelligence community in the United States estimated that the Zetas exercised direct control of 70% of Guatemala. During the civil war that raged in Guatemala, the Kaibiles were ordered to exterminate entire indigenous populations, and are known to have committed genocide.

In US cities like Chicago the Gangster Disciples have begun distributing Mexican drugs. Street gangs throughout the United States are joining the ranks of the TCOs. The Mexican Mafia, a powerful prison gang, has begun to support the TCOs in prison. The Mexican Mafia also has a strong hold on Latino street gangs like Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Surenos 13 (the Mexican Mafia is also known as El Eme, and since M is the 13th letter of the alphabet, street gangs adopt it to show their affiliation).

Cocaine in Europe is in high demand. The price is twice that in the US. The price increase has lead Mexican TCOs to expand their operations throughout Europe. Mexican coke has been intercepted in Palermo, Sicily the implication being a relationship between the Sicilian Mob and Mexican TCOs.

The operatives produced by the Mexican drug war are well trained, equipped and ruthless. Members post executions online, and some seem to enjoy the brutality. The modus operandi of violence and torture also suggests that the TCOs prefer viciousness to other methods of conducting business.

There are a few possible solutions to the TCOs. One is to end prohibition. Another is to organize community defense groups. In Mexico numerous vigilante groups have sprung up, but some of them have turned into the kind of people that they originally fought.

Evil men like this will likely always exist, therefore we must do what we can to minimize their impact. We can do that by limiting the markets in which they can operate. By ending prohibition, and allowing non-violent individuals to compete in the drug market, large amounts of drug profits would be lost by the TCOs and earned by US producers.

The result of this change in policy would be manifold, as was seen with the Silk Road. Competition between vendors lead to increased quality of the products. The Silk Road sold the purest drugs the DEA has ever recorded. Additionally opening the market would remove the need for drug producers and traffickers to use violence to defend their turf, as the government would no longer be violently suppressing the market.

Would ending prohibition be the end of organized crime? No, it would merely mean a transition for these enterprises. This transition can be seen today as the TCOs, especially Los Zetas, expand into kidnapping, human trafficking and protection rackets.

In Mexico, communities fed up with the high murder rate, and extortion have organized themselves in self defense groups and community police. The difference is that a self defense group is a paramilitary operating independent of the will of community members, while the community police have been incorporated and answer to the members of the communities in which they operate. Both self defense groups and the community police operate independent of the State, as the State is so corrupt it is not trusted.

The primary distinction between the community police and the self defense groups is that community police answer to civilian authority while the chain of command for the Military, Self Defense groups, Federal Police, and Cartels operate independent of the desires of the local populations.

At this point it seems impossible to eradicate human rights violators, however a reduction in their power is feasible. Non-government organized crime could be the future of the social hierarchy, and no sane person, by any reasonable definition, wants individuals like this at the top of the power pyramid.

There are two solutions to prohibition that I see: agorism, and platformism. Agorism makes use of counter economics to bring about the desired change in society. Platformism is a system of organizing for a specific task and then disbanding. Left anarchists have utilized platformism in the past to some effect.


6 Responses to “The Consequences of the Drug War”

  1. DonnaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow that is a lot of useful information. It would be great if you could get it dispersed to a bigger audience. Very well as written.

  2. JoanNo Gravatar says:

    Great article Michael. Marijuana might become legal in Colorado in 2014, if so it is possible that in Colorado ONLY, the “estimated total market for recreational marijuana of $605 million, the various taxes would produce over $130 million in revenue in 2014 alone.” Let’s legalize and collect all those taxes!

    • absoluterightsNo Gravatar says:

      who’s going to collect all those taxes…We? You and the mouse in your pocket I guess?

      I bring this up because lot’s of individuals identify themselves with the government. It’s a masterful piece of psychological conditioning. How many times did you hear growing up “we are the government”. Well, unless you compose the legislature or the other two branches they hire to enforce their will, then you are not the government. And you will not be collecting any taxes. Nor will the government be obligated to share any of that tax revenue with you (or any part of society).

  3. Michael HendricksNo Gravatar says:

    Davi’s part in this article can’t be understated.

  4. Dr FillNo Gravatar says:

    Power to prohibit drugs is the power to force drugs. Prohibition only makes violence. You don’t see beer distributors gunning each other down in the streets. Why? Because they can make billions selling their drug peacefully, safely and legally to consenting adults. It’s called freedom. America should try it sometime.