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Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed more than 28,000 people, the government reported in August. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war.

Servando Gomez ("La Tuta")
Thursday, October 14

In Michoacan, a radio statement broadcast a recording described as a conversation between a high-level drug trafficker and a federal lawmaker. W radio said that the recording was between La Familia Cartel figure Servando Gomez (La Tuta) and politician Cesar Godoy. The two express support for one another and discuss offering a bribe to a journalist. Godoy was one of 36 Michoacan people accused of ties to the La Familia organization last year.

In Tamaulipas, Mexican authorities temporarily called off the search for a missing American. David Hartley has been missing since a shooting incident on Falcon Lake, which sits on the US-Mexico border. Mexican authorities will resume the search after a review of search strategies.

Friday, October 15

In the city of Chihuahua, six members of the prison Immediate Reaction Task Force were killed after the vehicle in which they were driving to work was ambushed. At least 10 gunmen fired on the vehicle with assault rifles. The attack occurred just two days after the La Linea -- the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel -- declared war on prison officials for their supposed favorable treatment of Sinaloa Cartel members.

In Jalisco, soldiers confiscated a massive cache of arms and ammunition at a home in the town of Zapopan. The arsenal included 51 rifles, 49 handguns, two rocket launchers, 20 grenades and 38,000 rounds of ammunition. Police also seized 18 kilos of meth, a small amount of cocaine, and a vehicle. No arrests appear to have been made.

Sunday, October 17

In Ciudad Juarez, 15 people were murdered in several locations. In one incident, eight people were killed when gunmen stormed a house. In another incident, the mayor of the nearby town of El Porvenir and his son were gunned down. The two had fled El Porvenir three weeks ago after the kidnap and murder of several neighbors.

Tuesday,  October 19

In Tijuana, soldiers and police seized 134 tons of marijuana during early morning raids in several locations. The marijuana was packaged in at least 15,000 different packages, which were marked with coded phrases and pictures, including images of Homer Simpson saying "I'm gonna get high, dude" in Spanish. Initial reports suggest the load belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel. The raids followed a shootout with several suspects, who led authorities to the stash locations.

Total Body Count for the Week:118

Total Body Count for the Year: 8,508

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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You are joking, right?

I have been part of DRC for a few years now and I keep most of what I get from you all.  However, THIS article is like none I have ever seen.  The perception it gives is that ALL illegal drugs should be legal: meth, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, etc . . . NOT just Marijuana.  I can concede that Marijuana and Ecstasy MAY have some medicinal value, however please explain about heroin, meth and others.  There are narcotics that are used in medicine everyday that are Opiate derivatives.

I would HIGHLY recommend doing research on drugs BEFORE you make a blanket statement about "prohibitionist drug policies".  Being in medicine I have seen first hand what drugs like meth, heroin and cocaine do.  I have had to standby and watch families be torn apart because of a family member who was killed or died from an OD from one of these "prohibitionist drugs".

As for these "so-called cartels" what would you have us call them?  Legitimate businesses?  They are terrorists per and simple.  Anyone who uses fear and intimidation as they do is nothing more than a terrorist and they should be dealt with accordingly.  I'm not talking about the store around the corner who sells "medical" marijuana.  I'm talking about those who will shoot you without thought and for no reason other than to send a message of this is my tuff.  The reason why cartels are running so rampant in Mexico is because they are allowed to.  They are able to pay off everyone from the local cop all the way up to the Mayor, Governor or even President of an area.

I like how the first story leaves out the fact that the main reason why Mexican authorities called off the search for David Hartley is because the lead Mexican investigator was found death, missing his head.  Who did that?  If you are going to write about a story and want people on your side, make sure to tell the WHOLE story, not just what you want.  That is not responsible journalism.

Root of the root cause

Dear GLKing,

Everyone agrees that violence from cartels is wrong and should be punished accordingly.  That is a requirement of civil society. 

Those who argue for ending prohibition believe that the violence is not caused by the drugs themselves.  Rather, it is prohibition that creates conditions that are very likely to be violent.  These conditions are well documented.  The most famous in American history is alcohol prohibition.  When booze was illegal, extreme violence resulted.  Alcohol was ultimately not legalized because the drinkers were a bunch of saints, quite the opposite. 

The violence during alcohol prohibition was never justified in any way.  But it is well understood that it was economic and legal conditions at the root of the violence.  The alcohol dealers had no property rights.  They had no legal protections.  Disputes among them could not be settled in courts.  They were cast out of the law and they took the law unto themselves.  This is happening today as it has been for decades with drug dealers.  The problem is the same. 

Are the violent drug cartels legitimate businesses?  We're not going to try to legitimize their violent means of handing disputes.  Rather, we see that the violence never needs to happen in the first place.  If it were legal, and many would say with proper controls or reasonable regulation, then disputes would be settled in court rather than at the point of a gun.  Alcohol prohibition again provides guidance.  Now that it is legal, are there shoot outs at the Miller Brewery?  Nope.  We can expect the same with all drugs when they are made legal.  In fact, all drugs were legal at one time in the United States, and there was no inherent violence associated with their sales. 

As for drugs destroying lives.  No one thinks that is a good.  But drug prohibition makes the problems worse.  From dealers not requiring ID's to check age minimums, to problems with drug purity, prohibition fails to improve the associated problems of drug abuse.  Also, drug users are castigated and despised by society.  How much harder it is then for people to admit a problem, seek help, and actually receive it.  There are prisons waiting with open arms, but what about someone who loves them?  Because our nation uses law enforcement to treat a medical problem, the real needs of drug abusers are largely unmet. 

Sadly, whether drugs are legal or illegal there will always be people who are ruined by drugs.  Making them illegal has not prevented this, and it has created a host of other problems.

The next question is if drugs are legal will use skyrocket and become epidemic.  This is unlikely.  Evidence in Portugal points to overall reduction of drugs after they decriminalized all drugs.  Use rates in our own nation are not closely related to enforcement efforts.  Also, drugs like cigarettes, which are highly addictive are falling out of vogue while they are perfectly legal.  Alcohol has use rates that vary over time.  It is the most popular drug on the planet.  If there is going to be an epidemic of anything it's going to be alcohol.  That hasn't happened yet, so it's not reasonable to expect that there will be major fluctuations in drug use of any drug made newly legal.  They may spike at first, but that will quickly go down. 


Carmen Brown

HelenaSophia's picture

War On The People; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(182, 171, 142); line-height: 1.4em; font: normal normal normal 13px/1.5 Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; background-repeat: repeat no-repeat; ">

Not going into detail about this important update on the 'War On The People' I would like to share this with you. There is no such thing as 'Illegality' in the first place. Stuff is made 'illegal' to control the users, the people, not the substance itself.

In those European Countries that 'legalized' ALL DRUGS entirely and one needs to point at Portugal as the most shining example, drug use amongst all age groups dropped significantly. Because there is no wave of people that want to do Heroin or Cocaine. You could though, requiring you to see a doctor and be explained about the possible side effects. Signing a waiver that you are knowing what you are doing and being in full responsibility of it.

Now there is the ideal way. Not to treat your citizens as your enemies, but as an entity that has all rights to experience whatever comes to mind. It is not the governments business to tell people what or what not to eat, drink or experience. The government has the job to keep up the infrastructure, not more, not less. Obviously not even that is achieved in the US. As long as the disease of 'exceptionalism' is not cured, there cannot be progress on all levels. Americans will have to learn that they are not the only ones that know how to walk, to talk, or to drive a car. You name it. America has rightfully entered its place at the bottom end of the global list of countries that are actually employing policies for their people, not against them.

But then, what the bleep do I know? 

You are joking, right?

If you are in medicine you should already know that methamphetamine and cocaine are and have been used in medicine for many years, this is why they are schedule 2 and not schedule 1.   You should also know that heroin is no more dangerous than any other narcotic of similar strength, except for the fact that it is illegal and has no quality control.  The drug war ruins many more lives than the drugs themselves do, and if you are a supporter of the drug war what are you even doing here?  Read the top of your page, or even read the URL. Is it possible you overlooked this?  You probably also overlooked this


They already talked about the lead investigator behing murdered.  If you were up to date with drcnet you would know that.  DRC does a great job, if you don't like the journalism go somewhere else.

Beat me to it!

I was going to point out what you just said!!  Another point, I might add, is that the term "heroin" was used to demonize the drug that was originally called diamorphine, a form of a common pain medication. It is no more dangerous, dose wise, and likely less potent than Fentanyl, a legal opiate. You are absolutely correct that the only reason for its danger is the fact that it is illegally manufactured with absolutely no control of potency, or what is added into it, as well (ketamine, horse tranquilizer, etc.)


It is actually, by definition, a class two drug!  It has medicinal uses!  It is used in other countries, right now!  The entire DEA scheme is a law enforcement act with a little medical knowledge interspersed among the bogus facts, (and outright lies) they spew!


Don't love it when the guy, who says to research the facts, comes up with a bunch of bogus claims!



I hope it is obvious, I am a medical person. too!

Read some history GLKing

Yes, you've seen what the "hard" drugs do---While they've been illegal! People weren't dying from coca-cola, Vin Mariani, cocaine, heroin, or benzedrine when they were available over the counter. Every single problem and more with drugs is compounded or concocted by making them illegal. Booze is by far the worst drug there is and maybe you should look up what happened when they tried to make it illegal. And also---how ignorant are you? Prohibition is what underwrites the cartels and the gangs. Prohibition mass produces crime and violence in atleast 30 major ways and a thousand others. What lessons from alcohol Prohibition can't you apply to the prohibition of other substances? Hate to saY IT BUT YOUR AN IGNORANT MORON. The Pope drank coca wine. So did 4 U.S. Presidents. But you sing" My drug's better than your drug--gonna have to put you in jail"---your a hypocrite too.

Read some history GLKing

Yes, you've seen what the "hard" drugs do---While they've been illegal! People weren't dying from coca-cola, Vin Mariani, cocaine, heroin, or benzedrine when they were available over the counter. Every single problem and more with drugs is compounded or concocted by making them illegal. Booze is by far the worst drug there is and maybe you should look up what happened when they tried to make it illegal. And also---how ignorant are you? Prohibition is what underwrites the cartels and the gangs. Prohibition mass produces crime and violence in atleast 30 major ways and a thousand others. What lessons from alcohol Prohibition can't you apply to the prohibition of other substances? Hate to saY IT BUT YOUR AN IGNORANT MORON. The Pope drank coca wine. So did 4 U.S. Presidents. But you sing" My drug's better than your drug--gonna have to put you in jail"---your a hypocrite too.

borden's picture

for the record

For the record, or for anyone who missed, (DRCNet) does in fact advocate for legalization of all drugs. Some drugs or forms of them will likely be regulated or monitored more closely than others -- I don't expect to see injectable heroin or smokable crack cocaine on the grocery store checkout lines, for example, and I don't call for that. But we do call for legalization in some form for all drugs, and we believe that situations like the horror seen currently in Mexico make it inevitable that people will wake up one day to the disaster and injustice of prohibition.

GL King, we're glad your a reader, so I hope you'll consider the following point of logic. Just because a drug may be harmful does not automatically mean that prohibiting it is helpful. See our Harm Intensification topic archive for some examples of how we see prohibition as making drugs more destructive, not less.

Traffickers have used Central

Traffickers have used Central America as a stopover point since at least the 1970s. But the aggressive crackdowns on criminal organizations in Mexico and Colombia, coupled with strides in limiting smuggling across the Caribbean, has increasingly brought the powerful syndicates to countries like Honduras. Urban areas and coastal towns are experiencing more drug-related crime.

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