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$5 Million to Catch One Drug Trafficker?

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If anything resembling success ever happens in the drug war, this would be it:

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) — Mexican security forces have arrested the drug cartel leader Eduardo Arellano Félix, one of the international traffickers most sought by the United States, after a shootout in this border city, the government said Sunday.

The police arrested Mr. Arellano Félix on Saturday after they chased his car to a three-story home in an upscale neighborhood, according to federal police officials in Tijuana. A three-hour gun battle with more than 100 police officers and soldiers ensued, leaving the home riddled with bullet holes.

The United States indicted Mr. Arellano Félix in 2003 on drug-smuggling and money-laundering charges and had offered a reward of up to $5 million for his capture. [NYT]

In the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, we'll still shell out $5 million for a trivial symbolic victory in the war on drugs. Everything returns to normal tomorrow. The drugs keep flowing, the bullets keep flying, and our generous reward money will help pay for it. Who do you think it was that gave up Eduardo Arellano Félix? Who has that kind of information? You can bet we'll never find out, but I'd give 10 -1 odds it's one of his own people, who now gets a promotion plus a hefty reward, all while making sure the cocaine train never falls a minute behind schedule.

Even in its finest hour, the drug war is nothing but a predictably mindless ritual.
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The Drug Trade Is Going Nowhere

You can't repeal the law of supply and demand.

The largest component of Mexico's economy is still drug trafficking, estimated at about $50bn. According to a leaked study conducted in 2001 by Mexico's internal security agency CISEN, if the drug business was somehow wiped out, Mexico's economy would shrink by 63 per cent.

Ninety percent of cocaine consumed in the U.S. passes through Mexico. Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora has argued that “in this war, we either win it together or we lose it together.” Well, we've lost it together then...

In just Sinaloa alone as much as 20% of the gross domestic product is based on drug trafficking and the chain of production, transport and intelligence involved, according to Guillermo Ibarra, an economist and professor at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa.

We all know what happens when a top guy goes down -- they get replaced after an internal struggle, and the drugs continue to flow, probably in more sophisticated and clandestine ways than before.

As a non-using, taxpaying, veteran, soccer dad I'm sick of our tax dollars being thrown down the toilet when we all (and I mean our elected officials too) know that legalizing and taxing drugs is the smartest drug policy. We throw something like $70 BILLION a year to the wind. We simply can't afford this ridiculous indulgence -- we never could, but especially not now that our country is entering a recession and we are $10+ TRILLION in debt. This country needs to grow up. I want drugs out of the school yards and off the streets -- put drugs behind a counter, tax them, and let adults do adult things without the threat of prison...

- Michael Swanson

$5 million for one drug cartel leader?

Wow, that's a quarter of the federal govt's alcohol and tobacco law enforcement budget.

Yet another reward and drug kingpin and 5 million...

You nailed it Scott, "...a predictably mindless ritual."


$5 million seed money for next drug cartel leader?

I would like to know what kind of person got the reward. I guess we will have to wait til the drug war is over and all the records show in depth the magnitude of the corruption and mindlessness in waging the drug war.

The King is dead...

...long live the King. And the wacka-mole game continues. I can just hear Johnny Pee now,..."see we're winning,we're winning"....blah,blah,blahhhh...

This Guy's Not Even One of the Main Men Anymore

From NBC News at

Former Federal Prosecutor John Kirby said Eduardo Arellano-Felix has not held a leadership position within the Arellano-Felix Cartel in recent years. "He has become a bit of a recluse and has not moved to take a leadership role in the organization," said Kirby.

Symbolism, schmbolism...


John Walters needs a large banner behind that reads.....

..."Mission Accomplished". Only then will this be a picture perfect "drug warrior" publicity stunt that the whole world would could laugh at if it wasn't so depressingly pathetic.

I don't believe this

I think the war on drugs is doomed to failure. There is too much demand and there are lots of people ready to feed that demand. It is doomed to failure just as the war on alcohol ( Prohibition ) was doomed to failure.

I do believe we need to protect children from drugs just as we do for alcohol but this attempt to control adult behavior is ridiculous. I hope that soon people will come to their senses and realize that this war on drugs is a distraction from real issues and should be dropped.

Does anyone know of a successful war on drugs? the only one I can find is the one run by the communists in China where they executed all the opium users and sellers . Hopefully where not headed that way.


Opium trafficking and use is alive and well in China

They may execute thousands of people a year but they haven't executed an effective drug war by any stretch of the imagination.

The thing is when push comes to shove, traffickers already face the threat of death by their backstabbing and ruthless colleagues.

The only successful war on drugs has been the legal regulation of tobacco smoking. Over the past ten years, we've cut in half the percentage of current (past month use) of cigarettes to the point marijuana use now exceeds cigarette use in most major cities across the nation. We are winning that drug war and saving billions in the process and magically without guns and handcuffs.

Opiates are MUCH less harmful than alcohol

and, unlike alcohol, opiates are both non-toxic and, more importantly, non-criminogenic. If logic(rather than religion)
reigned supreme, booze would be illegal, and opiates legal and available at reasonables prices in "package" stores

much ado about nothing

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.Canada I read that this guy retired in the 90's.I guess the DEA can go anywhere and do anyone they want?Often these people are out of the business or in a country where the crime is thought of as a minor offense.That doesn't stop the drug war machine from grinding them up and spitting them out.Everyone but john Walters knows that it makes no difference.There will be not a ripple this time because this guy has been out of it for almost a decade.Where do they find these gung ho idiots to prosecute this insane drug war year after year?I would imagine most are just putting in their twenty but there are always those true believers that just keep crawling out from under whatever rock they keep them under.I keep thinking they'll run out of idiots but there seems to be an endless supply.I understood in the sixties and seventies but this is a whole different century and yet they still come.When will that 79% that have come to realise the futility of the drug war grow a pair and do something?I never thought I'd see 60 and I sure never thought drug prohibition would outlast the 20th century.That's where it was born and that's where it should have died.The ideas that spawned it are long discredited and gone.

Would you expect any less from the same insane gov`t that

spent 3 trillion(and counting) and some 4k+ American lives(and counting)to arrest and hang *one* man who was no threat to us?

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