Mexico’s Drug War

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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The media is barely covering the bloody situation in Mexico, but the war against the drug lords there should be of the utmost concern to Americans. As high levels of violence and corruption continue to plague Mexican society, the U.S. needs to brace for a flood of narcotics, arms, and people seeking refuge crossing the border.

The drug war has resulted in about 17,000 deaths over the past three years, and Mexico has claimed the title of the country in the hemisphere with the highest number of journalists killed on its soil. To put that in perspective, about 1000 American soldiers have died fighting the war in Afghanistan since 2001. About 4400 Americans have died in Iraq since 2003.

A quick look at the resume of Teodoro Eduardo Garcia Simental, a top drug lord captured this month responsible for horrendous amounts of barbaric violence in and around Tijuana, shows the brutal nature of the conflict. He and his partners destroyed the bodies of hundreds of their victims by submersing them in tubs of acid, many of whom were kidnapped and held for ransom.

The New York Times describes the conflict as follows:

“When it comes to gore, Mexico’s drug traffickers seem to compete among themselves for the title of most depraved. One will chop off the heads of victims. Another will string dead rivals from bridges or burn their genitals. Recently, hit men removed the face from a dead man and sewed it onto a soccer ball.”

The capturing and killing of top figures in the drug trade in recent months has not had an immediate impact. The Official Secretary of the Federal Judiciary in Veracruz City was found beheaded with a message carved into her chest this month. January of 2010 has doubled the previous January as having the record of the highest number of murders in Tijuana with 70 people having lost their lives.

January 10 made the record for the bloodiest single day in the conflict, with 69 assassinations in nine states, beating the previous number of 57. Ciudad Juarez has been named by the Citizen Council for Public Security as the most violent city in the world, with an average of 191 murders per 100,000 residents.

The affects of the war in Mexico are not limited to that country. It is spreading to El Salvador, which is considering establishing a curfew, a mandatory closing time for businesses, and allowing the searching of homes without warrants. A dozen people on average were killed every day in the tiny country in 2009. The other Central American countries are experiencing a similar rise in criminal and violent activity.

The inability of the government to bring stability and opportunity to its people is causing desperate measures to be implemented. Military offensives usually reserved for foreign wars are taking place on home soil. Possession of small quantities of drugs for “personal use” has been legalized, including heroin, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine. There is even talk of prosecuting those who glorify the drug lords in pop culture.

It also affects the War on Terror. It is now known that the Colombian narco-terrorist group known as FARC, with Venezuelan backing, has partnered up with Al-Qaeda elements in West Africa. The Chavez government’s involvement in narcotics trafficking means they can use the drug lords to destabilize the hemisphere and expand their business opportunities. Terrorist groups and other non-state actors will benefit from having a new colleague that can help them ship people and supplies into the U.S. and engage in illicit fundraising, as Hezbollah already has.

People from countries known to be strongholds for extremist groups are being caught entering Latin America in order to reach the United States. Four Somalis have been found hiding in a tractor trailer in Honduras. In Colombia, 71 illegal aliens from Somalia and Eritrea were intercepted by the authorities in early January. The smuggling business, instability and poor control of America’s southwestern border provides an open opportunity for those wishing to do us harm.

This internal strife should cause Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Senator John Kerry to reconsider their assurances in March of last year that Mexico was “in no danger of becoming a failed state.” The conflict is becoming closer to resembling a guerilla war, and if the drug lords succeed in carving out mini-states for themselves, the U.S. will see the chaos and criminal activity they cause spill over the border.

  • http://kennetholsen.com Kenneth Olsen

    Dr. Thomas Szasz has authored several books on the subject of "drug wars."
    "Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers," and "Our Right to Drugs: A Case for the Free Market" bring up a wide variety of points that the vast majority of liberal and conservative lawmakers simply choose to ignore. The result is plain to anyone who cares to see: more deaths, more incarcerations, and diminished liberty and individual responsibility for all as the government and medical industries grow in size and scope.

  • http://www.itecode.com eerie Steve

    The defacto bible on the War on Drugs exists in Queens Reigns Supreme by Ethan Brown. It is the one book that can be both read by dealers, users and those caught in between and everyone can say: "Yes, that's the way it was."

    http://www.amazon.com/Queens-Reigns-Supreme-Cent-

    In 1990 in New York City, more people were killed by crack cocaine wars than that died in the WTC on 9/11. I'm not talking about crack use, I am talking about raids, thievery, murder for hire, and protection rackets.

    Drugs are the modern day stone age war. They plague cities. They plague schools. They ruin agriculture economies. Everything. They bring pain, blood stains and death, nothing more.

    If it was me, I would just start poxing the cartels with hot stashes. Send over some American made meth that is really rat poison. Tell the addicts "No, it's just really good meth" and watch the drug war end overnight.

    Morbo has spoken.

    PR 10! http://www.frontpagemag.com USA #1 !!!

    • RJA

      Your solution would be fine except that the addicts you are talking about are here in the United States. Were is not that the US is the largest market for illegal drugs in the world, Mexico would have no problem. Whey don't we forget about the "war on drugs" that is a total failure and start treating adddicts as what they are – a sickness. It would be more effective and cheaper to rehabilitate our addicts than to jail them. This comes from a man that hates drugs with a passion.

      • http://www.itecode.com eerie Steve

        Understand completely it is a two way street, but please remember it has been tried before. There is AA, NA, detox, psych wards and many other places people can go to get sober. Prison today is more like a psych ward than a prison except you shower together.

        So America has a lot of money. Do you think that is going to end anytime soon with a 10 trillion dollar economy, and a black market which I would say is about 100x that?

        It is a problem of evil, that is all. Nothing more, nothing less. The only thing I think would make society right is mandatory vasectomies on males at birth which are completely reversible when someone chooses to have a kid. I’m not talking about Eugenics, but a rational solution to end the problem of evil:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil

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  • http://www.itecode.com eerie Steve

    You know what? Forget it. We are talking about Mexico here. Let's just charge down there, kill everyone and steal their oil and their land.

    Hugo Chavez? I want to see some Apocalypto stuff done on that fat ass. Your country is starving, yet you are a fat communist pig. You shall die 150 ways, generallissmo Santa Ana Chavez. You think we won't nuke you just because we are in the same hemisphere? Fug-git-abot-it. Just launch some of those tomahawk cruise at his fat face and game over. No more drug wars.

    PR 10! http://www.frontpagemag.com USA #1 !!!

    • RJA

      Dear eerie,
      You really are eerie! So your solution is to invade a friendly country who is trying to resolve an American made problem, kill everyone and steal their assets (oil to you). I would be a happy guy if the United States had a president that has the huevos that Calderon (the President of Mexico to you) has. What does Hugo Chavez have to do with Mexico? He's in Venezuela and is a dictator following the footsteps of Fidel Castro but in a country full of oil. Mexico turned away a socialist leaning candidate unlike this country.

    • nickyr

      douche bag. america has ruined the world many times, just because there are a few assholes like you doesn't mean the whole place is damned or hopleless. same with mexico

  • http://www.itecode.com eerie Steve

    Oh and one last thing. I saw Beyonce Knowls on 60 minutes last night and I wanted to vomit. You want to honor the sacrament of marriage? How about we duct tape you and Sean Carter together on a Navy frigate and send you back to Egypt to get your clitoris and labia dismembered, you stupid twit.

    PR 10! http://www.frontpagemag.com USA #1 !!!

  • oldwolves

    Yes. Let's make drugs legal. Then this will all go away. There will be no more crime or death or any problems whatsoever. All the Mexican drug cartels will become peaceful… all the millions of addicts will become more responsible…. All the millions of NEW addicts will be able to handle it… The government will be able to run the program as well as it does the post office, soc. sec., medicare…. and we will all be able to say," All this is done for my personal liberty. I choose to destroy my self and my family and my country with millions of others because it's my right!"
    What a country we have become. We embrace surrender as an actual option to solve problems now. Don't forget to arrange the deck chairs as the ship goes down.

    • http://www.itecode.com eerie Steve

      No, the last thing places like Bedford-Stuyvesant or the ghettos of Detroit need is another Hamsterdam:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamsterdam

      You know why they call it Hamsterdam? Because crack cocaine makes people act like Hamsters caught in a tube network of Reynhard Heydrich.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Heydrich

      Uh. Duh……

      Drugs are evil.

      PR 10 !!! Front Page Mag #1 !!!

  • muletail Steve

    All one has to do is view a before and after video of Arizona's towns and cities to see that this scourge spilled over our borders years ago. Janet Nepolitano was sent as a hit "person" to deal with a proactive governor in J. Fyffe Symington. Once accomplished, the borders, hospitals, schools, and public services were overwhelmed by the camp followers to the cartels. Arizona is a priority target to the Obama administration and it's ACORN operatives. They realize amnesty will secure the liberal toehold in arizona as well as the rest of the country, quality of life and the rule of law be damned . Why do think these politicians are ignoring the posting of their political obituataries? They know that the 15 to 35 million new socialists they are going to give citizenship to this fall are the ace card in 2010.

  • bardefa

    US had prohibition…….maybe now is time to try legalization of drugs? Incredible income for government….can't we just try it for, say, a year?

    • oldwolves

      Sort of like when drug dealers give out free samples to kids. Once hooked the kids have to pay. " Say, can I only be hooked for a year?… Sure kid, it's real easy to give up."

  • Richard radcliffe

    The common link between the drug problems in the United States and the problems in Central America is Mara Salvatrucha. This follow on to the Communist rebels of the 1980s has spread to most Central American nations. Their members flow back and forth over our southern border carrying drugs and other things. They are also in the people smuggling business and not just of Mexicans trying to find a better life in Estados Unitos del Norte.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    People will always find a way to kill their stupid selves (cholesterol mea culpa), why let a bunch of evil murdering scumbags get rich off it? Drug money got our county and city police those nice confiscated sports cars turned into police cruisers. If the drugs themselves caused even a tenth of the damage and the illegality of the drugs do, I might be able to see the logic of our drug war, but that's not the case.

    On top of that, I see terminal cancer patients with their ankle and foot broken in three places, sent home from the hospital with nothing but Aleve for their pain. It seems the only people that have any problem getting drugs in this country are the people who actually need them. The people abusing them can and do get whatever they want 24-7, sometimes cheaper than they could with a "script," as they call it. It's wrong.

    continued…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      They've got a whole pain management racket set up in my state that runs up the time and money it takes people to get relief for serious pain. Abusers can black market while they jump through the hoops, and know how to answer the questions to get whatever they want. Most people who really are hurting and want to stay honest and within the law just have to suffer needlessly for it. It's wrong.

      Take the big money and false glamour out of drugs and the ugly truth about them will deter most people. Anybody that's ever had to drag someone out of a dopehouse knows what I mean. No addict is worth my freedom, property, or the needless suffering I see in others (There but for the Grace of God…).

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Odd that I had to break up a mere four paragraph post, yet there's plenty of room on the thread for someone to spam for annuityquotenow.com

  • brenanc

    Our population's demand for illegal drugs damn near destroyed Colombia and Peru. Now, it's made Mexico more of a Hell hole than it has ever been.

    Solutions? It doesn't look like drug use prevention/education works. How about a program to legalize drugs that requires users to register? As part of the deal to be legally registered to use drugs, we simply require that the registered users forfeit their civil rights–especially voting privileges?

    • oldwolves

      Yeah , great. I see junkies at the polling booths all the time. Sheesh. Trusting people who intentionally took drugs and ruined their lives will now be responsible enough to 'register' and be careful? Hello!

  • oldwolves

    "Take the big money and false glamour out of drugs and the ugly truth about them will deter most people. "
    Exactly Rifleman. "Most people". Now add on the millions of people who will not be deterred. Mostly teenagers. Now you have millions of new junkies who will become parasitical social suicides who will further the destruction of American youth. And what is your 'most people' number? 90 %? Leaving about 10 million Americans ruined for the 'right ' to do drugs. Are those numbers acceptable to you? I hope not.

  • oldwolves

    Sorry. Correction. 10 % of American population would be 35 million new junkies. Is that better?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      They're ruining more lives than that with them illegal. Nobody is deterred now, least of all teenagers (whose juvenile records are most often sealed anyway). They'll huff their own fermented body waste to get high.

      Let the addicts suffer the consequences of their stupidity, not the rest of us. That goes for a bunch of other stuff too. We can't minimize or take away the natural consequences of bad decisions and still expect people to learn better. That's not how human nature works. Nor can we idiot-proof the world. I'm sick of giving up my freedom and property for people who can't or won't responsibly handle theirs. It's wrong.

      People are only parasites if you allow them to be, and in fact, the quicker they hit bottom and pull out (or don't and die), the better for them and society. Nothing anyone does or says will help or stop an addict (and alcohol is a drug) until THEY decide they've had enough.

      So yes, whatever percentage that wants to go kill themselves is fine with me, because I know most of them will find a way to anyway.

      • oldwolves

        "Let the addicts suffer the consequences of their stupidity, not the rest of us."

        We who will suffer from the crimes committed on us by these new junkies don't agree. We who will see our families destroyed by these new junkies don't agree. We who will be paying there hospital/treatment/welfare/prison//// bills do not agree.

        You will give up your freedom because creating millions of new junkies will destroy neighborhoods , leaving you unable to leave your home because your afraid to go out or to leave your family alone to the tender mercies of drug addicted felons. Who will take your property and anyone else's. As for bottoming out… I've dealt with 3rd generation junkies. A wonderful family tradition. Those that pull themselves out are in the very low average.

        I still can't see how allowing a fire to run rampant will ever be a good solution.

  • VN Vet

    FARC is not just a narco-terrorist group, it's a commie group, that's been trying to undermine the governments of several Central American countries for many years. I would bet big money Chavez is bankrolling FARC.

    First, take Chavez out. He's a no good commie sonofabitch. Then cut off the market for drugs, the U.S. Make it capital punishment for both users and pushers in the U.S. In short order the problem will be solved and only the lives of the drugheads will be lost.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      It's that or legalize them. Anything else is a waste of freedom, lives, time, and money.

  • tio holtzman

    1810, 1910, and 2010: all years of revolution in Mexico, look it up.

  • http://kennetholsen.com Kenneth Olsen

    Szasz states it clearly: An adult's right to grow and ingest whatever he chooses is a right antecedent to the U.S. Constitution.

    Lest we forget, drugs were totally unregulated in this country until the 1900s. Where were the drug war casualties when responsibility resided in free individuals?

    The federal government's current obsession with taking over the entire health care industry rests firmly on the foundation of the federal government's control over our "legal" drug dealers.

  • Cok

    “The drug war has resulted in about 17,000 deaths over the past three years, and Mexico has claimed the title of the country in the hemisphere with the highest number of journalists killed on its soil. To put that in perspective, about 1000 American soldiers have died fighting the war in Afghanistan since 2001. About 4400 Americans have died in Iraq since 2003.”

    There’s 150,00 US troops in Iraq and the number in Afghanistan is also puny next to Mexico’s population which has over 100 million people let’s remember.

    In fact, the rate of US troops killed is far HIGHER, not to diminish the appalling violence going on in Mexico.

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  • MAZ

    People blame the Mexican cartels for bringing in the drug to America…America itself has a high demand of drugs..teenagers every crack head will do anything to get what they want and the cartel will do anything to transport the drugs… thats why Juarez Chihuahua is one of the lands where narcos fight because of easy access of the merchandise…its near the border!…

  • oldwolves

    Don't worry Maz, once we make drugs legal and put the government in charge, everything will be OK. I mean , what could go wrong? Most people here think the government is doing a great job with everything else so why worry? Once we have committed ourselves to unrestricted access to mind altering chemicals, we as a nation will prosper and grow. The mexican drug cartells will cease. Americans will understand the folly of their ways. Just surrender to the inevitable Maz. It's always better to give in. Working harder and standing up to an evil is very tiring and draining. It's always better to justify weakness. It will make you a better person. Trust me.

    (This was brought to you by 'ASS' -American Sarcasm Society)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/johnhenderson16 johnhenderson16

    I only see the situation escalating when you consider the supply, the demand, the corruption. It is definitely out of control.

  • http://www.antiwar.com Joseph Zrnchikq

    End the drug war tomorrow and make it all legal. Your body belongs to you, not the government. Then the price of drugs will be about 1/50 of what it is now and all drug violence would end.

    It looks like the DEA going after Cheech Marin backfired as he exposed the drug war. People are tired of the loss of liberty in this police/warfare/welfare state and the heavy-handedness of corrupt and arrogant prosecutors who have completely destroyed the Constitution.

    We are at the logical conclusion current U.S. foreign policy. Hope you like it.

  • roger

    the mexican goverment is the one that causing all the problems