Monday, July 6, 2009

Tucson, Arizona: A High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

I heard on the news (yesterday) that the Army National Guard is asking for volunteers (from within their ranks) to work the U.S.-Mexico border regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.No doubt the rising tide of violence in Mexico is causing concern about the possibility of violence spilling over into the U.S. As well as the fact that the Mexican government is having a very difficult time dealing with the cartels these days.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Tucson, Arizona "is a regional-and-national-level distribution center for illicit drugs, particularly marijuana. Mexican DTOs exploit the area because of its proximity to Mexico; the city is located only 65 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border and is situated near the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, the Coronado National Forest, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument--vast tracts of remote land commonly used by Mexican DTOs to transport illicit drugs into and through Arizona. Tucson's proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and its access to major interstates and secondary highways render it a key Southwest Border distribution center and stash location."(1)

The devil you say.

Tucson, Arizona is surrounded by an ocean of desert. And there are a lot of smugglers crossing that ocean every night. Too many to stop them all, or even most of them. Okay, there are too many to stop any of them, except for a few. In short, the U.S. drug policy is a proven failure (a proven failure).

True, Latin America does export narcotics; as well as many other (legitimate) products. But, as I've said before (in a previous blog, see http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendId=108766118&page=2) opium (and heroin) sales are a vital sector of the global economy. Meaning that, without those sales, the global economy would collapse.And what about Mexico and all of that marijuana? Do we realize that the legalization of marijuana would deprive the cartels of a good portion of their venture capitol (i.e., the money they need in order to produce and distribute narcotics, and reap the higher profits thereof. Just think, legalization would fill the coffers of the state (through taxes) and deprive the cartels of a good portion of the money they need to produce and distribute narcotics.

What should we do?

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, the U.S. plans to coninue the fight. Using the military if necessary (and everyone seems to think that it is necessary) because the "Mexican DTOs [Drug Trafficking Organizations] will adapt drug smuggling methods into the Arizona HIDTA [High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area] region both at and between POEs [Points of Entry] in an effort to thwart law enforcement. For example, Mexican DTOs will likely increase their use of subterranean tunnels, small aircraft, cloned vehicles, more innovative concealment methods, and alternate smuggling routes in an effort to circumvent law enforcement and military operations against them." (2)

This sounds like a war that will never end.
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