Friday, July 10, 2009

More on the U.S.-Mexico Drug Trafficking Issue

More on the U.S.-Mexico Drug Trafficking Issue

Here are some interesting excerpts from an article by JJ Hensley in the the Arizona Republic (Dec. 23, 2008) concerning the recent (six months ago) bust of a large Mexico-to-the-U.S.-by-way-of-Arizona marijuana smuggling organization. The article is well worth reading in full, and it can be found at:

“The drug dealers had the standard hallmarks of their trade — hundreds of bales of marijuana, fleets of stolen cars, bundles of cash and a small arsenal of weapons.”

(Meaning they are heavily armed and well financed.)

“They had radio towers set up in the desert to communicate with each other, as many as 50 scouts scattered through the rugged border country to direct the operation, and a mobile ramp to help vehicles hop the border fence.

(Meaning they are well organized.)

‘The ramp trucks are new,’ said John Stonehouse, an airborne officer with Customs and Border Patrol in Tucson. ‘The creation of the border fence resulted in the creation of the ramp truck. I'm sure the design was a copy off military ramping systems.’”

(Meaning the border fence isn’t doing the trick.)

“After crossing the border and entering the Tohono O'odham Reservation, the smugglers would stick to ravines and washes as they made their way toward Pinal County under the cover of dark.”

(Meaning that policing this area is like trying to police an ocean (of desert).

“The group, which federal agents linked to the notorious Sinaloa cartel from Mexico, smuggled up to 2 million pounds of pot over the border in the past five years, with a wholesale value estimated at about $1 billion.”

(Meaning the cartel runs a very profitable business.)

“Another organization will likely step up to take over the business of the Garibaldi-Lopez ring, authorities acknowledged.”

(Meaning this same kind of operation continues to go on.)

“The cash that comes from marijuana sales fuels other operations in the Sinaloa cartel's drug trade, which makes pot sales in the state a crucial part of the operation, said Matthew Allen, a special agent in charge with Immigration and Customs Enforcement…Every time they lose cocaine, meth, heroin, they make up those losses by selling marijuana in the United States,’ Allen said.”

(Meaning that marijuana money is venture capital for the narcotics business)

“It took the combined intelligence and resources of all the agencies involved to take down the sprawling drug ring, said Pinal County Sheriff Chris Vasquez, whose jurisdiction encompasses a common smuggling route…With the resources we have, we would make a small — not even a dent — in the amount of drugs coming up through that corridor,’ Vasquez said.”

(Meaning this same kind of operation continues to go on.)
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