WHERE IT ALL BE­GAN

HOW DID THINGS GET THIS BAD IN MEX­ICO?

Real Crime - - Melissa Del Bosque -

Smug­gling has ex­isted in Mex­ico ever since there has been a bor­der. 100 years ago it was mar­i­juana and weapons, then al­co­hol for a short pe­riod dur­ing Pro­hi­bi­tion. As the pop­u­lar­ity of heroin, co­caine and pre­scrip­tion drugs in­creased in the US from the 1950s on­wards, the Guadala­jara car­tel be­came the de facto power in Mex­ico. It was a nat­u­ral part­ner for Pablo Es­co­bar’s co­caine empire, fun­nelling tons of white pow­der more eas­ily through Mex­ico’s well- worn smug­gling routes to the US than the risky Caribbean cor­ri­dor.

Guadala­jara made a fa­tal mis­take in 1985 when it cap­tured, tor­tured and mur­dered DEA agent En­rique ‘ Kiki’ Ca­marena.

This prompted a vig­or­ous DEA crack­down that ul­ti­mately split Guadala­jara into smaller car­tels that have evolved into the fac­tions we see to­day. In the mean­time, the in­creas­ing ap­petite for co­caine has put bil­lions of dol­lars into the pock­ets of the Mex­i­can drug lords, giv­ing them ac­cess to mil­i­tary- grade hard­ware, al­low­ing them to hire cor­rupt sol­diers to com­mit ter­ri­ble atroc­i­ties and bribes to those with mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal power to turn a blind eye.

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