Saturday, January 19, 2013

Unintended consequences of the "drug war": International Crime Syndicates

Cartels are now International Crime Syndicates.
Turning a blind eye to negative repercussions of the co-called "drug war" for far too long produced a monster. Instead of snuffing out crime, the "drug war" only made it worse. The enemy we formerly termed "drug cartels" has morphed into International Crime Syndicates.

No longer content with merely trafficking drugs, international crime syndicates began growing and producing illegal substances. Seeing lots of potential for lucrative income in extortion and kidnapping, guess what came next?

Arms trafficking was a natural. They could use weapons and, in Mexico, arms sales are illegal and possession of arms is, too. Crime enters in.

Now, international crime syndicates have adopted the most lucrative enterprise of all: human smuggling and trafficking. From my (limited) perspective on the border, nearly all illegal entry into the U.S. is controlled by the crime syndicates. This opens the door to exploitation of those smuggled, many are duped and then imprisoned to work for the cartel in the sex industry or as laborers.

When an elderly Catholic sister retired from a decade of ministry at an HIV/AIDS clinic in Juarez a few years ago, she announced at a meeting I attended that she'd devote her remaining years to activism in the cause of legalizing marijuana in the US. She'd seen enough death, mayhem and suffering, so she'd take the obvious first step in opposition.

Illegal drugs are cheaper now than ever, and more easily obtained. Humans charged with drug possession fill U.S. prisons. Police arrest more people for possession than for violent crime. The drug war has helped munitions manufacturers and international crime syndicates prosper and grow.

No matter how you name it, evil is evil. End the drug war.


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