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Corruption Chronicles

Mexican Cartels Dictate Flow of Nearly all Illicit Drugs into the U.S., DEA Confirms

In addition to record-breaking numbers of illegal immigrants hemorrhaging into the United States through Mexico, cartels in the Latin American border nation have caused the worst drug crisis in U.S. history, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The federal agency, which operates under the Department of Justice (DOJ), is responsible for enforcing the nation’s controlled substances laws and regulations as well as investigating criminals and gangs that traffic illegal drugs into the country. In its annual National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), released this month, the DEA outlines and gauges illicit drug threats and trafficking trends endangering the United States. Mexican cartels are at the heart of the report, specifically the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels.

Sinaloa is one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world, according to the DOJ, and is largely responsible for the manufacturing and importing of fentanyl that gets distributed in the U.S. It operates as a sophisticated business of drug traffickers and money launderers that get precursor chemicals mostly from China to manufacture synthetic drugs in Mexico that eventually come into the U.S. Jalisco is one of Mexico’s “most murderous drug smuggling rings,” according to a U.S. congressman and former Navy SEAL who earlier this year introduced a bill to kill or capture the cartel’s leaders. Jalisco is notorious for trafficking cocaine and methamphetamine into the U.S. as well as for its gruesome murders. “These two cartels are global criminal enterprises that have developed global supply chain networks,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram says in the latest NDTA, adding that they rely on chemical and pill press companies in China for material to manufacture drugs and operate clandestine labs in Mexico where they manufacture the drugs. Then they utilize their vast distribution networks to transport them into the United States, Milgram said.

Nearly all the methamphetamines sold in the United States today is manufactured in Mexico, according to the DEA, and it is purer and more potent than in years past. Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat the U.S. has ever faced, killing nearly 38,000 Americans in the first six months of 2023 alone, the NDTA reveals. Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, like methamphetamine, are responsible for nearly all the fatal drug overdoses and poisonings in our country. “The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels command worldwide organized criminal networks that all play a role in producing and delivering fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other illicit drugs by the ton,” the DEA report states. “They operate extensive global supply chains, from precursor chemicals to production facilities, and direct a complex web of conspirators that includes international shippers, cross-border transporters, corrupt officials, tunnel builders, shell companies, money launderers, and others.” The two Mexican syndicates have total control over each segment of the criminal drug trade with no competition in the U.S. and an established presence in every American state. “Together, the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels have caused the worst drug crisis in U.S. history,” the DEA writes in this year’s report.

Americans may logically wonder how tons of drugs flow so freely into the country through a land border that is supposed to be relentlessly protected, especially after 9/11 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prevent another terrorist attack. According to the DEA the Mexican cartels are actually in charge and they dictate the flow of nearly all illicit drugs into the U.S. “Their dominance over the synthetic drug trade is evident in the relentless stream of illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine crossing the border toward U.S. markets,” the DEA report says. The agency says no single cartel controls specific border crossings or ports of entry into the United States and some drug shipments cross the border between, not through, official ports of entry. “The size and firepower of the cartel that controls the border region of Mexico immediately south of the U.S. border, however, does dictate which other drug trafficking groups have to pay a piso to smuggle drugs through the region toward the border, and which are barred from transiting the region altogether,” the DEA writes, adding that Sinaloa exerts near-total control over the border region south of Arizona and most of California.


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