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Sinaloa Cartel

Sinaloa Cartel

Identify one drug cartel, and then explain how their method of drug trafficking has changed over the last decade.

The Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico has been generally regarded as the most profitable, expensive, and powerful cartel in the world even though its alleged leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, was recently re-incarcerated (Bagley, 2012). The organization, worth a billion dollars, operates in over fifty countries, from the United States to Argentina, Europe, and probably Southeast Asia. El Chapo and his associates have successfully moved vast quantities of drugs discretely across many boundaries to establish an extensive distribution network.

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It is said that the cartel originated from the Guadalajara Cartel, one of the most prominent crime organizations in Mexico in the early 1980s (Bagley, 2012). But after the cartel got involved in the brutal murder of a United States agent of drug enforcement, the forces of Mexico and the United States decided to crack down on the organization. By the late 1980s, it had been broken into groups, including the Sinaloa Cartel. According to the New York Times Magazine, El Chapo, the boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, it appointed an architect who constructed a short passage that ran approximately two hundred feet from the house of an attorney in Agua Prieta in the state of Sonora to a warehouse owned by the cartel in Douglas, Arizona. After the tunnel was done, El Chapo instructed the Colombian Cartels to supply all the drugs they possibly could.

From then on, the cartel invested heavily in tunnels. In the last decade, the cartel constructed a “super-tunnel” furnished with motorized carts, electric lights, and ventilation systems that crisscrossed the United States border (Bagley, 2012). Also, tunnels were incorporated into different escape routes. The cartel has also employed sophisticated methods of smuggling drugs. It has built numerous compartments in its vehicles where they conceal their drugs. The receptacles could only be opened with some tricky procedures, like connecting different cables. They knew this technique would be difficult for the border patrol agents to identify. Two lookouts were employed, one on the border’s each side tasked with keeping tabs on the vehicles that carried the merchandise from the Mexicali stash house until it passed inspection. After a successful smuggle into the U.S., the driver would be trailed by a third lookout two hundred miles North to L—a, where the substances are offloaded for distribution.

Identify the most common drug trafficking routes. Is there a relationship between these various geographical areas?

Many countries in the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico are cocaine bund transit countries for the major consumer markets in Europe and North America. For the latter, drugs are customarily shipped from Colombia to Central America or Mexico by sea and later by land to Canada and the United States (Dell, 2015). According to the United States authority, approximately ninety percent of the drugs that enter the country cross the Mexico/U. S border, with the majority of it going through Texas. According to the estimates of the United States, about seventy percent of the drugs leave Colombia through the Pacific.

Colombia has remained the primary source of drugs found in the continent of Europe. Still, direct transportation from Bolivia’s Plurinational State and Peru is not as common as in the United States market (Dell, 2015). The relative essentiality of Colombia has been declining in recent years. For instance, in 2002, the authorities in the United Kingdom confirmed that ninety percent of the seized drugs originated from Colombia. In many other European countries, the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Peru seem to be the leading source countries of medicines.

Determine if the war on drugs has affected drug trafficking in the United States.

The War on Drugs has been a significant effort in the U.S. since the 1970s to hinder the abuse of drugs by significantly increasing enforcement, penalties, and incarceration for drug traffickers. In 1973, the DEA established a merger between the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, and the Office of Narcotics Intelligence to strengthen federal efforts for drug abuse control. The legalization of marijuana is one of the aspects of the war on drugs campaign (Moore, 2008). Marijuana seizures at the border have decreased by approximately forty percent since some states in the U.S.A. legalized its use. Due to this, a report by the Washington Post indicated that traffickers of Marijuana from Mexico have claimed that the business was not worth it anymore since they cannot compete with the local American quality and price. The price of marijuana from Mexico has decreased from one hundred dollars a kilo to twenty-five dollars, making growers in Sinaloa and Durango stop planting marijuana. In this case, the United States is winning the war on marijuana alongside the Mexican border, costing the drug cartels billions of dollars by legalizing it (Moore, 2008). However, the cartels have responded to this loss by smuggling more meth, cocaine, and especially heroin. The Sinaloa Cartel vastly supplies the epidemic of heroin in the Northeast. Addicts who use prescription opiates have turned to Mexican heroin, which is less expensive.

Determine if the legalization of drugs is a way to reduce drug trafficking. Explain and defend your response by using examples to support your view.

Legalizing drugs, particularly marijuana, would possibly lead to the emergence of the gray marijuana market. Legalization of marijuana means taxing it to discourage its greater use and to generate more revenue (Jenner, 2011): The higher the taxation, the greater the opportunity for the drug trafficking organizations to undercut the authority by relatively charging less. The narcos could establish their fields with the smaller imposition of taxes, snatch their markets and the state would again combat them and eradicate their fields. Gray markets usually exist in countries that legalize marijuana. Such markets tend to be highly violent, dominated by generating corruption, organized crime, and exploitative society.

Furthermore, suppose the territory is not physically controlled by the state where there is the cultivation of marijuana. In that case, the Drug Trafficking Organizations could keep dominating the newly legal marijuana fields, charging taxes, structuring the growers’ lives, and even easily integrating into the formal federal system (Jenner, 2011). Most rubber and oil barons started with illegal practices and later became influential. Drug legalization is not the solution. There is no shortcut to the enhancement of law enforcement. Without accountable and capable law enforcement, responsive to the people’s needs, from addressing street crimes to restraining organized crime with support from an accessible, efficient, and transparent system of justice, the state will manage neither illegal nor legal economies well. Legal action against marijuana would only be viable if the United States would get the drug trafficking organizations under control and establish an efficient justice and law enforcement reform.

Recommend strategies and tactics to law enforcement to reduce drug trafficking.

Street-level enforcement

This kind of enforcement is primarily carried out by tactical squad officers, patrol officers, and plainclothes officers. The focus here is on street dealers and drug users. Tactics include suspected transaction interruption, surveillance, raids of “crack houses” and “shooting galleries,” and by-and-bust operations (Astorga, 2010). The majority of arrests related to drugs are often small-time offenders, and the seizures are usually limited as well. However, a street-level arrest does not mostly lead to incarceration because of the overcrowdedness in American jails.

Crop eradication

Law enforcement agencies employ this strategy at all levels but with significant variations. State and local agencies are highly restricted to eradicating cannabis since it is the dominant illicit drug grown in the U.S. (Astorga, 2010). By contrast, federal agencies are involved in international agreements and treaties to reduce heroin cultivation and crops that produce cocaine worldwide.

Major investigation

This strategy targets the organizations and individuals responsible for producing, importing, and distributing vast quantities of illicit substances (Astorga, 2010). Major investigations are mainly utilized by state and federal agencies of law enforcement and the large local law enforcement departments. Because these investigations ons take extensive periods, they are beyond the means of the local jurisdictions as they involve substantial traveling and specialized expertise.

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Astorga, L., & Shirk, D. A. (2010). Drug trafficking organizations and counter-drug strategies in the US-Mexican context.

Bagley, B. (2012). Drug trafficking and organized crime in the Americas. Woodrow Wilson Center Up ate of the Americas.

Dell, M. (2015). Trafficking networks and the Mexican drug war. American Economic Review  105(6), 1738-79.

Jenner, M. S. (2011). International drug trafficking: A global problem with a domestic solution. Indiana Journal of Globa  Legal Studies, 18(2), 901-927.

Moore, L. D., & Elkavich, A. (2008). Who’s using and doing time: incarceration, the war on drugs, and public health. American Journal of Publ c Health, 98(Supplement_1), S176-S180.


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Week 6 – Assignment: Evaluate Efforts to Fight Drug Trafficking in the United States


Over 43 years have passed since the war on drugs was initiated.  Developing a critical anal reflects the history of drug trafficking in the United States and law enforcement responses.  Discuss current laws and cement actions and assess their effectiveness.

Sinaloa Cartel

Sinaloa Cartel

Include the following in your analysis:

  • Identify one drug cartel, and then explain how their method of drug trafficking has changed over the last decade.
  • Identify the most common drug trafficking routes. Is there a relationship between these various geographical areas?
  • Determine if the war on drugs has affected drug trafficking in the United States.
  • Determine if the legalization of drugs is a way to reduce drug trafficking. Explain and defend your response by using examples to support your view.
  • Recommend strategies and tactics to law enforcement to reduce drug trafficking.

Provide as many specific examples as possible to support your findings.

Support your analysis with at least three scholarly or professional resources. In addition to these specific resources, other appropriate educational resources, including older articles, may be included.

Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages

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