Mexican Drug Cartels to U.S. Citizens: Keep buying

Drugs are the engine sustaining modern weaponry

By Patrick Osio
Published on LatinoLA: June 2, 2008

Mexican Drug Cartels to U.S. Citizens: Keep buying

Why are Mexican drug cartels fighting each other and Mexico‘«÷s police and military forces? Why, without regard to human life, are they carrying their reign of terror to the streets?

Money is the engine that drives the illicit drug trade with trafficking as the crucial link between production and consumption. Trafficking is, as reported by the United Nations, ‘«£far and away the most lucrative stage in the process from the cultivation and processing to the point of final consumption.‘«ō The gross profits from production to consumer sale ranges from 93 to 98 percent. The estimated value of illicit drugs world trade tops $500 billion a year.

Due to the higher population and relative affluence of its citizens, the U.S. is the most lucrative market in the Western Hemisphere. A United Nations' survey indicates the number of people in the U.S. having consumed illicit drugs at least once in the year prior to the survey was 26 million, or 13 percent of the population aged 12 years and over. Of those, more than 13 million use illicit drugs at least once a month. Some estimates show illicit drugs to be a $150 billion business in the United States.

It is for those dollars the killings are about.

Around 70 percent of cocaine for U.S. consumption enters through Mexico. Marijuana, the world‘«÷s most used illicit drug, is another drug coming from Mexico competing with U.S. grown production. In fact, the U.S. and Mexico are the world‘«÷s largest producers of marijuana.
Annually, Mexican authorities eradicate 85 percent of marijuana cultivating fields, and are credited with confiscating 38 percent of marijuana‘«÷s world supply.

The U.S., a much bigger country, manages to eradicate between 30 to 50 percent of home grown marijuana and is second to Mexico with 24 percent of marijuana confiscations world-wide.

The U.S. and Mexico are making it tougher for criminals to produce and ship illicit drugs. But the dollar street sales remains high as drugs have won a place in the subculture particularly with young adults in the U.S., Mexico and far too many other countries.

How it affects the U.S. is illustrated by a recent event in San Diego with the arrests of 76 San Diego State University students for distribution and buying of illicit drugs after a year long undercover investigation started after the overdose death of a female student. During the course of the investigation a second student died of an overdose. One of the ‘«£students‘«ō arrested has ties to a Tijuana drug cartel and is suspected of being the supplier to the student distributors.

Such a massive arrest made U.S. and world headlines. Like most major newspapers, the Los Angeles Times provides online message boards for readers‘«÷ comments, which generated hundreds of entries with variations of the same theme, the majority appearing to come from young adults
Here are some excerpts:

‘«£Drugs are on every campus. And the people who died due to overdoses died from choosing to use drugs, not from the dealing of drugs.‘«ō

‘«£What a waste of money and time! There are terrorists and serial killers out there, why are we wasting our police enforcement‘«÷s capacity to control violent crime on arresting stoned students?‘«ō

‘«£Yet another story of the police out to lock people up for consensual crimes. No one forced anyone to buy or take drugs. Why lock up people for things that hurts no one else than those willingly involved?‘«ō

Such comments indicate there is no realization of or desire to face the real life consequences regarding drug trafficking and drug usage. The idea that these activities ‘«£hurt no one else,‘«ō disregards the overdose deaths, and destructive lifetime drug dependency of so many throughout the country; and the bloodbath taking place a mere 120 miles south of Los Angeles where Mexican authorities throughout the length of the U.S.-Mexico border battle vicious narco terrorists.

The purchase of illicit drugs is the engine sustaining the procurement and smuggling into Mexico of modern weaponry used by drug cartels against law enforcement agencies and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire; it allows for contracting high-paid killers; and provides millions of dollars to corrupt officials, some of them in the U.S.

If Mexico is to win this war, it must have the cooperation not only of the US government, which it has, but of its citizens with a commitment to boycott buying and using illicit drugs. Otherwise, US citizens are funding terrorist drug cartels, and thus their butchery.

About Patrick Osio:
Patrick Osio is Editor of, columnist with the San Diego Metropolitan Magazine and cofounder and documentary writer for TransBorder Communication. Contact at:

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