Noah Widelo: Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime in Mexico

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It is important to understand the dynamics of the drug trafficking organizations. The major drug trafficking groups originating in Mexico is always evolving with the challenges from competition, changing markets, and increased regulation. It is widely debated how many definite drug trafficking organizations exist to date. During the decade of the 2010’s, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has identified the dominant organizations labeled as the Sinaloa, Los Zetas, Tijuana/AFO, Juárez/CFO, Beltrán Leyva, Gulf, and La Familia Michoacana. Since then, analysts have recognized the groups have fractured into smaller groups that diversify their criminal affairs into other illegal activities. The challenges facing organized crime make it difficult for one major group to maintain a monopoly or resist fragmentation.

Many people may be familiar with the infamous drug lord known as Joaquin Guzman or El Chapo. He led the Sinaloa cartel for many years and was later captured in the United States and sentenced to life in prison by a New York court. Consequently, his son, Ovido Guzman Lopez, became involved in organized crime and was also arrested in Mexico in late 2019. He unfortunately was released from custody by the government, because of the immense threat to public safety from terrorist threats and insurgent tactics. Many other drug lords are constantly getting captured while having multimillion-dollar rewards on their heads. I find it quite saddening that even when organized crime leaders become captured that it can then lead to even more amoral, violent behavior from the respective organization. Mexico should not fall victim to coercive threats for release and remain steadfast in policies and procedures to increase confidence in the government for all law-abiding citizens.

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