INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS REVIEW - SPECIAL FOCUS ON MEXICO

Created: 1/1/1995

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International Narcotics Reviewl

special focus on mexico

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International Narcotics Review P

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Counternarcotics Under Zedillo

President Ernesto Zedillo hasounternarcotics program still struggling to reduce the flow of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin into the United Slates:

Beginning To Establish an Antidrug Agenda

His choice for attorney general, the first (ipposiiion puny member ever selectedabinet position, fins announced plans to clean up tbe Attorney General'slead antidrugits action arm. the Mexican Federal Judicial Police.

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Some New Directions

Reflecting his strong technocratic background, Zedillo is rethinkingcounternarcotics program and is considering some changes (hat may be inconsistent with US objectives. Zedillo, for example, says that he favors shiftingore international focus on counternarcotics Although the details of thiscalling for an international conference on drugyet to be established, the President's position is in line with some other Latin AmericanPeru andand reflects growing dissatisfaction in ihe region with US pressure on coun-terdrug performance issues.!-

Implications

We believe Zedillo's conccni over (he threat trartickers pose lo internal security and his desire to maintain close overallin the realm ofthe Tniicd States will be key factors pressing him lothroughtrong antidrug agenda. Counlcrrurcotics is alsofor ihe Mexican economy An enhanced antidrug program- as panroader effort to bolster the judicialsignal businessmen and nervous foreign investors thai the government will not permit traffickersrode stability and launder their profits unimpeded in the financial system:

I Zedillo also is likely lo welcome US support of any new regional antidrug initiatives and probably will claim that the Uniteda major consumingobligated to improve Mexico's antidrug capabilities.

Mexican Trafficking

Organ ualiiHLs: Moving From

Blue Collar Io White Collar

One of the most significant trends in the Mexicantrafficking worldoncerted effort by the major Mexican kingpins to legiumire their standing in Mexican society by diversifying their economic inter-csts and increasing their political clout. I

Mexican traffickers areigher degree of sophistication, especially regarding investment in legitimate businesses and infrastructure projects, developing money-laundering techniques, andin long-range planning. Until now, Mexicanfor the most part have exploited and invested in certain traditional sectors of the country'snotably agriculture, ranching, and realto facilitate their narcotics opera-lions. I-

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Narcotics trafficker* will alio bene hi from Ibe planned expansions of Mexico'* port facilities and container movement, which will provide them other options :'or rooving their narcotics ihipmenumericannei (APL) and Transporta-cKn Man uma Mexicans (TMM) reached antoove coouLnenied cargo tetween Asia and Mexico's Pacific ports According to press rcporta. thishach could prove advanta-geoes to both Meatcan and Asian narcotics traificiers. allows TMM to uanuhip iu cargo on APL trans-Paafic vesseli operating between Asian and North American pomesult, TMM will be able to expand its operations into the ports of Oakland,southern California, is well as Asia. Bothare also planning on olfcnng door-to-store

services to and within such major Mexican cities as Mexico City, PueNa, Guadalajara, Leon. Cuemavaca, Toluca, Oueretaro, and Aguascalicntes.1

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The Colombian Influence

We believe thai Ihe influx and influence of Colombianof whom terve as lepreseritati ves of the major Cab orgaruiattoru inmajor conuiboting facton to the growing econorruc sophitti-caiksi of Me>Kan traffickingather than establish separate traffickingaColombian traffickers have worked with or have been part of the close-knit Mexican traffickingThese Colombians have probably been responsible for passing on their expertise in modern international business techniques, including market analysis and the exploitation of commercial tradeto the Mexican trafficking organirations. When Colombian trafficker Luis Medranoopof tbe Juan Garcia Abregu organization, was arrested by Mexican authorities inixhori-liesealth of information on bis and tbe organi ration's investment ventures The arrest of a

Cab cartelexpert economist wbo wis producing market Hushes to dc ermine which exports

and imports would best servelage narcotic *the business astuteness of the

Cali cartel and the type of talent that would henera

Mexican

in drug profits but were routinely paid in cocaine by the Colombians for moving cocaine shipmenis through Mexico and into the United Stales Now, however, tome of tbe major Mexican kingpins are paying up front -in cash amountsColombian cocaine and arc taking full financial responsibility for the successful movement of the cocaine into the United States, in addition toils US distribution. This new business relationship, ahhuugh increasing the Mexicans' risk for loss,the potential for increased profits if tbe narcotics operation is swvessful. The Mexican kingpins' increased illegal profits in turn require moremoney-laundering techniques aod have led ihern toong-term investment strategy!-

Tbe Ness Challenge

Mexico's narcotics traffickers are now better able to target new markets and facilitate drug shipments by taking advantage of modem international business techniques. As the Mexican traffickers invent their narcotics proceeds even more heavily in legitimate businesses, it will becong more difficult for Mexican law enforcement agencies k> snwi and pnxiccute them because Ic gib mate business interposesuffer from the illegal aide of thctradej

changing business relationship between the Colombian traffickers and the major Mexicanhas probably fostered the latter'* new economic savvy. Traditionally, Mexicanas transportationnot shared

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