Cartel leader deaths don’t impede drug flow, says leaked memo
According to a recently leaked US government memo, arresting or killing “key” cartel players “does not significantly impact drug trafficking flow” into
Bedroom where cartel chief Arturo Beltrán Leyva met his end
the United States. Surprisingly, crop cycles and religious holidays actually seem to play a greater role.
For the last five years US and Mexican authorities have assumed that the death or arrest of cartel leaders would dismantle their organizations. With two-thirds of Mexico’s most wanted now dead or in jail, the continued flow of drugs and skyrocketing murder rate in Mexico seem to indicate this was a flawed strategy. Now even the Department of Justice admits internally that these tactics haven’t achieved the expected results.
In the actual words of the Customs and Border Protection memo, “The removal of key personnel does not have a discernable impact on drug flows as determined by seizure rates. Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) appear to have built in redundancy and personnel that perform specific duties to limit the damage incurred by the removal of any one person. By sheer volume alone, drug operations would require more than one individual to coordinate and control the process. While the continued arrest or death of key DTO leadership may have long-term implications as to the control and viability of a specific DTO, there is no indication it will impact overall drug flows into the United States.”
A National Drug Threat Assessment recently published by the Department of Justice agrees: “The Mexican-based organizations’ preeminence derives from a competitive advantage based on several factors, including access to and control of smuggling routes across the U.S. southwest border and the capacity to produce (or obtain), transport, and distribute nearly every major illicit drug of abuse in the United States. These advantages are unlikely to change significantly in the short term.”
The memo noted that during 2009 and 2010 Mexican-based drug traffickers were active in over a thousand U.S. cities.