How a Mexican drug cartel makes its millions

Joaquín Guzmán, drug lord

There's an excellent article in The New York Times Magazine on Joaquín Guzmán, also known as "El Chapo", and how he runs Mexico’s Sinaloa drug smuggling cartel.

The cartel deceives authorities in clever ways by smuggling drugs using submarines, bridges made of sandbags, catapults to fling drugs over fences, air-conditioned tunnels, and vacuum-packing drugs inside cans of "jalapeños."

But their most used tool? Corruption:
The surest way to stay out of trouble in the drug business is to dole out bribes, and promiscuously. Drug cartels don’t pay corporate taxes, but a colossus like Sinaloa makes regular payments to the federal, state and municipal authorities that may well rival the effective tax rate in Mexico. When the D.E.A. conducted an internal survey of its top 50 operatives and informants several years ago and asked them to name the most important factor for running a drug business, they replied, overwhelmingly, corruption. At a trial in 2010, a former police official from Juárez, Jesús Fierro Méndez, acknowledged that he had worked for Sinaloa. “Did the drug cartels have the police on the payroll?” an attorney asked.

“All of it,” Fierro Méndez replied.
Read the article: Cocaine Incorporated, The New York Times Magazine>>

(Note: You'll have to excuse my typo in the headline, which I must have subconsciously typed so I'd have a nice alliteration. It should read: "How a Mexican drug cartel makes its billions.")

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