The abuse of drugs is on the increase in most countries in the world with the antidrug campaigns bearing no fruits in most cases. The illegal trade is carried out by men and also women involvement in drug trafficking has been on the increase in the Mexico-US border. The number of female inmates in the Mexican prisons increased by 40% in 2007 due to drug-related cases. Efforts to prevent drug trafficking have been enforced in many countries, but it does not stop the trade since more stringent measures need to be enforced. Most of the drugs distributed in the United States are sourced from Mexico, which acts as a transit for the drugs and also produces some of the drugs like cannabis and opium. The drug trafficking issues started decades ago in Mexico, who grew marijuana and opium poppy plants. On the realization that the drugs were being exported mainly to United States the U.S. government strategically placed its antidrug agents along the borders that were notorious for the trafficking (Campbell 125). The two governments joined hands and signed an agreement on antidrug war but still it was not enough since mo than a decade later, drug trafficking is still an issue.
Illegal drugs in the United States mostly get their way through the commercial and non-commercial ships in the ports of entry. The US government thus designed a regulation to stop production of the drugs at the source (Recio 153). This involved a strategy to remove the available drugs in the market, making the scarce supply very expensive thus unaffordable to many (Campbell 174). The agencies responsible for antidrug campaign include the immigration and customs enforcement (ICE), the DEA, the Border Patrol, the FBI and police force (Hudson 54). There are those officials who are involved with physical detection of the drugs while others are involved in investigations at organizational level. Organizational investigations involve tracing the movement of cartels and their composition (Campbell 175). The law enforcement on drug trafficking is used to uncover the hidden drug trafficking operations. There are public presentations on the same where the confiscated drugs are displayed. The drug war in the US-Mexico border has however been criticized as hypocritical and counterproductive efforts based on racism. This is because the fight does not confront the high level of corruption in the officers entrusted with the anti-drug campaign (Toro 74). The countries that produce drugs are the worst hit by the drug effects. For example in Mexico, there was a mass killing of anti-drug law enforcement agents and civilians. The drug trafficking business affects people from different social settings including the smugglers themselves, historians and law officials.
In the recent past, the fight against drugs in Mexico has been an uphill climb owing to the many drug cartels. Some of the cartels have gone to the extent of attacking the civilians and involving themselves with human trafficking as well. The disagreements in the cartels over control of major borders that is convenient for the trafficking has resulted in a loss of lives during the power struggle. High poverty levels in some parts of Mexico is a major reason why the fight against drug trafficking and crime has not been very fruitful. Brazil is also another country where consumption of the drugs is very high particularly cocaine. The drug traffickers have well-established customers in the United States who then distribute the drugs. While South America is not a producer of cocaine, its weak coastline patrol presents a very favorable environment for the drug traffickers. Brazil is on the other hand neighbors’ countries like Peru, Columbia and Bolivia Williams The country also borders the largest marijuana producer, Paraguay.
The growing relationship between Brazil and West Africa has also contributed to hardship in antidrug law enforcement since the country transports drugs into African continent. Brazil has the largest crime rate that is not related to terrorism but drugs among the South American countries. In efforts to fight the crime, the Brazilian government issued a ruling in 2011 to increase the number of soldiers in the borders of Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. Brazil has gone further to signing an agreement with Paraguay to increase information sharing on drug trafficking and with other ten neighboring countries as well. All these efforts have not been very fruitful because the drug cartels are increasingly watching their backs but with time when all the countries abide by the information sharing deal, the drug trade will cease.
The antidrug campaigns have not been successful despite the government’s efforts to combat the crime. Formation of cartels makes it hard for the outsiders to access any information on the drug trafficking issues. Furthermore, efforts by the media to investigate the crime are not fruitful giving the drug barons more freedom to carry out their illegal activities. Corruption is another factor that has hampered efforts by the governments in Brazil and Mexico in their fight against drugs. The policemen who are responsible for checking that the crime stops take bribes and allow the illegal to take place. In some cases, the drug traffickers are given security by the same police who should be prosecuting them over the illegal activities. In an incident in Mexico when the antidrug agents were supposed to destroy marijuana crops and opium plants, some of the police sprayed the crops with water in pretence that it was a chemical.
Since high levels of poverty have proven to be the major reasons behind drug trafficking especially by the young population, legislation should be put in place to offer employment opportunities in the countries. With an income-generating project, it is not likely that the cartels will be able to recruit more civilians in an illegal business and with time the drug peddling would be wiped out. The education system needs to be improved with more emphasis on self-employment skills. This calls for more infrastructural investment in technical institutes to equip the students with the necessary skills. The young generation is a major target for the drug traffickers but if they get education on the harmful effects of drugs, a large number will be saved from the crimes.
Different strategies are suitable for different locations due o their strategic positions and convenience. For example in Mexico, the drug trade started decades ago thus the routes are well pronounced, and the drug dealers who have been ion the trade for long are able to carry out their work uninterrupted. The most suitable strategy in Mexico would be to enforce more stringent laws on the borders. After the United States became stricter in the borders the surplus drugs in Mexico are still getting their way to the U.S, and they even fetch higher income due to the inclusion of transport risks. The measures put by the U.S. government have proved not strong enough to eradicate the drug trafficking.
Columba in Mexico is known to be main border where cocaine and weapons are passed. Other cases of mischief like prostitution, car theft and use of hard drugs are common in the town. It is estimated that about 25% of the cocaine that arrives in Brazil gets in through the Columba and the Bolivian borders. The main reason they are able to escape with the crime is maybe their location in a wild region covered in wetlands. Apart from Peru and Colombia, Bolivia is the next largest producer of cocaine in the world. All the three countries neighbor Brazil, which explains why there is a high level of cocaine consumption in Brazil. The most consumed type of cocaine is the Crack, which is estimated to have about 1.2 million addicts. Crack is preferred because it is cheap, but it is very harmful to one’s health. The daily consumption of crack is estimated to be 1.2 metric tons.
Border security has been made one of the government’s top priorities in Brazil. In 2011, a 5 billion dollar project was launched by the government to increase the number of military officers along the Brazil boarders. Rio de Janeiro is another area where the criminal gangs claims to have had an easy way because of government’s negligence, acting as parallel powers with the government. Increased government involvement in the drug trafficking control made the criminal gangs even more aggressive. The corrupt police in Rio de Janeiro make it hard for the government to fight the drug trafficking since the gang bribes to continue with their illegal activities.
The drug cartels in Mexico make it hard for the government to fight the drug trafficking. The Mexican government principal goal since 2006 has been to fight the high crime rates associated with drug use. The government’s major goal is to dismantle the drug cartels as opposed to prevention of drug trafficking. The drug cartels are very powerful, dominating the wholesale trade of illegal drugs. In the year 2007, the Mexican cartels controlled about 90% of the cocaine sold in the United States. The revenue that the cartels make from the sale of the drugs is estimated to be 49.4 billion dollars. The death statistics in Mexico as a result of consumption of the hard drugs was estimated to be more than 120,000 by the end of last year. Efforts to fight the drug menace have been put in place by the government. In 2000, the president sent soldiers to fight cartels in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Laredo. This worsened the situation since the war broke between the Sinaloa and the Gulf cartels in Nuevo Laredo killing about 110 people in seven months. Mexico is known to be a major producer of drugs in the world, supplying most of the cannabis in America. It is also the main entry point of cocaine to South America. The Asians also use Mexico to transport methamphetamines to the United States.
Although Mexico is not the major producer of heroine, it is responsible for the supply of the largest share of heroine consumed in the United States. The Mexican drug cartels account for approximately 70% of foreign drugs that find their way into the United States. United States of America is known to be the largest consumer of cocaine. The export rate of the cocaine has reduced due to the strict measures in the borders where the drugs enter through. Consequently, this has increased the amount of cocaine in surplus by the Mexican drug dealers. The poverty level in Mexico drives young people to indulge in illegal activities. Between 2006 and 2010, it was estimated that the number of Mexicans living in acute poverty was 52 million. The drug cartels in Mexico have been successful over the years due to use of threats on their rivals such as journalists, and bloggers who might expose their activities.
The first cartel in Mexico was Guadalajara cartel founded in 1980 by Miguel Gallardo. The cartel controlled all the illegal drug trade in the Mexico- US border. Los Zeta is another drug cartel which is very instrumental in the drug trafficking in Mexico. With more than 300 members, the cartel is involved in trafficking arms, human beings, and drugs. The Los Zeta was initially recruited by the Gulf cartel but later the two cartels became rivals when Los Zeta made a deal with ex-Sinaloa cartel. This led to a war in 2010 over Northeast Mexico drug trade route’s control leading to death of thousands of members. The Los Zeta cartel members target the civilians where they have been linked with massacre of 72 immigrants in San Fernando. Their network is said to be not only in Mexico but also Europe and Central America.
The drug ban campaign in Mexico began decades ago, with efforts to eradicate trafficking of opium and marijuana launched in 1948 (Garcia et al. 120) the antidrug agents I the united state were not very active in the fight against drugs in Mexico until in the 1970s when the two nations teamed up to fight against drugs. The narcotics agents in United States began to support and help implement the antidrug programs by the Mexican government. The programs included eradication of opium poppy plants and marijuana, interdiction of drugs in transit, and disorganization of drug trafficking cartels.
The traditional drug trafficking zones in Mexico such as Sinaloa and Durango are still the major producers of the drugs and efforts to by the government to eradicate the drug trade has not been successful. The United States stationed its antidrug agents I the Mexican territories, but the government responded by prohibiting some specific activities by the foreign police agents. Mexico and United States negotiated on the limits of the antidrug agents’ capacities and adopted more strict antidrug laws. The drug trafficking routes developed in Mexico dates back to the early twentieth century, a fact that makes it hard for the antidrug laws to be enforced easily.
In conclusion, both Mexico and Brazil governments have been trying to fight drug trafficking over the past decades. The strategies used in the fight cannot be uniform in all locations due to their unique characteristics. The Mexican government efforts to weaken the drug cartels will be effective with time and also the Brazil’s information sharing deal with its neighboring countries.
Campbell Howard. Drug war zone: Frontline dispatches from the streets of El Paso and Juarez. University of Texas Press, 2010.
Campbell Howard. "Female drug smugglers on the US-Mexico border: Gender, crime, and empowerment." Anthropological Quarterly 81.1 (2008): 233-267.
García, Victor, and Laura González. "Labor migration, drug trafficking organizations, and drug use: major challenges for transnational communities in Mexico." Urban anthropology and studies of cultural systems and world economic development 38.2-4 (2009): 303.
Hudson Barbara. "Drugs and democracy in Rio de Janeiro." British Journal of Criminology 48.1 (2008): 108-110.
Recio Gabriela. "Drugs and alcohol: US prohibition and the origins of the drug trade in Mexico, 1910–1930." Journal of Latin American Studies 34.01 (2002): 21-42.
Toro María Celia. "The internationalization of police: The DEA in Mexico."Journal of American History (1999): 623-640.