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Drug Trafficking — México


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With the demise of the major Colombian drug cartels in the 1990s, the Méxican cartels have stepped in to fill the vacuum and now dominate the market controlling 70% of the flow of illegal narcotics to the US. The cartels function both as transit operators for cocaine produced in Colombian and as local producers of marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin, all destined for primarily US markets.

The US State Department estimates that 90% of the Colombian cocaine entering the US passes through México. México is also the main foreign supplier of marijuana and a major supplier of methamphetamine to the US. Although responsible for only a small percentage of the heroin produced world-wide, México supplies the US with a large share of the heroin its consumes. Estimates of the cartels' earnings from drug trafficking range widely from a low 13 billion to a high of 48 billion US dollars annually.

In December 2006 incoming Méxican president Felipe Calderon stepped up the pressure on the cartels by bringing in the army. The cartels responded with a massive counterattack against government forces killing hundreds of police and army personnel. The government's war with the cartels has disrupted the power relationships between the cartels pitting them against each other. The death toll among all parties as of 2009 has reached 12,000 and continues to climb.

Unless foreigners are somehow associated with the drug trafficking they are never the targets of drug violence.

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