Mexican Cartels expand into new markets

Alliances with groups from Central and South America, as well as with the Italian Mafia have been detected

Photo: Edgard Garrido/REUTERS
English 01/07/2017 16:15 Dennis A. García Actualizada 04:25
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With the drug war, Mexican cartels began to explore new markets for drug trafficking in order to expand throughout the world. One of their main selling places, in addition to the United States, is Europe and to reach that continent, Mexican drug dealers use Africa as their center of intermediate operation.

The Sinaloa Cartel remains as the organization that controls the largest drug traffic to Africa, followed by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and Los Zetas.

According to sources of the Mexican Ministry of Navy (Semar), there are no records of a Mexico-Africa direct route or logistics being used. On the contrary, Central and South America are the links through which Mexican cartels transport cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Mexican cartels have associated with Colombian drug dealers, Central American gangs, and the Italian mafia; the latter is their contact in Africa to introduce the drugs into Europe.

"A few years ago was known the use of Guinea-Bissau. The Sinaloa Cartel had that route,” said Samuel González Ruiz, former director of the Specialized Unit on Organized Crime of the Attorney General's Office (PGR), after assuring that Guinea-Bissau was heavily affected by corruption and organized crime.

It was detected that cocaine left from South America by plane and "from there they changed aircraft to take it to Europe."

In the case of the sea, Gonzalez points out that this route has always existed. The Sinaloa Cartel has a presence in Africa, especially in Sudan, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, which facilitates the entry of the drug into Europe by Portugal and Spain.

Martín Barrón Cruz, a researcher at the National Institute of Criminal Sciences (Inacipe), asserts that the Jalisco New Generation Cartel had an alliance with El Chapo Guzmán to operate in Africa, but with the extradition of Guzmán Loera to the United States, it is not clear if they continue operating together.

"There are three fundamentally involved countries: Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. The problem is that it is unknown what happens in Africa, for it has its own logic and structure," he said.

The connection between drug cartels and Africans was corroborated in March 2016, when the Nigerian National Anti-Drug Agency announced the arrest of eight people, four of them Mexican.

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