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Drug Cartels of Today: Mara Salvatrucha (Ms-13)/Los Zetas/Sinaloa, Term Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1516

Term Paper

Outline

Introduction

Methods of Operations: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)/Los Zetas/Sinaloa

Drugs Used in the trade

Law enforcement efforts to address the social issue

Conclusion

Abstract

Drug cartels have emerged overtime as very significant aspects of social life and structure in many communities. Their impacts have escalated from mere use of the targeted drug towards immense expansions into what is being acknowledged as organized crime; denoting an institution of drug trafficking and use in itself. Importantly, it has embraced an essential occupational culture for both employee as well as employers who find the business a very lucrative enterprise for accumulating wealth. While sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, law enforcement authorities, economists and even politicians/ political scientists seem to be only theorizing concerns regarding their existence, persistent and mutations; an impending fear related to severe repercussions of these activities within social structure has gripped society. Law enforcement authorities are puzzled at how cartels continue to operate with such intensity eluding the very nature of law itself. With these devastating factors criminologist are eagerly researching methods of operations, drugs involved in the trade and how they can effectively come to a compromise with these ‘Drug Lords,” in reducing the crimes evolving from their vocation.

Introduction

Drug cartels of today can be described as criminal international organizations designed to promote and control drug trade, globally. Perhaps, they can be considered vital contributions of globalization and social change within the twenty-first century. Countries involved in drug cartel institutionalized operations include United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Venezuela and South Asia.(Salinger,2005)

It must be noted that these countries mentioned are not the only ones through which communications are filtered, but drug cartel activities are widespread throughout every country in the world whether that particular nation admits it or not. However, the most notorious ones can be known by the names of the countries from which they originate and the effects of the trade, internationally.

These include the Columbian Cartels; Mexican Cartels; United States of America cartels; Italian Cartels; Russian Cartels and Afghanistan cartels. These leaders in the trade incorporate other nation states as transmission ports within the business circle (Glenny, 2009).  An important characteristic of cartels is that there are international trade agreements as any other economic institution found in politics or government structures. Hence, the seriousness motivating execution of their duties must be understood.

It is hoped that the following pages of this document offer some pertinent information regarding contemporary methods in operation of the MS-13/ Los Zetas/Sinaloa cartels, drugs they trade, which offer the most revenue and progress law enforcement has been making around the world in understanding the business and crimes emerging from their activities. It is the desire that eventually, sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, law enforcement authorities, economists and even politicians/ political scientists, would gain insights contained in their management to alleviate the crimes committed enabling a progressive movement.

Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)/ Los Zetas/Sinaloa: Methods of Operations

Cartels have sociological significance of a gang culture. Gangs are known to be organized solely for criminal activities. From a sociological analysis while cartels may arrive at the point of executing crimes, they might have emerged in response to lucrative trading enterprises, which are illegitimate, but not necessarily criminal in nature.

However, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) has been described by social scientists and law enforcement authorities alike to be a ‘transitional criminal gang” (Logan, 2009), which begun in Los Angeles California and has since extended its arms to Canada, Mexico and Central America. It is the most notorious of all Mexican/American related cartels and operates within a distinct gang orientation method. Also, it is aligned to cartels situated in Sinaloa, which are in a perpetual drug war with Los Zetas’ cartels located south of the US/Mexican border (Diaz, 2009).

Characteristically, MS-13 drug cartel conducts an illegal immigration trade in human smuggling mainly, between the United States and Mexican borders as well drug dissemination within these boundaries. Members functioning as gang members in the cartel structure are often identified by tattoos on various parts of the body, especially, face, arms and back.

Criminologists ascribe this behavior to a ‘sub culture moral code’ (Logan, 2009), indicative of an agreement extending beyond the parameters of trade itself, but overlapping a moral obligation to be faithful to the cause executed by the group. This is to identify them in case they try to change identify and share secrets with other cartels. When members of this cartel gang deflect, they are punished severely. The gang nucleus which sustains the cartel is some 30-50,000 internationally.8-10,000 reside in the United States of America (Logan, 2009).

The cartel structure consists of falcons responsible for offering street updates regarding rivals, suspects and law enforcement activities. They are the lowest rank. Next are the hitmen from where gang culture emanates. Their role is to execute judgment upon institutions which try to invade the practice. Thirdly, but second highest ranking  in the hierarchy are Lieutenants. They supervise the falcons and hitmen who function within various locations to ensure that duties are carried out efficiently. Ranking at the top are drug lords who actually administer or own the cartel (Glenny, 2009).  Outside of this structure cartels join forces with drug producers and suppliers; financers and money launderers as well as ammunition suppliers for successful business operations.

Drugs Used in the Trade

Drugs mostly traded by Mexican/American cartels are cocaine and marijuana. To date reports are that cocaine is produced at a rate of $1,500 per kilo on jungle sites in Columbia. It is retailed in America at $50,000 per Kilo. As recently as late 2008, cartels operating among Columbia, Mexico and American traded some 1.2 million pounds of cocaine valued at 10 million US dollars semi-annually (Peceny & Durnan, 2006). Since then the production has increased tremendously.

Reports are that marijuana drug trafficking between California and drug cartels have been escalating. ‘Large-scale commercial operations to engage in drug trafficking across state lines, with thousands of pounds of marijuana worth tens of millions of dollars flowing across the country from California.”(Prosecutors target California, 2011).

Further, FBI reports have been that marijuana exportation has become more sophisticated within the last decade, especially, with laws in California legalizing its use among patients.  The commodity is packaged as tea leaves for exportation from one destination to next. Inscribed codes assist recipients in identifying the items.

Law Enforcement Efforts to Address This Social Issue

Efforts to address operations of drug cartels and impacts on society’s safety have been a struggle for criminologist and law enforcement authorities; decades on end. The greatest challenges appear to be confrontation with ‘drug lords’ who have had extensive military training themselves as in the Sinaloa, and Los Zetas cartels to which MS-13 is aligned (Logan, 2009).

There seems to be persistent wars with no apparent gains for law enforcement. In the process many officers loose their lives and even though some cartel leaders are killed it serves in many instances to merely reorganize and strengthen operations. The huge question is whether twenty-first century law enforcement strategies are capable in anyway of dismantling these tremendous forces?

For example the extradition treaty signed between Columbia and United States of America has forged cartels to adopt a ‘bend or break’ response to the legislations and those supporting it. In essence many lost their lives, but cartels are strengthened and live on.  Also, research has shown where Los Zetas and Sinaloa cartels are always training recruits in the caliber of corrupt ex-federal, police officers and state officials in their combat with local law enforcement (De Amicis, 2010).

Conclusion

This mini research sought to offer an exposition regarding methods of operations, drugs involved in the trade and how law enforcement can effectively counteract cartel business strategies. The work of MS-13 operating within the cartel culture was reviewed in terms of a nucleated conduct and structure of modern cartel organizations around the world.

Cocaine and marijuana are the two most popular drugs traded between and among countries. They are cultivated as laboratory specimens and on extensive agricultural plots around the world. Recent reports are that with the legalization of marijuana use among patients it has opened the way for cartels to trade with residents of the California community.

As such, the struggle among law enforcement authorities continue as the nightmare of drug war escalates within the camps of cartels, their hitmen and the public at large. Any suspect is taken out by the bullet and even those who try to betray the organizational policies. It is a tough game for everyone!

References

De Amicis, Albert (2010). Los Zetas and Familia Michoacana Drug Trafficking Organization. University of Pittsburgh; Graduate School for public and International affairs

Diaz, T. (2009). No Boundaries: Transnational Latino Gangs and American Law Enforcement: Ann Arbor. Michigan. University of Michigan Press.

Glenny, Misha (2009) McMafia, New York. Vintage Books

Logan, S. (2009) This Is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America’s Most Violent Gang: New York: Hyper

Peceny, M., Durnan, M. (2006). “The FARC’s best friend: U.S. antidrug policies and the deepening of Colombia’s civil war in the 1990s,” Latin American Politics and Society. 48 (2), 95-116

Prosecutors target California’s marijuana trade. (2011). Prosecutors target California’s marijuana trade. Retrieved (2011, October 11) from  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/08/us-california-marijuana-idUSTRE79700C20111008

Salinger, Lawrence (2005) Encyclopedia of white-collar & corporate crime: A – I, Volume 1 New York. SAGE

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