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Undermining Mexico's Dangerous Drug Cartels

NCJ Number
Ted Galen Carpenter
Date Published
November 2011
20 pages
This paper proposes a new strategy for reducing the power and effectiveness of Mexico's drug cartels.
The author proposes that the only strategy that would effectively reduce the funding and thereby the power the of the Mexican drug cartels is for the United States Government to cease its continued prohibition of illegal drugs. Since the United States is the principal consumer market for Mexico's supply of illegal drugs, eliminating the prohibition against the consumption of these drugs would considerably decrease the financial resources of the drug cartels. This in turn would reduce the cartels' ability to hire people to kill competitors, and to bribe and intimidate Mexican officials, law enforcement personnel, and Mexican citizens. The author examines the problem of Mexico's drug cartels and discusses the probability of Mexico becoming a failed state as result of the current surge in violence resulting from the cartels. The author also examines two alternative strategies to reducing the power and influence of Mexico's drug cartels: implementing the strategy used by Columbian officials to stop the drug violence in that country, or reinstating a policy of appeasement whereby the Mexican Government looks the other way on the issue of illegal drugs being trafficked into the United States. The author notes that neither of these strategies would provide a lasting solution to the problem of violence related to Mexico's drug cartels. 61 notes


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