Read Saving Mexico: To weaken the cartels, some argue the U.S. should legalize marijuana, let cocaine pass through the Caribbean and take the profit motive out of the drug trade. It was by DAVID LUHNOW and appeared in the 12-26/27-09 WSJ, page W3.
"In the 40 years since U.S. President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs," the supply and use of drugs has not changed in any fundamental way. The only difference: a taxpayer bill of more than $1 trillion."
"...the horrific drug-related violence in Mexico that has claimed around 15,000 lives in the past three years."
"In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the U.S. government cracked down on the transport of cocaine from Colombia to U.S. shores through the Caribbean, the lowest-cost supply route. But that simply diverted the flow to the next lowest-cost route: through Mexico. In 1991, 50% of the U.S.-bound cocaine came through Mexico. By 2004, 90% did."
"...Colombia waged a successful war to break up the country's Cali and Medellin cartels into dozens of smaller suppliers. Both moves helped the Mexican gangs,..."
"...Mexican drug gangs are a one-stop shop for four big-time illicit drugs: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin."
"...illegal drugs are the most successful Mexican multinational enterprise, employing some 450,000 Mexicans and generating about $20 billion in sales, second only behind the country's oil industry and automotive industry exports."
"One drug lord's accountant who was arrested in 2006 had a mid-level job at Mexico's central bank for 15 years."
"Mexican customs has stumbled upon a long list of ingenious methods to transport cocaine, including one shipment of liquefied cocaine smuggled in red wine bottles. Another recent bust yielded 800 kilos of cocaine—worth an estimated $40 million—stuffed inside a batch of frozen sharks.
After Mexico restricted the importation of pseudoephedrine to slow the manufacture of methamphetamines, drug gangs found another way to make the drug using different, unrestricted chemicals widely used in the perfume industry."