Volunteers of Freelance Bureau of International Investigation (fbii.org) traced the entire drug traffic route – starting with mountain plantations in Latin America to Wall Street. It is believed that drug dealers are also being used by authorities that benifit from drug trafficking.
Anthemed in classical westerns El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juares, Mexico, they still stand on different banks of Rio Grande and they still symbolize a border between lawlessness and civilization like in Wild West times. Meanwhile, no bandit gangs gallop across the famous bridge, but thousands of trucks with wares drive it across and for dozen of years the most important goods among them was cocaine.
Unprecedented drug flow from all Latin America accumulates here: marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, LSD and, of course, cocaine. It’s no surprise that Ciudad Juares became the main transportation gateway between Mexico and the United States, but also the most criminogenic city in the world – more than ten people die here on daily basis. Traces of night shoot-outs could be seen on city’s streets nearly every morning: chopped heads, burned bodies – that’s how the ending point of drug trafficking from Mexico looks like, before the goods are delivered to the United States. But after Rio Grande all the drug wars mysteriously disappear. Mainly not because of Narcotics Department actions, but thanks to American corporate state establishment – assumptive with assistance of the Narcotics Department, that’s a part of the US Department of Justice, drugs have become a huge part of business and strongly integrated in country’s financial system.
Hiding this fact became senseless after a statement by Antonio Maria, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), that drug dealers money saved US economy from a collapse during an economic crisis of 2008. Fatal financial deficit was overcome by timely “injection” of 350 billion narco-dollars. “System was practically paralyzed from banks’ reluctance to credit inter-bank market, – says Costa. – And then crediting began on money received from drug trafficking and other illegal activity. It saved a lot of banks.”
The most juicy scandal began in summer of 1999, when a visit of Richard Grasso, Chairman and Chief Executive of the New York Stock Exchange, to a meeting with leaders of Colombian drug traffickers FARC became known to public. Meanwhile, the businessman didn’t hide the fact he was persuading Latin Americans to legalize their millions by investing in stocks on Wall Street.
According to International Monetary Fund and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, thousands of banks make 1,5 trillion dollars on drug trafficking annually. When you take into consideration the fact that 80% of this money stays in the US, it turns out that an annual infusion of dirty money into the American economy is about $ 1.2 trillion. In fact, the US economy is addicted to drug trafficking and, like any addict, demands more dose.
Ton of cocaine per day
The path of drugs begins in South America, mostly in Colombia and Peru, the two leading countries – producers of the drug. Pablo, 35, is responsible for logistics at one of the oldest Colombian cartels. He has three arrests and four killings on him (by the police version). It is not surprising that the “narco-CEO” moves around with two bodyguards and a 357 Magnum on his waist.
“Money rules over everything in our world. If someone gives something to you for nothing, it may only be nuns, who work for charity. But even they will ask you to go to the mass. You must pay for everything. And drugs are also a commodity, which I must sell. Of course, there is a small problem because drugs are illegal. But what would you say if oil was illegal goods? Judge for yourself : one ton of drugs is brought to the US each day. Just imagine: one ton each day! Almost 95% of the Colombian drug cartels’ production goes there. This suits the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), and the US police and the police of Colombia. If it was not for us, many would stay without work. And most importantly, a lot of money goes into the pockets of officials as the goods that are seized during arrests are almost never destroyed. On the contrary, they are sold via our channels, too. I remember one caricature: a truck with two tons of cocaine is arrested. A commander orders a sergeant to communicate to the base that there were 1500 kilograms of cocaine in the truck; the sergeant gives an order to radio about the detention of 1000 kilos of the drug; and the radio operator informs the base that there were only 500 kilograms of cocaine in the truck. This is the scheme that exists as regards fight against drug trafficking.”
“The police and DEA say that they constantly fumigate in the mountains of Colombia, however, more coca and marijuana plantations appear every day. Drugs are a huge business for many. But the main money is not here, they’re in US banks. All are hypocrites in the USA. They say that the Hispanics are hindering them, that it’s a tumor on their society, but they cannot do without us. Who cleans up for them, who prepares their food, who does all the dirty work? Illegal immigrants, whom they pursue. And the same happens with the drugs. They ask us: give us more. So, we are just doing what they ask. And the government hampers in doing it. But what is the purpose? Just for the prices to grow. And then everyone is satisfied – the DEA, the US police, and the police in our countries”.
The DEA, often mentioned by the drug dealer, is the main weapon of the United States in combating drug trafficking. The federal service is generously funded (its official budget is more than three billion dollars), has numerous staff (about seven thousand special agents), possesses modern means of electronic surveillance, hundreds of aircraft and high-speed ships, powerful propaganda resources and has cooperation agreements with similar services in 65 countries. On the surface, everything looks great. However, if you look closely at the activities of the DEA, some unpleasant details come to light.
Drug Enforcement Administration
The DEA “rose” at the end of the 90-ies, when the United States declared a “crusade” against the cartels and began to implement the so-called “Colombia” plan. But it was somehow supposed to win over the drug business not by its destruction, but by establishing control over it. The Colombia plan provided for capturing commanding heights of the criminal organizations associated with drug trafficking by DEA protégés, and further “operational expansion” into these structures. In addition, there were other tasks: defeat of leftist-Marxist guerrilla groups in Colombia; extrusion of a part of the Colombian narco-business to Venezuela, and later to Ecuador (in order to compromise the governments of Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa); justification of deployment of new US military bases in the region.
“The situation has only worsened,” says Julio Gutiérrez, leader of the peasant union of producers of drugs in the Colombian province of Putumayo. “We were actually forced to grow coca. Previously, we were dealing with crops traditional for this area – bananas, yucca, potatoes, and rice. But when it turned out that growing coca is cheaper here than in Bolivia, we had no other choice left. For us it is a question of survival; we only get crumbs from the billions that are connected with drugs and which remain largely in the pockets of the mafia, and, first of all, the mafia in the USA. We have almost become slaves. The constant presence of the army, mafia and partisans in the region make our life miserable. We are sure that all the policies of our government are dictated by the Americans. In fact, they are not interested in prosecuting real drug dealers. You know that consumption of drugs in the US and Europe never drops, on the contrary, it is growing every year. And every year we are forced to increase sowings, which feed everybody here – the mafia, the police and the officials.”
Despite at least $6 billion pumped by US Congress into Plan Colombia since 1999, the result leaves much to be desired. In 2008, Colombian drug lords expanded coca plantations by 26 percent and boosted cocaine production by 16 percent. The DEA hoped to halve the annual cocaine production in Colombia to 300 tons, but instead it increased to 600 tons.
Venezuela’s late Hugo Chavez was the first Latin American leader to halt the DEA’s activity in his country. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales followed suit. In 2009, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa shut the US military base at Manta, which was positioned by the DEA as a regional drug-trafficking control center.
Surprisingly, the drug situation has improved after the DEA mission’s closure, as follows from a report by Colonel Gonzalo Quesada, commander of the FELCN special anti-drug force, to Bolivia’s president. In 2012, about 13,000 anti-drug raids were carried out and $32 million worth of drugs as well as large amounts of vehicles and weapons used by drug dealers were seized, the report said. More than 11,000 hectares of illegal coca plantations were destroyed. Thirty-six tons of illegally-produced cocaine and 407 tons of marijuana were confiscated. Significantly, there was no loss of life among the policemen during those raids.
Some of the facts concerning the DEA’s activities have recently come to the surface. Thus, it turned out that nearly all major “drug factories” in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz province worked under its auspices. In 1995, anti-drug agents organized the transfer of 4 tons of cocaine to the United States as part of a “special operation.”Later, the so-called “controlled” drug shipments became common practice for the alleged purpose of tracking down the channels used by the drug mafia. Those efforts led to the appearance of robust and flourishing mafia groups that formed symbiotic drug unions with local administrations.
Despite its economic and military might, the United States has surprisingly failed, if it really wanted, to reduce illegal drug production to a critical level. A higher drug turnover means more drug money flowing into the US economy. Some sources claim that nearly half of all investment companies in the US are owned by the drug mafia and that the investment boom of the 2000 was provoked by the mass laundering of drug money through stock exchanges. The DEA-controlled drug industry has become one America’s top investors.
So,15 years after Plan Colombia was launched, hundreds of billions of drug dollars began pouring into the US stock market so much lauded in Wall Street. It doesn’t take an academic degree in economics to understand that once the wide-flowing streams of drug money are cut off, Dow Jones and Nasdaq will cease their record-breaking spree and slide into stagnation, making things much more complicated for the US economy as it scrambles to recover from recession. That explains why some US politicians oppose tighter drug enforcement.