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The Forever Drug War: Inside the Mexican Drug Wars Quickly Consuming a Nation



The Forever Drug War: Inside the Mexican Drug Wars Quickly Consuming a Nation
By Tomas Kellner and Francesco Pipitone | World Policy Journal via TomDispatch.com

On March 25th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment report, a massive account of drug trafficking within the borders of the United States. Its findings span the underworld of the domestic drug trade.  Read it and you can find out about the 1.63 million kilograms of drugs seized in transit in 2009, the average price per gram of cocaine as of last September ($174.03, up 75% from January 2007), and the top in-country origination points and destinations for drug shipments intercepted by law enforcement officials (McAllen, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively).
Arguably, the most startling finding in this year's drug threat assessment involves Mexican drug trafficking organizations, or DTOs. The flow of Mexican drug trafficking into the U.S. is an unstoppable force, it seems: the DOJ’s 2008 report found that Mexican DTOs had established networks in at least 230 American cities.  The 2010 report has no comparable numbers, but a Justice Department official, when asked why, indicated that the department was "reanalyzing" its numbers and predicted that the total, when known, would prove to be higher. Mexican DTOs, the 2010 assessment concludes, "are more deeply entrenched in drug trafficking activities in the United States than any other DTOs."  They are the only ones to be found in each of the nine regions of the country defined by the department as part of its efforts to bust traffickers.  In fact, the Mexican cartels now reportedly control most wholesale cocaine, heroin, and meth distribution in the U.S.

As Tomas Kellner and Francesco Pipitone of Kroll Associates write in a remarkably detailed and vivid account of the ever-expanding Mexican drug cartels, life in Mexico has taken on a distinctly murderous hue, as new waves of violence and crime spread to regions previously considered immune. Today's is the second major TomDispatch report on the U.S. drug wars of the moment -- the other being Alfred McCoy's investigation of Afghanistan's narco-state and of the 30-year drug war we've been waging there.  Kellner and Pipitone's report was written for the latest issue of a quarterly magazine we greatly admire, World Policy Journal, and is being posted here thanks to the kindness of that magazine’s editors. TomDispatch, which posted Martin Chulov’s piece on the great Iraqi drought from the last issue of WPJ, plans to continue to post a provocative piece from each new issue.  Read more.

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