Mexican smugglers are not at all worried that a new border wall will stop their activities. In fact, they welcome it, because the increased security means that criminal networks will be able to charge even more money.
“This is never going to stop — neither the narco trafficking nor the illegals,” according to veteran smuggler named Flaco who was featured in a New York Times article on Friday. “There will be more tunnels. More holes. If it doesn’t go over, it will go under.”
Flaco explained that when he first began smuggling at age 15 in 1984, he received a 50 cent tip for showing people a hole torn in a wire fence on the edge of Nogales. Now that smuggling is under the control of drug cartels, those who want to sneak into the U.S. must pay as much as $5,000.
“As the prices went up, the mafia, which is the Sinaloa cartel, took over everything here, drugs and people smuggling,” said Flaco, noting that the drug cartel known as Sinaloa dominates Nogales and other parts of northwest Mexico. Rivals, including the Juarez, Gulf and Zetas cartels, are in control of other sections of the border. Even though he completed a five-year prison sentence in the U.S. for drug trafficking in 2009, Flaco continues to smuggle people and drugs across the border.
It’s been approximately 40 years since Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” and the U.S. has since spent trillions of dollars on agents, soldiers and barriers, but it’s only gotten easier for Americans to buy drugs. The lesson here is that strengthening defenses will not put a stop to smuggling. Instead, criminal networks will only reap more profits from smuggling as a result of the increased level of difficulty.
Last week, Dennis Michael Lynch did a 3-part series about drug smuggling and money laundering. You can watch part 3 by clicking here.
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