” Marijuana has accounted for nearly half of all total drug arrests in the US for the past 20 years, according to the FBI’s crime statistics. And according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), a large portion of the US illegal drug market is controlled directly by Mexican cartels. The DOJ’s National Drug Intelligence Center, which has since been shut down, found in 2011 that the top cartels controlled the majority of drug trade in marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine in over 1,000 US cities.
Now, those cartels and their farmers complain that marijuana legalization is hurting their business. And some reports could suggest that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is more interested in helping to protect the Mexican cartels’ hold on the pot trade than in letting it dissipate.
Seven Mexican cartels have long battled for dominance of the US illegal drug market: Sinaloa, Los Zetas, Gulf, Juarez, Knights Templar, La Familia, and Tijuana. While some smaller cartels operate only along border regions in the Southwest and Southeast, giant cartels like Sinaloa have a presence on the streets of every single region.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that pot farmers in the Sinaloa region have stopped planting due to a massive drop in wholesale prices, from $100 per kilo down to only $25. One farmer is quoted as saying: “It’s not worth it anymore. I wish the Americans would stop with this legalization.”
VICE News talked to retired federal agent Terry Nelson, a former field level commander who worked to prevent drugs from crossing the southern border. Nelson said that before medical marijuana and state legalization in Washington and Colorado, about 10 million pounds of pot were grown in the US every year. But 40 million pounds came from Mexico.”
” Given the DEA’s historic relationship with the Sinaloa cartel, and the agency’s fury over legalized marijuana, it almost seems like the DEA wants to crush the legal weed market in order to protect the interests of their cartel friends. Almost.
“ The DEA doesn’t want the drug war to end,” said Nelson, when asked about a possible connection between the agency’s hatred of legal pot and its buddies in Sinaloa. “If it ends, they don’t get their toys and their budgets. Once it ends, they aren’t going to have the kind of influence in foreign government. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but where there’s smoke there’s probably fire.”
The Sinaloa cartel came to prominence in January when the “Fast and Furious” scandal surfaced, in which it was revealed that DEA agents ignored Sinaloa drug shipments and essentially granted immunity to cartel criminals in exchange for information.
The decade long relationship between Sinaloa and the DEA was detailed in the court testimony of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, also known as “El Mayito.” El Mayito, son of Sinaloa leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, told a Chicago court that DEA agents offered him deals in exchange for ratting on rival cartels and Colombian drug lords.”
Read the whole thing at Vice