Skip to comments.Cocaine King - Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, is one of 38 new billionaires.
Posted on 03/13/2009 11:48:44 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
For eight years Joaquín Guzmán Loera reportedly managed his international drug smuggling operation from behind bars while enjoying a lavish prison life with access to booze, women and a home entertainment system. Then in January 2001, facing extradition to the U.S., Guzmán slipped into a laundry cart and escaped.
Since then "El Chapo," or Shorty, as he is called, has tightened his grip on Mexico's drug trade as head of the Sinaloa cartel, one of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to the U.S. It is a lucrative business to be in these days. Thirty-five million people in the U.S. use narcotics or abuse prescription drugs, spending more than $64 billion annually. The Drug Enforcement Agency and other industry experts believe Guzmán, 54, has controlled anywhere from a third to half of the wholesale Mexican drug market over the past eight years. In 2008 Mexican and Colombian traffickers laundered between $18 billion and $39 billion in proceeds from wholesale shipments to the U.S., according to the U.S. government. Guzmán and his operation likely grossed 20% of that--enough for him to have pocketed $1 billion over his career and earn a spot on the billionaires list for the first time.
While others with ten-figure fortunes have criminal records, Guzmán is probably the only one for whom the U.S. government is offering a $5 million reward for his capture. "He clearly is a sociopath and willing to engage in high levels of violence, but he is skillful in managing these turbulent waters," says Bruce Bagley, chairman of international studies at the University of Miami. While traditional drug cartels are built around a family hierarchy, Guzmán's operates more as a confederation of different groups. He hires gangs that have peeled off from competitors, offering attractive profit sharing. "The Sinaloa cartel is
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Brett Bair on Fox News said this guy was only 5 foot tall. You gotta respect someone at that height in that business being so successful.
He should ask Obama for a pardon. And a cabinet slot.
well he certainly doesn’t spend the money on his clothes
170 cm = 5.577 feet
NYers claim he is no different than Madoff or any of their Wall Street businessmen.
Some contributions to the DNC would start the ball rolling...
Sums up Mexico perfectly.
Problem is, as long as there is demand for their product (and based on the US$ 64 billion per annum from the US alone, there IS demand) it really will not matter if tomorrow they managed to gun down this fella! It will not even skip a single beat! The distribution networks are in place, the managers are in place, the coyotes are in place, the people who pay off the Feds in Mexico AND the US are in place, the corrupt Feds in both countries are in place ....the only difference is that a person who may very well be a figurehead will be dead! As long as the demand exists, that vacuum will be filled, and may be filled by someone who is even more vicious (e.g. the Zetas, who have really been taking violence to the next level).
I recall an advert after 9/11 that had a message stating that taking heroin puts money in the hands of Al Queda. I thought the ad was a little silly (similar to the one that compares making a copy of a DVD or music CD with stealing ....silly in that I don't think a drug user or a CD copier will really care much for the ad), but as ineffective as it might have been it was at least trying to address the deman equation. Because, even if the entire Mexican, Central and South American drug operations were to be magically shut down today (say by Pixies, Goblins and UFOs attacking at the crack of dawn), all it would mean is that another locus would open up. For the chance to get some of that US$ 64b I might be tempted to turn some of the land I own in Africa to growing the poison (not that I would, but I know the thought would cross my mind. Now imagine the average person out there).
As long as demand exists, and the 'authorities' are mostly trying to throw the poor oafs at the street corner into jail (and every now and then managing to capture or kill a bigger fish), the war on drugs will NEVER succeed.
Unless, of course, OBama has access to goblins and fairies (and I don't mean the San Franscisco kind)
All of a sudden I understand the urgency to bring down the mexican druglords. Our own corrupt government wants their cash. I should have known it was too good to be true.
You goofed up royally. That is a photo of my gardener.
The minimum height for success is 5.5 feet, so this guy is OK.
Every decade you read about these innovators and entrepreneurs. They are smarter than the cops, prosecutors, judges and politicians. They are lean and quick.
How on earth can a bureaucracy compete?
Maybe you are right. We simply legalize it or better yet, hire out to drug “privateers” who can keep whatever they collect. It would be bloody, but legal and very lucrative. Like tax farming without all the moral concerns.
You gotta respect someone at that height in that business being so successful.
But being in jail was fantastic protection.
If it were up to me, I'd instead target the key people in the middle. The guys at the bottom, who are the usual targets of law enforcement, are simply pawns who come a dime a dozen. Go to any poor neighborhood and you'll get black, white and latino kids to do anything from drug runs to lookouts to street peddling for the 'princely' sum of 600 Dollars a week, and a promise for more if he gets the game right, doesn't get robbed, and ensures no interruption from cops and the like. Easy! Concentrating on such small fry is just dumb ...I think the cops do it because it is easy, and it makes them show high numbers of drug-based incarceration, making it appear like they are really cleaning up the streets. What they are doing is simply sweeping the saw dust at a paper mill factory running on full blast ......the moment they sweep-sweep more sawdust comes a-flittering down, but DANG do they LOOK busy with their dusters and hoovers!
On the same vein, the guys at the very very top have too many people underneath them who are just as capable, and if taken out one of the people below will take over. It is like a well run organization ....if it is a great org, taking out the CEO simply means someone else (maybe the CFO, or even lower one of the senior VPs, or even one of the hot shot managers) will take over. Easily. As long as the systems are in place, and the vision is great, the company will survive.
What I would do is target those underneath the 'CEO.' Basically, say I wanted to wipe out a competing Fund Manager ....basically make an offer to the senior fund managers, and when they leave also make offers for their top analysts and assistant fund managers and traders. Expensive proposition, but what it will do is basically cripple the other company. It does happen in the real world (e.g. the team that managed Harvard university's endowment Fund got cleaned out in a similar manner), and they should do something similar for the 'war' on drugs. Instead of just soaking up the riff-raff by the street corner because they look the part and are easy to pick up, go for higher ups (the jails don't need any more weed peddlars ....at least hit the guys selling heroin and cocaine in Soho and Hollywood ...that would have more impact than some stupid-o with US$ 75 of weed in his socks, or maybe that is too bright for law enforcement, who would rather have a no-knock entry into some old lady's house, shoot her dead, and then plant ...ooops, say .....that they found a small bag of weed in her house. Sure is smart, huh!) However, instead of getting the top Capo, get the people beneath him ...the organizers, financiers, people who pay off the authorities, matter of fact change the authorities (do a switch between the people who check for drugs at the border with game wardens from yosemite national park, and keep doing random changes so that no one is static enough for corruption to seep through), get the top managers, attack the guys running the transportation channels from the farms to the factories, attack the transportation routes from the factories to the border, attack those with technical knowledge, etc.
Can it work?
Probably not ....BUT it will definitely have a much better chance of working than the cop-show tactics where we see cops chasing some guy with no shirt (always no shirt) and pants hanging down his knees down the street, slam him on a chain-link fence or a car hood (always, again, either a link fence or a car hood), and while panting victoriously show the couple backs of weed or crack that they got from the guy's socks (must be smelly weed).
Or going the very opposite end of the scale, where every 5-7 years they manage to get a truly large fish, maybe shooting him at his rooftop (like you know who), or maybe by luck having some other drug organization assasinating the main guy (like will probably happen to this dude). By week's end, someone else has risen to the top, and business goes on as usual (in most cases more efficiently).
Maybe it is time to try and take out the middle chunk!
If this guy were really smart he’d switch to Amway, he’s already got the distribution network in place........and he wouldn’t have to worry about the feds anymore.
You get the same things with alcoholics. These problems are psychological and moral in nature. I know many ex-addicts/criminals and eventually some event occurs in their lives that makes them reconsider their course. No amount of jail time did that, ever. It is anecdotal, but I think the recidivism rates bear it up. Most crime is drug/alcohol related, including murder.
1. Prison reform - prisoners must learn a trade or earn a degree; work to pay for 100% of the cost of their incarceration with the balance going to repay the damage they've done (these first two would preclude anyone who did not do them from earning good time off or getting a sentence reduction); community permission to release a criminal before they've finished their full sentence (don't just leave it up to parole boards) and allow parole boards to be sued for malpractice.
2.School vouchers. Give people a choice that includes ending the teaching certificate monopoly on education. Only an egomaniac or fool would get involved with drugs. Schools are boring places where little learning occurs. There are a ton of exciting methods that reduce school time down to a few hours a day and there is no one who cannot be taught something. Tracking is a crutch for lazy teachers.
3. Drug reform. End the FDAs monopoly on drugs or return it to drug safety as opposed to performance which was the original intent. Legalize illegal drugs at the Federal level and allow states to determine how they will be controlled. Better 50 states figuring it out than one over-sized, menace of a Federal government. Even prescription drugs get abused and pretending that control or more control or even more control is needed is counter to the original intent of our American Revolution. It should be patently obvious that the “drug war” is counterproductive both to individual liberty and common sense. 4. Work reform. The right to work is a basic human right and a natural right. Most local licensing requirements stop ex-cons from being hired. Let the 50 states decide it and get the Federal government out of the labor market completely. If a union is best, go union. If it is a drag, then don't. Let states set minimum wages if any.
Understand that ex-cons are moslty dumber than average, less educated, come from broken homes and single mothers who had kids in their teens. They're hard enough to hire without a felony record.
Some kind of targeted system could even work where you let them intern for a small stipend and not count it against an employer if they have to be fired within 90-120 days or something.
We've still not solved the problem of self-medicating or why people suffer such soulful agony, but we've just reduced both the rate of new criminality, crime, and recidivisim. Busy, occupied, smart people don't have time to wallow in drug/alcohol abuse.
That moves the ball a long way down court, no?
Sorry, I forgot to paragraph item 4.
I just don't think Government (both Lib and Con), as well as Law Enforcement, have the gray matter to think that far.
Thus, expect to see more silly perps with hanging pants getting chased down by panting cops on the the police-theme reality TV shows. After all, they are 'working hard' catching those pant-shufflers.
And to think of it ....a week ago a FReeper was saying that Bernie madoff should not be sent to jail but instead imprisoned at home (reason: so that tax payer money would not be spent feeding and housing him), YET no questions are raised about the thousands sitting in jail for far less crimes.
But hey ....the cops sure do work hard running down those pant shufflers (my term for anyone wearing pants at their knees, and then expecting to outrun the police. No wonder heavy-weight cops are seen to catch up with early 20-something athletic types ....it is the shuffling pants perps! Buy a belt)
Seriously though, legalizing marijuana would seriously impact the drug cartels. As TKDietz said, there is major cash flow from it. However, that option is almost anathema (even though at the voter level, a number of people from both the Left and the Right see the logic in it, but the politicians will not touch it). Thus, the war against marijuana is basically limited to arresting the corner small-fry, or having debates about medical marijuana and whether it is 'right' to let someone suffering chronic pain smoke a joint or two, or whether politicians 'inhaled' or not during COLLEGE (goodness, almost everyone did some serious stuff in college ...for some it was drugs, others it was sex, others it was alcohol, or parties, others it was .......fill in the blank .....most of them should not be questions one is asked decades later when they are running for office, since they are most probably quite different now compared to then) .....and while all that is going on, a billion Dollar business continues unabated to the extent that Dollar billionaires are now being made. Oh, and obviously this is not the only guy ....narco-biz is big business around the world. In Israel, Russia, Africa (goodness, we just had an assasination two weeks ago in Guinea Bissau, where one of the heads of the military was killed by order of the president, and the president was subsequently killed by the military. Guinea Bissau is an entire country run by drug money, with Colombian drug cartels using it as a shipping stop-point to Europe. Dig this ...the cocaine flow-through gives revenues 10 TIMES greater than that of Guinea Bissau's 'normal' economy, although it should be taken that cocaine is now GB's normal economy! Thus, if drug cartels can give a country flow-through greater than 10 times its normal GDP of US$ 800 million, which though small even for an African country is still a lot of money for most people, and ten times that means a flow through of 8 billion through ONE SMALL AFRICAN COUNTRY alone, just how much money do you think the cartels have?).
I see a point where cartels become more powerful than the countries they are based in (as has happened in some countries in S. America, and may arguably happen in Mexico), and start buying jet fighters and the like. After all, the Tamil Tigers (who are terrorists) had an airforce, thus why wouldn't cartels (who definitely have more money than many governments) not be able to afford them? Also, there were reports in 2005 of some cartels using mini-subs to transport drugs, with the thing being most of those being crude homebuilt versions. They have the money to get good ones now ....even 'real' submarines. A Kilo sub is quite affordable to a cartel, is very very quiet, and they can also get a trained crew with it using ex-Russian/Chinese sailors. Maybe they already have ....there is a LOT of drugs getting into the US somehow....
But hey ....let's have overweight cops chase after pant-shufflers, or maybe (for the sheer fun heck of it) let's have a no-knock raid in some old foggies house, and later on give an 'oops wrong address'
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