The United States of America and Mexico share thousands of miles of border and almost two hundred years of history together. Both countries have exchanged ideas, people, and culture. However, both countries have also exchanged many different drugs with the Mexican cartels exporting their drugs to the USA. In 2006, former Mexican president Felipe Calderon declared war on drugs and vowed to use all available powers to take down the drug cartels. The response involved recruiting the Mexican armed forces to counter the drug cartel’s influence in areas all over Mexico. A CNN article highlighted one disturbing fact about the drug war; 2,837 people were killed during the first year of Mexico’s war on drugs.
The major drug cartels in Mexico include the Beltran Leyva cartel founded by the four Beltran Leyva brothers, the Gulf Cartel, Juarez Cartel, LaFamilia Michoacana based in the Michoacan state, Los Zetas Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel. A number of the larger cartels are headquartered near the U.S. and Mexico border, making it easy to smuggle drugs.
However, drugs are not the only problem. Guns are also being smuggled. The CNN post reports there are over 6,500 licensed firearms dealers on the U.S. side of the border, but there is only one legal firearms retailer in Mexico. Up to 70% of guns recovered and traced by the U.S. government from crimes committed in Mexico originated from U.S. gun sales. The U.S. accounts for 90% of the cocaine shipped from Mexico and cartels make between $19 to $29 billion dollars a year from U.S. drug sales alone. Clearly there is a need for drugs in the USA and the Mexican drug cartels are trying to fulfill that need at the expense of both the Mexican people and American citizens.
The Huffington Post featured an article about Mexico’s dead and missing since 2006. Over 65,000 deaths have been linked to drug violence and over 20,000 people are listed as missing since the war on drugs was declared. Statistics from both the Mexican government and other outside groups show at least 10,000 people have been killed or are currently missing since 2006. Using illegal drugs does not only affect the user and their immediate surroundings, but it also has far reaching consequences unseen and unknown by many. The pain and suffering caused by the manufacture, transportation, and sale of drugs cannot be measure and should never be underestimated. Every drug that is produced in Mexico, transported to the U.S., sold in a neighborhood, and consumed by a user has a grave negative impact.