Mexican Cartels, Italian Mafia Move Drugs Through U.S. and Into Europe

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mexican drug cartels have joined forces with the Italian mafia to transport narcotics through the United States and into European markets. Heightened efforts by U.S. and Mexican officials to crackdown on the drug trade and rising European cocaine prices have helped fuel this expansions.  

As a border state, Texas has traditionally served as a gateway for traffickers to smuggle drugs from Mexico and distribute them to cities across the United States. Dallas and Houston have now become major operative centers for smuggling routes that stretch from South America to Western Europe. The Justice Department’s latest Drug Threat Assessment maintains that at least 19 other U.S. cities are hotbeds of activity for organized crime syndicates. Experts acknowledge that mob activity is on the rise due to recruitment efforts by Colombian producers and Mexican distributors hoping to use their overseas connections to increase their share of the international market. 
The Drug Enforcement Agency first discovered the ties between these international crime organizations last year when it linked a prominent Mexican cartel to the Italian Ndrangheta syndicate based in New York. Through recent arrests, authorities have pieced together the various avenues used to bring cocaine to the booming European market. In one such example, Mexican cartels would transport drugs into Texas and transfer the product to the Italian mafia, who would then ship it to Europe along with legitimate cargo, such as scented candles. Although traffickers do run an increased risk of arrest by exposing themselves to law enforcement agencies in multiple countries, the prospect of lucrative profits fueled by prohibition produces an endless supply of risk-takers.   
-Adrine Akopyan


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