Juarez Graves Show How The Drug War Kills

Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999
Subject: Juarez Graves Show How The Drug War Kills

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #149 Saturday December 12, 1999

Juarez Graves Show How The Drug War Kills



DrugSense FOCUS Alert #149 Saturday December 12, 1999

A couple weeks after the announcement that the graves of more 100
people killed by a powerful drug cartel may have been found in Ciudad
Juarez, Mexico, the story is still being uncovered. It now looks as if
more of the bodies will be found elsewhere around the city, but the
importance of the story has not diminished.

All the major news magazines are covering it this week. The article
from Time Magazine (below) illustrates how the drug trade has evolved
to stay ahead of those trying to enforce prohibition. While violence
and corruption have always played a part in drug prohibition, it seems
the violence is becoming more ruthless, while the corruption is
becoming more endemic.

For all the coverage this story has received, very few commentators
have dared to state the obvious truth: this whole situation is the
result of the drug war, and there is nothing that the drug war
establishment can do to stop the carnage. Please write to Time
Magazine, or another major weekly news magazine, to explain how the
drug war gives the drug cartels their terrible power and to say that
ending the drug is the only way to end the type of violence being
uncovered in Juarez.

Thanks for your effort and support.


It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Letter,Phone, fax etc.)

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This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our
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Source: Time Magzine

Contact: letters@time.com

Please note: Time and the other news weeklies tend to print much
shorter letters than most newspapers. Please try to keep your letter


Send a letter to Newsweek, which has also published a story on

(available at http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n1338.a08.html)

Source: Newsweek

Contact: letters@newsweek.com


Send your letter to U.S. News and World Reports, which also published
a story on Juarez, though it hasn’t made it to the MAP news archive

Source: U.S. News and World Reports

Contact: letters@usnews.com


URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n1325/a12.html

Pubdate: Mon, 13 Dec 1999
Source: Time Magazine (US)
Copyright: 1999 Time Inc.
Page: 62
Contact: letters@time.com
Address: Time Magazine Letters, Time & Life Bldg., Rockefeller Center, NY,
NY 10020
Fax: (212) 522-8949
Website: http://www.time.com/
Author: Elaine Shannon, Washington And Tim Padgett, Miami


How Arrogance And Violence Bred A Massive Drug-War Slaughter

IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE BORDER Region between the U.S. and Mexico,
it is hard to understand how totally the drug business has come to
dominate life there.

But last week, as FBI and Mexican backhoes began digging into what may
be mass graves containing dozens of victims of the region’s drug
cartels, it was suddenly a lot easier.

FBI sources say the grave uncovered last week is probably the first of
many; they will continue exploring for more this week.

“In law-enforcement circles, there have been rumors of these for a
long time,” says a senior Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
“Hell, there are bodies [from drug-related killings] buried all over
the place down here.”

The carnage is a sign of an epic shift in the drug business. From the
early 1970s until a couple of years ago, if you went out on the
streets of New York City to score cocaine, you’d look for a Colombian
trafficker or a Dominican who dealt with a Colombian. Nowadays,
you’re just as likely to find yourself face-to-face with a Mexican.
Your dealer’s ethnic roots probably won’t matter to you so long as the
product is as advertised.

But to DEA agents, the decline and fall of Colombia’s once impregnable
Cali cartel is a sensational development surpassed only by the
meteoric rise of the Juarez Cartel now headed by Vicente Carrillo
Fuentes. As the U.S. has cracked down on drug cartels in Colombia in
the past decade, the business has shifted north and into the hands of
Mexican traffickers, who play by the same bloody rules that
characterized the lethal reign of the Colombians. Mexico’s
narco-industry is now a $30 billion-a-year business.

“The flow of drugs through Mexico to the U.S. is not slowing down,”
says a U.S. official. “If anything, it’s increasing.” The Juarez
cartel has risen faster than most tech stocks, thanks to the vision of
its late founder, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, and the ruthlessness of his
dumber but meaner younger brother Vicente. For a long time, Mexican
criminals were simply subcontractors whom the Colombians paid a set
fee, usually $1,500 to $2,000 per kilogram, to truck cocaine over the
U.S. border and to warehouses in California or Texas. There, Cali
cartel employees would reclaim the goods, move them to major retailing
hubs like Manhattan and Los Angeles and wholesale them to
distributors. The Colombians pocketed a chunk of the wholesale and
retail markups.

The Mexicans risked their necks for chump change. But kingpins like
Amado changed all that. He fancied himself the Bill Gates of Mexican
drug traffickers, a visionary who earned the nickname “Lord of the
Skies” for the multi ton shipments of Colombian cocaine he received in
Boeing 727s. When he died in 1997 after botched plastic surgery, DEA
agents were skeptical that his brother Vicente would last as the
successor head of the Juarez syndicate.

But in Vicente’s favor, says a U.S. agent, “he’s vicious.” After a
two-year-long war against factional leaders, notably Rafael Mufloz
Talavera, found shot to death in his jeep in Juarez in September 1998,
Vicente secured his bid to succeed his brother. He has since been
indicted in El Paso, Texas, and in Mexico on drug-trafficking charges.
any of the bodies being unearthed south of Juarez are believed to be
victims in that war, as are any Americans who Mexican officials say
might be among the dead.

U.S. agents believe the war has subsided, but they admit they don’t
have good intelligence on the inner workings of the Juarez cartel or
on Vicente himself. “We don’t really know where he is,” admits a top
U.S. official. “He could be anywhere. We assume he’s somewhere in
Mexico, probably Chihuahua.” Still, Vicente is no Amado, a fact that
emboldens his rivals, especially the recklessly homicidal Arellano
Felix brothers, who run the Tijuana cartel. Shortly after Amado
Carrillo’s death, Mexican officials told TIME, the Arellanos phoned in
a death threat against U.S. anti drug czar General Barry McCaffrey as
he toured the border. Specifically, they threatened a
rocket-propelled grenade attack.

The arrogant brutality wasn’t a surprise: the brothers reportedly once
sent the severed head of the wife of a rival to him in a box of dry

But U.S. officials do know this: the Juarez cartel and the other
Mexican syndicates control an ever larger slice of the illegal drug
market in the U.S. They still transport cocaine for Colombian gangs,
but they also move their own cocaine onto the street through
retail-distribution established decades ago to sell Mexican marijuana
to middle-class Americans. These networks have become one-stop
shopping outlets for Mexican marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin.

The Mexican move into retailing is bad news for U.S. law enforcement
because the Mexicans are even harder to track than Colombians.
Mexican gangsters have ready-made support structures in most cities in
the U.S., large extended families who put down roots in the U.S.
years ago. U.S. drug agents complain that, unlike the Colombians, who
tend to stand out by the way they dress and speak, Mexican criminals
are practically invisible even in non-Hispanic neighborhoods. They
cross the border at will, indistinguishable from the millions of U.S.
and Mexican citizens who present themselves at border checkpoints
daily. When they’re in Mexico, as demonstrated by the Juarez killing
fields discovered last week, they can do just about anything they want
often with the help of Mexican police.

What most angers families of those presumed buried near Juarez is the
alleged involvement of local, state and possibly federal police in the
narco-murders. Recent studies by U.S. and Mexican researchers have
shown that many Mexican police recruits are actually convicted
criminals; they join police forces to get a piece of the narcotics
action, usually as cartel enforcers.

A state-police commander in Tijuana told TIME last year that he quit
when cops under him killed an honest anti-drug detective in 1996. “I
realized I was working with police more vicious than the traffickers
who pay them off,” he said. Vicious, perhaps, but also well paid to
ignore and even abet what goes on in the borderlands. U.S. DEA and
other law-enforcement agents often refer to the corrupt, usually
low-paid Mexican police as “lafamiliafeliz” the happy family, always
smiling and never enforcing the law.

Last Friday, when Mexican Attorney General Jorge Madrazo and FBI
Director Louis Freeh visited the first Juarez grave site, called
Rancho de La Campana, Madrazo insisted that police were being
investigated. “We’re not going to cover up for anybody,” he said.
Mexico, with multi-million-dollar U.S. help, has tried to create more
professional, better-paid and less corrupt anti drug units.

But even the new, vetted squads have been tainted – two Tijuana agents
were charged last year with kidnapping – or have balked at pursuing
targets like the Arellanos, who still freely frequent clubs and boxing
matches on both sides of the border.

During the `90s, only one Mexican drug-cartel leader Juan Garcia
Abrego has been arrested. As a result, exasperated U.S. officials
are increasingly declining Mexican cooperation. For example, in a
major sting that netted Mexican drug-money launderers last year,
called “Operation Casablanca,” the gringos didn’t even consult their
cross-border counterparts.

Americans, however, shouldn’t get too righteous about the Mexicans’
failings: the drug crisis, after all, is fueled by the insatiable
Yanqui appetite for snorting, shooting and smoking what grows in Latin

And the U.S. even plays a role in the violence: of the estimated
4,000 illegal guns seized in Mexico since 1994, more than 75% were
traced back to U.S. smugglers as were the rocket-propelled grenades
the Arellanos threatened to fire at McCaffrey. It’s something else to
consider in the coming weeks while peering into the death pits outside



While many are expressing shock over the discovery of humans killed by
a drug cartel in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, it is a surprise to no one who
has followed the history of prohibition. Violence and corruption are
crucial tools for those who operate in black markets; those who employ
violence with the most ruthlessness and those who seek corruption on
the broadest scale will always control black markets. The drug war has
created the incentive to commit the atrocities being uncovered in
Juarez. Attempts to get “tougher” on drugs will only lead to more
brutality and graft.

Stephen Young

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Prepared by Stephen Young – http://home.att.net/~theyoungfamily Focus
Alert Specialist