Explain the history and culture of Latin American organized crime groups. Is there great difference in the groups that fall under this label?
Additionally summarize the characteristics and culture that defines Black organized crime. What groups fall under this umbrella?
Discussion Board Guidelines: Submit an answer to the discussion board. Each discussion board post will be between 250 – 350 words long. Refer & cite current resources in your answer.
Latin American Organized Crime
Abadinsky, Organized Crime 10th ed.
On July 21, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that almost 2,000 persons have been arrested by federal agents on narcotics-related charges as part of a 20-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as Project Delirium. The operation targeted La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, an organization noted for its extreme level of violence.
La Familia and other notable Latin American drug cartels will be discussed in this chapter.
A common element in Latin American OC is drug trafficking.
The income-generating activities of many Latino OC groups are integrated into a bureaucratic structure–it is their sole raison d'etre–without the subcultural traditions that typify the Sicilian Mafia and outlaw biker clubs.
Most Latino OC groups import their organizations along with the drugs they sell.
COLOMBIAN DRUG TRAFFICKING
Colombia has been torn by political strife, with 5 civil wars in the 19th-20th centuries.
La Violencia (1948-1958) civil war between wealthy landowners and poor campesinos cost the lives of 300,000.
Marxist insurgencies and right wing paramilitaries threaten the stability of the central government.
Drug traffickers exemplify lack of belief in the legitimacy of the government's political and economic institutions. Citizens tolerate violations of the law.
COLOMBIAN DRUG TRAFFICKING
For traffickers, the law, law enforcement officials, U.S. drug operatives, and drug-control organizations represent traditional elite, international imperialism, and other international competitive economic interests.
Drug barons act as a state within a state.
Colombians control the cocaine market.
Well positioned geographically to receive coca from Peru and Bolivia and export the processed drug to the U.S.
Speculative capitalism by Colombia's financial elite, provided the resources for development of a cocaine industry.
THE POLITICS OF DOPE
Drug money comes in through an "ask no questions" central bank attitude and currency exchanges.
Money laundered through real estate and contraband purchases, and some to politicians' campaign funds.
Marxist guerilla forces of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) protect crops and levy taxes on the drug business.
United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC): coalition of wealthy landowners, ranchers, and Colombian military control some coca areas.
THE POLITICS OF DOPE (CONT.)
Los Chamizos (Charred Tree) paramilitary: They kill leftists, university professors, student activists, and trade unionists.
1985-2008, 2500+ union members killed; probably by Los Chamizos.
Reputed to control a drug syndicate that exports $1+ billion cocaine to U.S. and Europe annually.
The militias are more effective against the guerillas than the government, so the populace likes them.
COLOMBIAN DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS
The term cartel identifies a network whose structure resembles that of a holding company: a collection of flexible groups with senior managers.
The cartels are compartmentalized to control each step required in processing and exporting cocaine.
There are sections for manufacture, transport, distribute, finance, and security.
Highest levels are insulated away from operations.
Cartel brokers coordinate or franchise delivery in U.S.
An industrial and tourist city of 3 million people in the Andes, with a culture of violence.
Home of some of Colombia's most notorious drug traffickers, known as Los Grandes Mafiosos.
The Medellin Cartel: Carlos Lehder-Rivas, the Ochoa clan, and Pablo Escobar.
Fabio Ochoa Restrepo, the paterfamilias, owns a country estate with herds of cattle and horses. His family business is tied to bullfighting .
In the 1970s he had financial difficulties. His son Jorge worked in import-export in Miami, imported cocaine.
1981 kidnappings of Lehder-Rivas, his sister (at university), and others prompted the Ochoas to call a meeting of traffickers. 223 attended and formed a special enforcement section, Muertas a Secuestradores ("Death to the Kidnappers"–MAS) .
Soon after, leaflets publicly announced the enforcement section was for the execution of the kidnappers.
MUERTAS A SECUESTRADORES (MAS)
The Marxist revolutionary group, M-19, was believed to be the kidnappers. People believed connected to M-19 were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.
Also murdered were trade unionists, old ladies, young children, pigs, horses, and chickens. University M-19 sympathizers were tortured.
Two who were on the Colombian army's "most wanted" list were handed to the military commander amid widespread publicity.
The most notorious member of the Medellin cartel. Born poor, got wealthy trafficking, Robin Hood image.
Barrio Pablo Escobar: built 500 houses, soccer fields.
1976: headed a group of "mules" moving coca paste.
Saw demand for cocaine in U.S., invested in Peruvian and Bolivian coca paste and coca base and shipped finished product to U.S. Fleet of planes for transport.
Killed 1993, rooftop shootout with soldiers and police.
AMNESTY, EXTRADITABLES, ASSASSINATION, AND LOS PEPES
1980s: Medellin bosses offer to Colombian government: We will abandon drug business, deposit funds in Colombian banks, dismantle drug labs, sell chemical and transportation businesses.
In return, they wanted elimination of extradition treaty with U.S. Colombian government refused.
So Escobar murdered minister of justice, 30 judges, and a presidential candidate; $4200 bounty for police.
Police and Los PEPES (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar) war against Escobar.
City of 1.5 million people, 250 miles south of Medellin.
Counterfeiting center, especially U.S. currency.
Loose alliance of 5 major trafficking grups.
Orejuela brothers and friend, born poor, used kidnappings to raise $75,000 to enter drug business.
Cali cartel more artful, less violent than Medellin cartel.
Favored bribery over violence.
Provided transport, distribution, enforcement service to smaller traffickers for a fee.
CALI CARTEL (CONT.)
Cali cartel structure: Patriarchal, stress discipline and loyalty, compartmentalized; CEO, subordinates in charge of acquisition, production, transportation, sales, finance, enforcement. Many overseas branches.
Cali operations in U.S. centered in Elmhurst-Jackson Heights section of Queens, NY. 30,000 Colombians; banks, currency exchanges, accessible to airports.
1995: Brothers confessed, turned over $2.1 billion.
2006: Extradited to U.S., 30 year sentences.
EVOLUTION OF THE COLOMBIAN DRUG BUSINESS
Medellin and Cali cartels were vertically integrated to maintain control over cocaine chain from manufacture to wholesale distribution.
When cartels were broken up, smaller organizations ("cartelitos") filled the vacuum. They maintain lower profiles in Colombia and U.S.
Law enforcement effort against smaller organizations requires more personnel and greater intel effort.
Recently: import poppy seeds, equipment, expertise from Golden Crescent; sell smoking (needle-less) heroin in U.S.
Population 100 million (75% city); widespread poverty.
19th century wars. Hundreds of thousands killed.
1929: Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) emerged as dominant party, stabilized the nation.
Culture: Distrust outside of extended family. Political leaders have intimate circle from childhood.
Camarilla: basic unit of Mexican politics.
Patron-client relationships, political patronage, endemic corruption; political bosses ("caciques").
Police controlled–did not protect– the population.
CORRUPTION IN MEXICO
Drug dealers corrupt police officers. 1990s: Mexico program of privatization. Economic transformation led to acquisition of
valuable state assets–banks, communications, food sectors–by families whose source of income was gambling and drugs, facilitating the infiltration of OC into the Mexican economy.
PRI accommodated but regulated the drug cartels. 2000: Defeat of PRI; violent drug lords struggle for
Mexico is dangerous for
MEXICAN DRUG TRAFFICKING
As the global economy grew, a network of illicit entrepreneurs emerged. Drug trafficking presented the best opportunity.
Mexican trafficking organizations control U.S. market. Complex smuggling, transport, distribution networks. Compartmentalize duties. Gather intel. Advanced security and communication techniques. Violence and intimidation deter law enforcement,
control group members, secure smuggling territories. Contract smuggling for Colombian organizations.
Dominant in Mexican drug trafficking WWII-1987.
In the U.S., wholesales out of Chicago to Detroit, NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Louisville. Executives, field representatives. They are part of the Sinaloa cartel.
1987: 80 U.S. convictions.
1988: organization recovering.
Don Jaime padrone, philanthropy. Clan built Durango hospital, Santiago Papasquiaro water system, streetlights, and town square.
NW Pacific coast agricultural state. Grew poppies for morphine for U.S. during WWII.
Narcocorridos: Ballads memorialize traffickers.
1989: Police department of capital city, and asst. director of antinarcotics program were arrested.
Leader "El Chapo" ("Shorty") Guzman. Sentenced 1993. Escaped from Mexican prison 2001.
2011: Reportedly, Sinaloa cartel has brought relative peace to battleground city Tijuana.
GULF CARTEL AND LOS ZETAS
Gulf cartel leader Juan Abrego pioneered 50-50 Colombian contract deal. Arrested 1996 Monterrey; extradited to U.S. ( $2 million reward); U.S. citizen (Mexico does not extradite its citizens for drug charges.)
Los Zetas: Former Mexican special forces (Grupo Aeromovil de Fuerzas Especiales), worked for Gulf cartel.
Broke with Gulf cartel; militarized tactics; violent.
Use Mexican-American teenagers as hitmen. Extended their business portfolio to spas, day care centers, pirated CDs.
Tijuana cartel: Arellano-Felix family. Violent. Control drug smuggling along Mexico-California border.
1998: Arrested for bribing 2 members of elite Mexican enforcement undercover unit.
Murder journalists and U.S. agents.
Juarez: Most dangerous city in the world.
Juarez cartel was result of 1980s merger of drug rings.
Leader Amado Carillo-Fuentes died of heart failure after 8 hours of plastic surgery.
Barrio Aztecas (BA): enforcement arm; Aztec snake and pyramid tattoos; U.S. passports; high-caliber weapons
Militarized command structure: captains, lieutenants, sergeants, and soldiers.
Major racketeering case dismantled leadership. Younger members ("Pepsi Generation") promoted to fill positions.
LA FAMILIA MICHOACHÁNA
Southern Pacific state Michoacána. Leader Nazario Moreno El Mas Loco–"The Craziest
One." Killed 12 intel officers, 2 soldiers, and 3 federal
officers in retaliation for arrest of a ranking member. Core leaders attend church. Religious dogma, killing
rivals is "divine justice." Robin Hood image. Quasi-government role, aiding police in public safety
and providing debt collection services for businesses. Extensive distribution network in U.S.
Dominican Republic, population 8.8 million.
Command-and-control center and transshipment point for smugglers.
Designer drugs, such as "Ecstasy," move through the Dominican Republic from Europe to U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Structured and integrated criminal organization od Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Colombians operate in Santo Domingo, NY, Boston, Providence, and others.
Recent Colombian dissatisfaction with Mexican partners is opportunity for Dominicans.
MARA SALVATRUCHA (MS-13/LOS MARA)
Mara Salvatrucha: slang for "street-tough Salvadoran."
El Salvador civil war began 1980.
1988-89: some Salvadorans in Los Angeles formed MS- 13. U.S. deported them. They returned with members of Farbundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMNL), a leftist guerilla organization trained in firearms, explosives, booby traps.
Cliques in major U.S. cities. Traffic in drugs, aliens, identity theft, prostitution, weapons.
THE MEXICAN MAFIA
U.S. prison-based gang.
Formed in 1957 by 13 Mexican-Americans at Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, California as a self-protection group.
Began to control homosexual prostitution, gambling, and narcotics in prison.
1966: Moved activities outside prison, organized Hispanic gangs to confront black Los Angeles gangs for control of the drug trade.
Control Orange County, California street gangs. They pay %-age of profits, get territory and protection in return.
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