The tentacles of the Mexican cartels in the United States

Translated by El Profe for Borderland Beat from Vanguardia

Mexican criminal organizations maintain the greatest influence in drug trafficking to the United States of America, since they have kept growing and expanding.
They control contraband corridors across the southern border of the United States. There is no international organization that rivals their level of influence.


According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, year after
year, Mexican criminal organizations export significant amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and fentanyl to the United States.


The expansion of Mexican criminal organizations has reached the New England area; and they continue to move to expand their market, especially, heroin and methamphetamine.


In the greater Chicago area, Mexican criminal organizations dominate the wholesale supply of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and heroin. There do not seem to be competitors of Mexican criminal organizations.

Mexican criminal organizations are the main suppliers of crystal (methamphetamine) in the Washington DC region. They control the transportation of this drug and dominate wholesale distribution. They are also the largest source of heroin supply in the entire state of Georgia.


In Mexico, drug-related murders reach epidemic proportions, but according to the DEA, Mexican criminal organizations based in the United States generally
refrain from confrontations to avoid detection by the authorities, which
means that violence is relatively low.

The landscape of drug trafficking in Mexico is constantly changing and
with new criminal organizations branches from others emerge.

As of 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has evaluated the following six criminal organizations: 

It is one of the oldest drug trafficking organizations in Mexico;
It exports and distributes wholesale quantities of methamphetamine,
marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the United States, has distribution
centers in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago. Illicit drugs distributed by the Sinaloa Cartel
are mainly smuggled to the United States through crossing points
located along the Mexican border with California, Arizona, New Mexico
and western Texas.
The cartel is characterized by its propensity to deal violently with the Government 

Jalisco New Generation Cartel
It is a newly created criminal organization, although one of the most
powerful and fastest growing in Mexico and the United States;
This growth occurred after having been separated from the Sinaloa Cartel in 2010. Like the Sinaloa Cartel, it deals with the trafficking of wholesale quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana. The cartel has reported presence in 22 of the 32 states.

This cartel smuggles the drug through Tijuana, Juárez (Chihuahua) and
Nuevo Laredo, and has drug distribution centers in the cities of Los
Angeles, New York and Atlanta.

Cartel de Juárez

It is one of the oldest Mexican criminal organizations, endured a territorial war of several years with the Sinaloa Cartel, which in mid-2010 led to many murders in Chihuahua.
The Juarez Cartel mainly deals with marijuana and cocaine but reports
from various law enforcement agencies indicate that the opium crop
monitored by the cartel has increased significantly since 2013,
surpassing marijuana cultivation in some regions.

Gulf Cartel
It is a long-standing criminal organization, although recently it has
lost strength and has experienced a rapid rotation in leadership;
The Gulf Cartel concentrates mainly on the trafficking of marijuana and cocaine, but has also recently expanded to heroin and methamphetamine.
Because of its influence on areas in northeastern Mexico, drug
smuggling is mostly done through southern Texas, through the border
region between the Rio Grande Valley and Padre Island.
It has a presence in Atlanta and controls distribution centers in Houston and Detroit.

The Zetas 

They formed as an independent cartel, in early 2010, when they separated from the Gulf Cartel . At the time of the break with the Gulf, Los Zetas controlled drug trafficking in eastern, central and southern Mexico. However, in recent years, the influence of Los Zetas has decreased significantly.

They are currently divided into two rival factions: the Northeast
Cartel, representing a renamed form of conventional zetas and the old
school zetas;
Los Zetas members smuggle most of their drugs through the border area between Del Rio and Falcon Lake, Texas;
Currently, they traffic cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana
through distribution centers in Laredo, Dallas, New Orleans and Atlanta.

Beltrán Leyva Cartel

They separated from the Sinaloa Cartel in 2008, although all the Beltrán Leyva
brothers have been murdered or arrested, the remains of his
organization still operate in several parts of Mexico (Guerrero,
Morelos, Nayarit and Sinaloa).

Los Rojos, Los Guerreros Unidos, Organization Chapo Isidro and Los Mazatlecos are subgroups that have originated from the Beltrán Leyva organization. The Beltrán Leyva Cartel trusts in its alliance the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, the Juarez Cartel, and Los Zetas to access the drug trafficking corridors along the southern border of the United States.
The members of the Beltrán Leyva cartel traffic mainly in marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine; they maintain distribution centers in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. 

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