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October 2009
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What happens when you take down the big guys?

Drug warriors keep telling us that we’ve had big successes in Colombia — that we’re winning the drug war there by dismantling the top cartels, and working with Uribe to extradite them to the U.S.

And if we have patience with Calderone’s efforts in Mexico and just realize that increased violence is a sign that we’re winning, we’ll dismantle those cartels as well.

But what happens when you dismantle the large organizations without eliminating demand or removing drugs from the black market (or repealing the laws of economics)?

CNN: Power vacuum fuels vicious drug war

Oops.

Medellin [Colombia] is once again in the grip of a vicious drug war. In January to September this year, city authorities say the murder rate has more than doubled with almost 2,000 killings. […]

That makes Medellin as dangerous as Ciudad Juarez, the frontier town dubbed Mexico’s most dangerous city as a result of the ongoing cartel war there. Authorities in Juarez say killings are up from last year and are hitting record highs. […]

Until earlier this year, Medellin’s drug underworld was ruled by the so-called “Office of Envigado,” named after a district of the Medellin metropolitan area. The “office” was a syndicate of the top cocaine bosses who agreed on the basic rules of doing business in the area. They shared smuggling routes and acted as the ultimate enforcers if cartel members reneged on deals or debts.

But the “office” has been ripped apart by infighting. Some senior members were arrested, some of those already in jail were extradited and others cut cooperation deals with U.S. authorities. That left the lower ranks fighting to fill the power vacuum.

It’s an internal battle that is still raging.

“The ones fueling this war are the ones from the other side. They’ve f***ed up Medellin,” Chief says. “They’re from Medellin but they’re traitors.”

“They want to get control of all Medellin so they’re shooting up one gang then another. They’re getting paid to fight. These are wars between the big capos and we’re paying the price out here on the streets,” he adds.

I don’t think we can survive too many more drug war “successes.”

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9 comments to What happens when you take down the big guys?

  • claygooding

    Since the learning curve of our elected officials looks like the horizon,this article won’t even phase them. They are too busy trying to reform health care without disturbing profits too the pharmaceutical cartel in our own country too worry about anyone being harmed in some other country. They don’t seem too realize their actions to continue the prohibition will just continue the violence
    and any “big” capo’s they remove will be replaced before their cell door closes behind them in their local jail.

  • Mike R

    Officials in the US know all to well what real story is behind prohibition. The bottom line is that they all profit from it in some way or another, so they will do the best they can to make sure the WoD lasts as long as possible.

  • DdC

    What happens when you take down the soap guys?

    Dr. Bronner among those arrested for planting hemp at DEA HQ
    By: Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator October 13th, 2009

    Bronner buys the hemp used in his soaps from Canadian farmers. He was arrested outside the DEA museum, which shares space with the headquarters.

    “Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?’” he said as Arlington County Police handcuffed him and walked him to a waiting car.

    Best soap in the world.

    Cannabis May Fight Auto-Immune Diseases
    Medical marijuana is being used to combat several diseases including AIDS Wasting Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis.

    Anti-Marijuana Ad (satire) U2b

  • R.O.E.

    All hypocrsy and corruption. What a wonderful government we have. And they say we are the good guys.PHH

  • DdC

    Cops, Rehabs and Prisons Maintaining Dysfunction for Profit.

    Justices Weigh Rules on Recovering Seized Assets By Jess Bravin
    CN Source: Wall Street Journal October 14, 2009 Washington, D.C. Every year, police agencies seize more than $1 billion of cars, cash and other goods linked to drug crimes. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on how hard it should be for owners to try to recover that property.

    Who’s Behind Pot Prohibition? The Answer Is Obvious
    Law enforcement organizations remain the primary force working against sensible marijuana law reform.

  • Steve

    Anybody see the News Hour on PBS tonight? The last segment will have been of interest. I thought they did a pretty good job. The police chief they had on last seemed to me to have been tacked on as an afterthought to read the party line.

    The whole episode video
    or
    mp3 of the relevant segment.

  • Servetus

    What happens when you take down the big guys? Good analogy: shoveling seawater.

  • DdC

    Tobacco Underground
    The illicit trafficking of tobacco is a multibillion-dollar business today, fueling organized crime and corruption, robbing governments of needed tax money, and spurring addiction to a deadly product. Drawn by profits rivaling those of narcotics, smugglers move cigarettes by the billion, making tobacco the world’s most widely smuggled legal substance.