In addition to an rise in OxyContin overdoses, heroin overdoses, drug crime, and shattered lives, opiate dependence in the United States has also fueled the stakes for narco-criminals in Mexico. There are some staggering tales of cruelty and murder related to the drug ward.
U.S. Drug Use Fuels Mexican Drug Wars
The drug war that has gripped Mexico for the past several years erupted again this week and left 13 men dead at a drug rehabilitation center near Tijuana. Masked gunmen armed with semiautomatic weapons broke into the El Camino a la Recuperacion Center, ordered residents onto the ground, and then began shooting. Mexican officials have not made any arrests, but all signs indicate a link to the ongoing bloody violence between warring drug cartels.
Because of the high number of violent crimes that have taken place in northern Mexico in recent years, the majority of murder cases are never solved. In the case of the Tijuana rehab center killings, there may be a connection to a recent record seizure of 148 tons of marijuana that was destined for the U.S. The marijuana, estimated to have a street value of at least $200 million, was burned a few days later by soldiers from the Mexican army.
The attack at the rehabilitation center follows on another attack earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, where 14 people were massacred at a family birthday party. This city, like Tijuana, is located on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Both border cities have been focal points in the Mexican drug wars.
Since late 2006, more than 28,000 people have died in incidents related to the Mexican drug wars. This truly is a war, as evidenced by the fact that Mexican President Felipe Calderon has ordered 45,000 troops to be deployed in 18 Mexican states. The motivation behind the warring drug factions is contention for a share of the U.S. illegal drug market.
Americans who feel that marijuana is a harmless recreational drug should consider the deadly price that the people of Mexico are paying because of marijuana. Many innocent bystanders, including children, have been caught in the crossfire of this drug war. Besides marijuana, low-priced cocaine and methamphetamine play a large role in Mexico’s drug trafficking.
A tragic side effect of the drag wars that many Mexicans are being caught up in the deadly web of drug addiction. The drug rehab killings underscore the growing domestic drug abuse problem. More and more Mexicans are experimenting with methamphetamine as well as cocaine. As U.S. border enforcement becomes tighter, the volume of illegal drugs available on the streets has increased. According to President Calderon, “The search for markets for consumption in Mexico has spread practically throughout the whole country.”
California residents will soon be voting on Proposition 19, which will legalize the growing and possession of small amounts of marijuana. The proposition has been criticized by President Calderon, who has expressed the belief that Proposition 19 will not contribute to the end of Mexican drug wars, and that drug production, transport and sales will continue to result in the death of innocent people in Mexico.