It's A Gray Area: A view of the U.S., as seen from Mexico

August 13, 2011|By James P. Gray

I have been speaking out for more than 19 years against our nation's policy of drug prohibition, but recently I encountered a view from Mexico that I had not heard before.

It was titled "Drug Trafficker's Paradise," and was written by Francisco Martin Moreno in a column published on the Internet. Here is a summary of the questions he asked and what he wrote.

Do you know the name of a single American drug kingpin of our times? I am, of course, not referring to the infamous "gangsters" of the Prohibition era in the United States, such as Capone, Dillinger and Frank Nitti (among so many underworld characters) who found in the United States the fertile ground necessary to develop and reach international "prestige."


We knew García Abrego, Caro Quintero, "El Güero Palma," the Arellano brothers, etc. among other leaders of Mexico's meager underworld. But in the U.S., the most coveted drug market on Earth, are there no drug kingpins when they deal in a drug business worth more than $500 billion?

Is there no last name that stands out for its efficiency and popularity? Or is it simply that there are no drug traffickers to share the long-standing American criminal tradition?

I know! In the U.S., drugs are dealt "by themselves." The drugs are dropped off at the border by Mexican or Latin American "mules" and reach (as if by magic) the hands of consumers without any further effort.

Of all the marijuana that is consumed in that country, for example, 35% is produced in Texas, Arizona and California without the authorities ever finding a plantation, any drugs incinerated in public, or anyone being placed in federal prison, and their assets sold at auction to the highest bidder.

I guess the marijuana was planted by itself, harvested by itself, distributed by itself and the resulting proceeds laundered by themselves ...

Is this not truly amazing?

We never hear of a harsh blow being dealt to drug trafficking in the United States as is commonly done in Mexico. We never see photographs of American drug kingpins arrested and covered in blue FBI jackets, hands and feet in shackles, wearing bulletproof vests and helmets, and with a huge police escort to prevent attacks on their lives that could prevent them from informing on the identity and activities of their associates ...

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