Marijuana seized in Mexico

Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel controls more than 40 land, sea and air marijuana trafficking routes that run throughout Mexico and to various parts of the US and Europe, highlighting the extent of the organization's control over the trade.

According to government documents obtained by La Jornada, the Sinaloa Cartel controls the majority of areas where marijuana is cultivated in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states, and also vies for power over cultivation in Oaxaca and Guerrero with the Zetas.

The majority -- 90 percent -- of the marijuana is moved by land, with routes originating in Guerrero and Oaxaca leading to the capital, and other routes moving south to north or inland to the coast. Land routes used to traffic marijuana to the United States include Tijuana to Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Ciudad Juarez to San Antonio, Texas; and Chihuahua to Douglas, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.

From the capital, marijuana flights leave bound for various US cities, including Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, and for European cities such as Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Madrid, Spain, which are used as jumping off points for marijuana distribution in Europe.Chapo Marihuana Routes

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico is one of the world's biggest marijuana supplier countries, with North America as a whole accounting for 69 percent of global marijuana seizures in 2011 -- the majority in the United States and Mexico, according to the United Nations' 2013 World Drug Report.

The extent of the Sinaloa Cartel's control over Mexican marijuana routes and production is not surprising, given various operations that have pointed to Sinaloa involvement in the past two years. In November 2011, US authorities took down a smuggling operation believed to have trafficked $2 billion in drugs from Mexico to Arizona, including 1,300 tons of marijuana, with the Sinaloa Cartel thought to be the source of the drugs. The largest marijuana farm ever found in Mexico as of 2011 -- 120 hectares -- was located in Baja California, a Sinaloa Cartel operational center.

What is perhaps most interesting is that the cartel is shipping marijuana to Europe. According to European police force Europol [pdf], most of the marijuana consumed in European countries does not come from Latin America but is either imported from North Africa, South-West Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and sub-Saharan Africa or it is grown locally. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

In the photograph, they are both smiling. In the foreground, on the left hand side, a man in a short-sleeved buttoned white shirt, jeans and a metal watch, holds a bottle of water in his right hand. He laughs heartily. He is Herbert Saca. On the right...