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What in the World?

Mexican drug cartels laundering ‘dirty cash’ through US businesses

Mar 16, 2023


America’s top trading partner is also one of its biggest sources of cocaine. For years, Mexican drug cartels have been sending their profits to the United States. In some cases, they have done this through a “sophisticated network of warehouses and front companies” turning “dirty cash” into legal U.S. dollars. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan explains how the cartels launder their drug money through high cash flow North American businesses.

Excerpted from Peter’s Mar. 16 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

There are a few reasons the cartels love their cocaine, mainly because it’s easy to smuggle and cheap to make. But what happens when you sell it? You’re left with a boatload of “dirty cash” you can’t do anything with.

The solution is what has enabled the cartels to put down roots in the Mexican and American economies. And yes, we’re talking about everyone’s favorite pastime: money laundering!

So the cartels get involved with high cash flow businesses, think agriculture, real estate, bars, legalized weed, etc. And now we’re not just talking about a disorganized group of dudes carrying backpacks full of blow; we’re talking about multi-million dollar businesses with deep pockets and lots of connections.

Unfortunately, I can’t offer any quick fixes to this problem…other than STOP DOING COCAINE.

Okay, we’re at part three of the North American drug war. Either way, if you want more information on this, in my first book, accidental superpower, the chapter that I considered the darkest wasn’t the one on the coming breakup of the European Union or wars that would happen in China, it was literally called the North American drug war, of all of the issues out in the international system. And this includes the disintegration of China and what’s going on in Ukraine. It is our relationship with Mexico that it was going to determine the health, the wealth and the security of the American citizens moving forward for decades, Mexico is our number one trading partner. And it is also the vector by which we absorbed cocaine into this country. So we have set up a situation where all of our interests align and are being dealt with in a very, very bad manner, not just by this administration, but by the previous one, and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that, this is not a new problem. Okay, so economics of drugs, it’s obviously about the cocaine. I mean, it’s like you can put a half a million dollars of product in your backpack, of course, it’s about the cocaine, because it has a very high value to pass, it is very easy to smuggle. And so it doesn’t really matter if you have a wall, because somebody with a backpack will just hop in and make themselves very, very wealthy very, very quickly. But once you get cocaine, you then are left for the big fistful of cash. And you can’t exactly put it in a local credit union. So what happens is the cartels try to get into businesses where there’s a fair amount of cash that flows through them. So agricultural harvesting, or processing are relatively popular, as are things like real estate and rental properties. They’re big fans of bars, what they do is they try to get a facility that has a lot of cash flow through and then they just feed some of their drug profits through it, and reported as income and that it can get laundered in into the financial system or at large. And in Mexico City, in the United States. This has brought them into things like avocado and line production, this has brought them into tourism. This has brought them into a real estate rentals, up to and including just like you know, residential real estate, multifamily housing.

The more you do this in a community, the more you start distorting the local economic environment. And that means you have to put another layer into it and you have to get into the political elite. And that means going into universities, going into institutions going to the local government and buying them off so that the taxman doesn’t look too close at the books. And this is how you kind of hollow out systems from the inside. And this is one of the things that Sinhala under El Chapo started to do in places like rural Texas, because it allowed him to get a foothold north of the border, south of the border, there is not a city in which this has not happened to some degree, but it’s really, really popular in agricultural regions, and places where tourism was really strong, like in the Yucatan Peninsula, or in Cabo. Now, a once a country.

Now, what’s a cartel that reaches a certain point, they have enough resources, they can reach up and down the supply chain. If you go north into the United States, you go and you start interfacing with the drug infrastructure for distribution, and it takes you head to head with a lot of the gangs that you either Co Op or kill. If you go the other direction, you go up into Colombia and Bolivia and Ecuador, and you wipe out the local organized crime groups that do the in first steps stomach gurgling, and you start interfacing with the producers of the stuff itself. And you start establishing a paramilitary presence in places like Colombia and Peru and Bolivia. In this case, the Sinaloa has far been the most successful doing all of that. So we’ve got a transnational network that spans a half a dozen to a dozen countries in order to bring us our cocaine. And again, the solution here is very, very simple. Don’t do cocaine. One more thing. I live in Colorado, and one of the things that Colorado has discovered in recent years is that they had a problem with processing the profits. So it used to be that in Colorado, you would basically have a giant walk in safe because he couldn’t put your money in the bank, you couldn’t put in a credit union, which meant that everybody had all this cash lying around, and these dispensaries were paying for everything in cash. Well, the Federal Reserve was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s a crime issue. So what we’re gonna do is we’re going to send armored trucks to all of these dispensaries, we’re going to pick up the cash where to bring it out, we’re going to iron out in the breeze the crap out of it, so it doesn’t smell like pot anymore. And then we’re going to make an electronic deposit into your account on behalf of the Federal Reserve. So no muss no fuss. Well, the Sinaloa hears about this and they believe will be the straight.

US Federal Reserve is now in the business of laundering drug money. Sign us up. And so there’s a lot of this cannabis supply chain in Colorado has been

bought up on all cash offers and is de facto owned by the Sinaloa Cartel so no easy fixes aside from don’t do co carry

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