The War On Drugs Is Still Not Working

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fuerza_del_Estado_Michoac%C3%A1n.jpg">Diego Fernández</a>/Wikimedia Commons

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Four decades ago, President Nixon launched the US-led global War on Drugs. It has cost the nation over a trillion dollars. 50,000 people have lost their lives to shootouts, bombings, torture, and execution, and that’s only counting six years in Mexico.

And it is still not working. Here’s an excerpt from an AP investigation released on Monday:

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.

If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.

[…]

“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office…”People think, ‘The border’s 1,700 miles away. This isn’t our problem.’ Well, it is. These days, we operate as if Chicago is on the border.”

The nonprofit Chicago Crime Commission recently named Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa cartel, the city’s “Public Enemy No. 1,” even though Guzman has never even been to Chicago.

The AP investigation notes recent cases indicative of cartel expansion in suburbs and cities of non-border states like Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

On a related note, here’s a chart, courtesy of filmmaker Matt Groff:

This is your tax dollars on drugs. Read the whole AP report here.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate