The drug war along the southern US, and specifically along the US-Mexico border is on-going.
On July 25th, it was announced that 16 US marines were arrested at Camp Pendleton, California for alleged human smuggling and drug offenses.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service carried out a mass arrest of 16 Marines during a battalion formation aboard Camp Pendleton, California, according to Marine Corps officials.
Maj. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times that the Marines questioned and arrested by NCIS ranged in rank from private first class to corporal and hailed from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
Another eight Marines were questioned about their involvement in unrelated drug offenses, according to the press release. According to the Marine Corps, none of the arrested individuals had been supporting military operations along the US-Mexico border.
This marks the second time within one month that marines were arrested in relation to similar crimes.
On July 3rd, Border Patrol agents arrested two Marines, Lance Cpl. Byron Darnell Law II and Lance Cpl. David Javier Salazar-Quintero, near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The two Marines are also part of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton, California.
Both Marines face federal charges for allegedly smuggling three undocumented immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border for financial gain.
Back in March, when US Marines were stationed along the borders to provide support, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said that this was “straining the Marine Corps.”
According to him, less trainings and less budget, as well as losses due Hurricanes Michael and Florence led to less payment for the marines.
So, of course, what else would marines do but actually take part in illegal drug and human trafficking, it’s a natural development of events.
The drug war is going from bad to worse, and the people (at least some of them) deployed to support the efforts are actually supporting the efforts of the wrong side.
On July 18th, Mexican Drug cartel leader el Chapo was sentenced to life in prison in the US.
Regardless, the Mexican Drug cartels appear to be thriving.
U.S. officials celebrated El Chapo’s demise as a triumph in the war on drugs. President Donald Trump has taken an aggressive stance on Mexican drug cartels, vowing at his January of 2017 inauguration to stop “the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives.”
“This sentencing shows the world that no matter how protected or powerful you are, DEA will ensure that you face justice,” said the acting administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Uttam Dhillon, at following Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera Guzmán’s (el Chapo) sentencing.
The Mexican newspaper La Jornada noted that the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. has not diminished since El Chapo’s arrest.
Mexican estimates suggest that, each month, the Sinaloa cartel trades two tons of cocaine and 10,000 tons of marijuana plus heroine, methamphetamine, and other drugs.
After all, obviously the drug war isn’t successful if the US is, to a large degree, depending on a big fence.
When confronted with a high-tech border fence in Arizona, constructed long before Trump’s administration, Mexican smugglers use a catapult to fling hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the American side.
“We’ve got the best fence money can buy,” former DEA chief Michael Brown told New York Times journalist Patrick Radden Keefe in 2017, “and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology.”
Then there’s the other ancient technology perfected by el Chapo: the tunnel. In the past quarter-century, officials have discovered about 180 cleverly disguised illicit passages under the U.S.–Mexico border.
The business doesn’t need el Chapo to run, he is readily and easily replaced. The issue is that, as repeated numerous times – the US doesn’t attempt to treat the underlying disease, but rather only targets the symptoms.
It also begs the question: is the will to actually “win” the drug war there, if even the “good guys” are making money out of it?
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