Have you ever wondered how much money is spent on illegal drugs annually? So far over $352,492,916,346 has been spent on drugs worldwide. Drug trafficking is a business that just keeps on growing. Many attempts have been made to control global drug production and supply resulting in the current form with the 1961 UN single convention on drugs. These attempts include harsher laws regarding drug trafficking. Government uses the police and military for the enforcement of laws, and to punish users.
However, prohibiting a commodity for which there is high demand inevitably creates profit opportunities for criminal entrepreneurs, pushing production, supply and consumption into an illicit parallel economy. Countries all around the world have been struggling with the war on drug trafficking which has led to illegal acts involving cartel organization, manufacturing, distribution, trafficking and the addiction to drugs. It is estimated that $130 billion will be spent on cocaine alone at the end of 2015. 40 tons of cocaine is distorted yearly out of Latin America to Mexico, and around 80 tons to Europe.
Dug trafficking starts with the manufacturing of drugs in countries with very lenient drug prohibition laws and/or little government supervision, countries such as China, Thailand and Mexico. Drug distribution has increased over the last decade, leading to the success of trades like the Golden Triangle (a region in Northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar that is infamously known as a production region of drugs) and of Mexican cartels.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, a country near Thailand, is the world’s second largest opium producer, behind Afghanistan. Most of the world’s heroin comes from the Golden Triangle, which consist of the countries of Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The Golden Triangle is known as the world’s drug center. At one point The golden gate was known to be the biggest cultivator of opium poppies (the flower used to produce heroin) in the world until eradication efforts in the late 1990’s brought cultivation plummeting, Afghanistan is now the biggest cultivator of opium poppies in the world.
However production in the gold has been on the rise once more due to a better transport infrastructure as well as an increasing number of heroin users in the surrounding countries. Due to the rising number of heroin user’s opium poppy cultivation rose to 63,800 hectares in 2013. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, also known as UNODC, is trying to gain some control over this issue. The UNDODC looks to limit trafficking by only allowing a low number of imports of manufacturing chemicals and materials, better equipping less-capable local police, the UNODC has not yet developed national programs to combat trafficking.
In the beginning of the year, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China launched a program to curbing the illegal trafficking, with each nation realizing that the problem could not be handled by each country alone. By combining forces they have more power to compete with this problem. Thailand now hosts the Safe Mekong Co-ordination Centre (SMCC) in Chiang Mai town, which helps coordinate investigations between the four nations. The Golden Triangle has mass poverty and that allows the drug producers to be able to have workers that get paid as little as $2. 50 per hour.
Hired labor on an illegal opium farm in Kachin state will earn up to $8 per hour. Because of the area, they can pay less per hour and get more workers; producing more drugs with less cost and more efficiency. In Central Asia 375 million tons of heroin flow from Afghanistan abroad annually. 160 tons of those drugs are trafficked through Pakistan. In 2009, dealers had a net income of $650 million. 115 tons were trafficked into Iran and Turkey, 90 tons trafficked to the rest of Central Asia. UN predicts Afghanistan to become major hashish producer thus causing more crime in the country.
South and Central America, and the Caribbean also play a big part in the drug trafficking world. Majority of cocaine found in Europe is manufactured in Colombia and the majority of cocaine seized in United States comes from Bolivia and Peru. Both Bolivia and Peru have a share of cocaine found in Europe gaining on Colombia. In a lot of these countries people are facing allot of poverty, violence and corruption follow drug production and trafficking in the regions. The UNODC instituted another Regional Program in Central America.
The program operates in conjunction with regional and national initiative. The Caribbean is a “principal corridor” for drug trafficking to US and Europe. Meaning that the Caribbean has a reliable strong rout to transport legal drugs to the US and Europe. Mexico is the country most impacted by drug trafficking. It is one of the world’s leading nations in smuggling drugs into other countries, more specifically to the United States. The Mexican Organized drug trafficking crime groups are producing cartels, corruption, drug war, and violence.
The drug cartels are extremely large, highly sophisticated organizations composed of multiple drug trafficking organizations that specialize in different assignments such as drug transportation, security/enforcement, and money laundering. They are responsible for the production, transportation, and distribution of illegal drugs. Cartels are able to do this with the assistance of DTOs (Mexico’s drug trafficking organization) that are either a part of or in an alliance with the cartel.
Some famous cartels include the Zeta Cartel which is known mostly for its brutality, the Sinaloa cartel which is recognized as a global power in the black market, The Tijuana Cartel which was considered by the police in the 1990’s and early 2000’s to be one of, “the biggest and most violent criminal groups in Mexico,” according to the Arizona Daily Star. The Gulf Cartel, Juarez Cartel are just examples of some of the more infamous ones. The Mexican cartels are very sophisticated, wellstructured, complex businesses.