Violent Mexican drug cartels, including the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, have infiltrated Australia, a senior US government official has confirmed.
Rodney G Benson, the chief of intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), painted an alarming picture of the growing influence Mexican cartels have in trafficking cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine around the world and also the violence they inflict while fighting for market share.
In Mexico last year there were more than 15,200 drug-related murders.
“Of the Mexican drug trafficking organisations, the Sinaloa Cartel has the broadest reach into Europe, Asia, and Australia,” Mr Benson said during testimony to two US House of Representative subcommittees last week.
The Sinaloa Cartel is a powerful consortium of independent Mexican drug trafficking groups operating as an alliance with “the common goal of trafficking multi-tonne quantities of cocaine from South America into the United States”, Mr Benson said.
The cartel is composed of many independent leaders, most notably kingpins Joaquin Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and Juan Jose Esparragoza-Moreno.
Mexico is not a coca-producing country, but Mexican traffickers have extended their reach into sources of cocaine supply in South America, including Colombia and Peru.
“Demonstrating an even further reach into global cocaine markets, Mexican drug traffickers have evolved into intermediate sources of supply for cocaine markets in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East,” Mr Benson told the subcommittees.
A report released by the Australian Crime Commission in April noted “Mexican criminals have become more prevalent as principals in the importation and supply of cocaine and associated money laundering” in Australia.
The global drug trafficking industry is worth an estimated $US322 billion ($A331.17 billion) a year, a figure exceeding the gross domestic product of many nations.
– Article from The Sydney Morning Herald.