Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cartel Drug War Death Toll Double 2008 – up 40% Over 2009

Speed – rot your veins, rot your brains, cucaracha! - Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention

Violent deaths in Mexico's drug cartel wars jumped 40 percent over 2009, topping 11,000 in 2010 - more than double the 2008 death toll of 5,207.

What's the difference? What has caused the rate of soldiers killing soldiers in the private armies of the drug world – and the collateral damage they cause to other lives - to skyrocket?

The Sinaloa and Juarez gangs are fighting it out for control of the choice smuggling routes through El Paso del Norte at Ciudad Juarez; on the Gulf Coast, in Tamaulipas State's natural border crossings at Matamoros and Reynosa, Roma and Zapata, former enforcers for the Gulf cartel known as Los Zetas, special forces defectors so-called for the fact that their commanders have traditionally used the HF radio “Z” channel for tactical communications, are killing and beheading anyone who gets in their way.

But what drives the deal, fuels the violence, makes it worth the struggle to kill or be killed?


Glass. Crank. Ice. Crystal. You got it, and it's right out there on America's Main Street, I-35, where it snakes smack dab through the middle of your town.

Methamphetamines are the new drug of choice for down-and-out Americans who can't afford the lazy effects of marijuana, the stupefying action of opiates, or the high price tag that comes with cocaine and its low-rent, smokable form, crack.

You can smoke speed, shoot it in your veins, or snort it.

The result?

A feeling of euphoria consumes the mind and body, the heart races, adrenaline pumps through the system and neural synapses snap, crackle and pop with pleasure center neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.

Think Hitler doing a speech at Nuremberg, his arms waving wildly, his mustard gas-ravaged voice screaming over the short waves while tens of thousands of newly clad and jackbooted soldiers who were starving vagrants only a few months previously cheer at the top of their lungs, shouting their hailings to the high heaven of Valhalla, praying for death in some glorious, yet pointless battle with – what?

Yeah, der fuehrer had a little problem with crystal. His doctah used to tell him it was vitamin therapy, a little chicken soup for the dictatorial world shaker so long suppressed by the Jewish bankers and other money changers at the temple gates.

Pretty hateful image, huh?

Ah, well, you know, show biz. As my old friend, a cockney survivor of the London Blitz, used to say, “The German blokes went for Hitler in a very big way, didn't they? Kind of speaks volumes about their preferences, gov-nah. Wink's as good as a nod, old man. I think you take my meaning.”

If that's a little too harsh a picture for you, just think back to the cartoonist R. Crumb's classic character stomping through the barrio scenes of “Zap Comix,” published by The Company & Sons, Inc., a cartoon balloon filled with nothing but exclamation points suspended over his head and no one with whom he could really rap.

It's called chemical warfare, and it is very, very effective, very deadly and very expensive to the society surrounding its ill effects, containing its neural mayhem, absorbing its malignancy.

We're talking heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, dementia, brain lesions, loss of teeth, hair, flesh, a lowered resistance to staph infection, low birth weight and brain damage in infants – you name it, you got it.

Who needs it?

People think they do when they're working two jobs and looking for a third part-timer, a little something to get the family through December - and beyond.

But it doesn't last long. Soon the drug takes hold and destroys every shred of human decency that ever accrued, leaving a shell of a person who will do anything for his next bump, even if it's bunk stuff. Just the ritual of fixing, smoking or snorting is a part of the sick little thrill.

The key to “cooking” the stuff is a short cut precursor chemical called epinephrine – or pseudoepinephrine – an ingredient of cold medication that brings the chemical changes together. The rest of the stuff – items like muriatic acid, lithium from batteries, red phosphorous from match heads, anhydrous ammonia from the gin or grain silo – you can get anywhere in central Texas.
Big box stores like Wal-Mart, drug chains and other retail outlets have an “eye in the sky” system manned by security officers and narcotics agents, cash registers that scan and record purchases, and video surveillance of parking lots to keep track of what they drove and which way they went when they made the getaway.


People are going to jail left and right trying to do business in that tired old same same kind of way.

Gone are the days when a crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts could persuade a friendly shirt tail marginal rancher to locate a trailer on his back 40, put in a propane tank and get a long gone daddy willing to take the risk to fire up the lab and run off some batches of this stuff.

You can make $1,500 worth with $50 to $100 worth of supplies. But there is no way to compete with the cartels, and that's all washed up. What's the secret of their success?

The answer is simple enough.

The cartels are able to buy, import in bulk, and use this cold tablet stuff to make crank. They get it in shipping containers at Veracruz and on the west coast at such facilities as Punta Colonet at Ensenada.

Then they set up a lab in a jungle or a mountainous desert and guard it with AK-47's, home made alarms and vicious pit bulls.

The way to get it across the border is simple enough. You put it in one of thousands of semi-trailers and shipping containers that cross the border every day in the NAFTA trade.

Since they started growing grass in the national forests, the cartels use marijuana as an easily detectable, very smelly loss leader a dope dog can sniff out with ease, a decoy load to confuse and occupy the ICE agents and Border Patrol while the much more lucrative load slips through under shipping seal, its transit bond posted and the import duty satisfied by a reputable customs broker.

Authorities continue to seek a 26-year-old Laredo man named Jose Juan Gonzalez, Jr.

He and two companions blundered badly on December 2 when they allowed the semi-truck in which they were traveling to run out of fuel at the 331 mile marker on I-35, right in front of the Flying J truck stop in Waco.
A K-9 unit detected close to a half-ton of grass in the trailer, an amount which, at the street price of $40 per ounce, will bring almost a half million dollars.

DPS Trooper Estes stopped to assist and was unable to apprehend Mr. Gonzalez when he fled on foot. The two other men, both of Laredo, are being held on $50,000 on the charge of possession of marijuana over 500 pounds and under 2000. They are Efren Narro, 26, and Thomas Rodriguez, 42.

Mr. Gonzalez was reportedly busted the week before in possession of $28,000 he couldn't explain and in Laredo, where officers investigated a warehouse he controls and found a reason to detain him.

When you're hot, you're hot. But, then, some like it like that. Hot. Yeah.

Bon appetit, ami!

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