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Washington Post Examines Links Among Mexican Government, Economy and Drug Traffickers; Alleges U.S. Aware of Traffickers' Influence


April 1995

According to a series in The Washington Post, the United States government is aware of the growing influence of narcotics organizations on the Mexican political system but is unwilling to take actions that might jeopardize relations between the two countries (Pierre Thomas and Daniel Williams, "Washington Knew About Accusations of Narcotics Links," Washington Post, Mar. 12, 1995, p. A1; Tod Roberrson and Douglas Farah, "Mexican Cartels Expanding Role In Trafficking," Washington Post, Mar. 12, 1995, p. A1; Tod Roberrson, "Elite's Role is Recurrent Issue in Mexican Crimes, Crises," Washington Post, Mar. 12, 1995, p. A18).

The articles argue that the once-small transshipment operations for Colombian drug cartels have blossomed into independent and dangerous syndicates. The U.S., concerned about alienating Mexican officials, continues to ignore government links to narcotics organizations in order to increase international trade markets and to control immigration, the articles say.

In order to secure trafficking routes, Mexican cartels have extended influence over law enforcement and government officials. Members of the drug cartels have been linked to the murders of a number of political figures, including Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo and former presidential candidates Luis Donaldo Colosio and Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

The articles trace an international money trail from Mexican drug organizations to Colombian cartels and Italian Mafia. Within Mexico, the authors find that drug money fuels the tourist industry and controls the country's stock market. Mexican bankers cited in the articles even tie a transfer of funds by drug organizations to the devaluation of the peso in Dec. 1994.