They were already shipping in drugs by the container load: cocaine, methamphetamine. And they’ve tied into local organized crime gangs. Now, they’re responding to a gun control jurisdiction by throwing a few pounds of pistols, rifles and automatic weapons atop their lucrative drug cargoes, and presto: the cartels have a new profit center. Meanwhile, violence escalates in the country, driven by the supply of these arms directly to violent criminals.
Oh, one thing. We should probably mention that “the country” is Australia. Where guns (at least semi-auto and pump long guns) are already outlawed. (And they’re aching to ban lever-actions, too, perhaps after watching Ned Kelly over and over again).
According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph (Google Search here gets you in, if you’re not a subscriber)
The violent cartels have made Australia their new prime target and are selling illicit drugs to bikies, Middle Eastern organised crime and Asian gangs with added sweeteners such as handguns, as they attempt to saturate the market with their products, according to a report by the University of Canberra.
The Australian Federal Police yesterday confirmed the Mexican scourge was increasing because “the price they can obtain is significantly higher than that of other markets”.
The TG quoted the splendidly hyphenated Canberra professor, Dr Althea McCarthy-Jones (heareafter DAMC-J to save time), as saying:
Their presence threatens to not only increase the supply of illicit drugs in Australia but encourage turf wars, increase the amount of guns in the country, tax border security resources and threaten the stability and good governance of South Pacific transit spots.
They have already established linkages in the Asia-Pacific and are attempting to expand these with a particular focus on penetrating the Australian market.
Why Australia, the antipodean paradise? Money.
A kilogram of cocaine in Australia can fetch up to $350,000, while the same amount of the illicit drug will make $118,000 in the United Kingdom and just $73,000 in the United States. Methamphetamine seizures and parcel post trafficking, with Mexican origins, have increased significantly in the past three years, according to the [Australian Federal Police].
And, while the Australian coppers don’t know how much they’re missing, they do know how much they’re seizing, and how many mooks they’re charging with importation (thrice the numbers in 2006):
Drug importation offences in NSW have increased by 10.7 per cent each year for the past 10 years, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. Last year more than 58,000 charges for drug importation were handed out by police. In 2006 just 21,512 charges were filed.
Has any of you seen an investment with 11% year-on-year growth in recent years? (Well, gun business in the Obama years, perhaps).
And they know where it’s coming from. It’s hecho en Mexico, according to an AFP spox:
The chemical signatures of recent seizures suggest that a significant amount of methamphetamine coming into Australia may originate in Mexico, though it may appear to come from transhipment points in other countries.
Drugs, now with bundled guns.
This was eminently predictable. The Sydney Morning Herald noted in 2014 that drug cartels were aiming at OZ, because there was vast profit in it. Judy Lind of the Australian Crime Commission (which is presumably something to do with fighting crime, and not organizing it) had this to say:
Australians, for whatever reason, are prepared to pay a high price for illicit drugs, probably because they can. Australia is a wealthy country.
And in the last four or five years, international drug cartels cottoned on to that, they are prepared to try and ship products from South America and other countries to try and get it into the Australian market.
Perhaps they didn’t listen to her because she had a simple name. Maybe they will pay attention to DAMC-J.
And the British Daily Mail had a story last year about MS-13, a violent El Salvadoran/American street gang, shipping dope to OZ. The Mail’s down-under correspondent helpfully explains:
S-13 refers to the Mara Salvatrucha crime syndicate, which has been implicated in murder, torture, drugs, money laundering and rape since the early 1980s.
Actually, LE sources tell us it’s, “rape, murder, torture, drugs, money laundering and rape.” They say “rape” twice. (They like rape).
Again, the Mail’s quoted experts emphasized the rich nature of the market under the Southern Cross:
What is undeniable is Australia’s lucrative drugs market has attracted the attention of some of the most notorious crime gangs in the world.
Already the operations of the equally fierce Sinaloa cartel have been exposed with the arrest of two Mexican nationals last year over a massive ice haul.
They were believed to have links to the international drug trafficking and organised crime syndicate run by escapee Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
You may remember the Sinaloa Cartel. They’re the ones that ATF senior managers worked hand-in-glove with in the hopes of creating more murders, and a call for gun control; an objective that backfired on ATF when the guns they supplied to the Sinaloa Cartel were used to murder Federal agents from other agencies. (However, none of the ATF accessories to these murders were charged, or even disciplined. A badge is a patent of nobility).
‘Recently, we have seen the emergence of Mexican cartel activity within Australia,’ said Chris Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission.
‘In July (2014), the Australian Crime Commission was involved in the arrest of two men allegedly linked to a Mexican drug cartel.’
There’s that Crime Commission again.
In that bust, up to 30 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine was seized, with a street value of more than $30 million.
‘Transnational crime groups, including those based in Mexico, consider Australia an option for importation and distribution of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals because the price they can obtain is significantly higher than that on Mexican and US streets,’ Mr Dawson .
The typical wholesale price per kilogram of cocaine in Colombia is AUD$2,500.
In Mexico it is worth $13,500 per kilogram, and if the same cocaine gets to the US it is worth up to AUD$35,000.
‘But if it makes its way into Australia it is worth $250,000,’ he said.
Markets find their own level. Even Singapore has failed to keep drugs out, and they hang people.