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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Yes, We Negotiate With Terrorists: DEA Cut Deal With Sinaloa Cartel

Posted By on Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Joaquin Guzman, America's buddy
  • Joaquin Guzman, America's buddy

Today's big news is courtesy of Mexican newspaper El Universal, which brings us the bombshell that American Drug Enforcement Agency agents cut a clandestine deal with the biggest drug dealer in the world.

In exchange for info on other cartels, DEA agents allowed the Sinaloa cartel to smuggle drugs across the border unmolested, according to El Universal. Sinaloa is run by Joaquin Guzman, who is constantly rated as one of the richest and most powerful men on earth, and controls 80 percent of the drug trade in Chicago, America's second-biggest city.

Worse, the relationship between the DEA and the cartel with which it's supposed to be at war was closest from 2006 to 2012, when drug-related killings in Mexico reached their recent, bloody peak.

Should any of this be a surprise? To people living in the country that supplied both Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein with aid and intelligence, it sure shouldn't be.

In court documents unearthed by the newspaper, DEA agents testified that they met "at least 50" times with top Sinaloa lieutenants in Mexico City, including Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla and Sinaloa lawyer Loya Castro.

In exchange for the DEA dropping charges against Castro and the Sinaloas giving over Zambada-Niebla to authorities, the DEA allowed Sinaloas to continue ferrying marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs into the United States. The Sinaloas in return gave the DEA information on other cartels.

This should be troubling to every American who is concerned about violence across the border, especially considering that drug violence reached its peak during the time when the Sinaloas and the DEA were supposedly the closest. It could be said that violence in Mexico became its worst and most surreal as a result of the ease with which Sinaloa ferried narcotics into the USA.

It's still early, but it'll be interesting to see what reaction this causes on Capitol Hill, where Republican leaders like Rep. Darrell Issa have repeatedly called for the head of Attorney General Eric Holder for the "Fast and Furious" operation.

Already, though, the DEA has some defenders. This -- a violation of international law as well as an abuse of America's relationship with Mexico, which which the United States is supposedly a bilateral partner in combating the drug war -- is nonetheless standard operating procedure, a criminal expert told El Universal.

And the existence of a deal cut between Mexican drug cartels, which some lawmakers call "terrorists," and American authorities has been rumored at for years. Such negotiations are how you do business, and the cartels are some of the world's most-powerful businessmen.

Because, ultimately, to understand the drug war, you need only understand the economy. As journalist Alfredo Corchado, the Mexico City bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, explains in his "Midnight in Mexico," the cartels have a stranglehold on Mexico because they offer what no one else can: money, and lots of it.

It is a conundrum familiar to many inner cities in America: flip burgers or break your back for minimum wage (and even that is not guaranteed), or dive into the drug game and be able to afford cars, clothes and everything else?

It appears the DEA knows this, too.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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