Nearly all of the violence we read about in Mexico is due to turf wars between gangs of drug movers. Drug movers move loads of drugs in bulk, north to the United States. And, of course, counter to what the Mexican government says about only Gringos being consumers of drugs, those gangs, or cartels, also fight for exclusive rights to retail sales of drugs on their hard fought for turf right here in Mexico.
But what about the police who are killed in these turf wars? That’s a tragedy, but the real tragedy is that nearly all those police who are killed were in cahoots with the druggies. The police often choose up sides in the turf wars, and when one side discovers a certain policeman is helping their competition, that policeman is assassinated in such a violent way in hopes of sending a message to other policeman not to align themselves with the wrong side. Of course, then the other side has to make an example of a policeman who won’t play ball with them by killing an officer in an even more nasty and public way.
Here in southern Baja we are often called, “almost an island”, and we are. Look at the map shown on this page. To get the drugs over here from the mainland on their journey north, they would have to bring them over on the ferry, which is a huge bottle neck, easily searched.
And if they did manage to get the drugs here, they would have to move them north on the only road that winds its way up the Baja. That is easily controlled by the seven check points manned by soldiers. For that reason, we have no turf wars here in Baja. Again, see the map on this page that explains which cartels control which parts of Mexico.
Last week there was a shoot out between druggies and police just north of Cabo San Lucas. Here’s the skinny on that:
This was not cartel against cartel, this was our local drug dealers against our local police. Yes, we have local drug dealers, and yes some of our police are in cahoots with the trade. Of course they are, or they couldn’t be selling it on the streets. But again, what saves us is this is such a small market, there are no well financed cartels killing each other over rights to sell drugs in our city.
And if you’re surprised that there are drugs on our streets, just look around. It doesn’t speak well for us Americans that their best clients is us. Watch the guys on the marina front selling silver jewelry. They hold chains out on the back of their hands and if you don’t buy that, they flip their hand around and they have a packet of a drug in their palm. Do you think they would be plying the tourist areas if we weren’t buying? But again, there are not enough drug sales here to attract the turf wars that are waging on the mainland of Mexico.
So, about that shoot out last week:
A state comandante, head of the homicide division here in Los Cabos, was doing his job, ratting out a local drug leader. A colleague in his department, a bad cop who was actuallyworking for the local druggies, heard about it, and told the drug leader. The druggies then assassinated the comandante. That pissed off the police, and they went after the local drug dealers, which they could have done at any time but for god knows what reason they never did.
The local druggies were armed to the teeth and defended themselves. And that is the gun shots many people heard. A sailor stationed at the local navy base was killed and one druggie was killed. Eight baddies were under arrest at press time, and the police anticipated that “interrogation methods” would lead to more arrests.
President Calderon himself has acknowledged that he screwed up starting this drug war before he fixed the police departments, weeding out those on the take, training them better, and raising their salaries. Because with a good police force, it’s not that hard to stamp out drug violence. Maybe drug sales and use can’t be stamped out, but the violence we see in Mexico can be stopped. After all, you don’t see these scenes of mayhem in the United States. It would not be tolerated by the citizens, therefore, it is not tolerated by the police. Look no further than the city of Juarez, ground zero for terrible drug violence in Mexico. Just over the border in El Paso Texas there is no violence, none. All crime statistics have actually gone down this year.
So, what is in Cabo’s future, relating to drug crime? That is entirely up to our police force and our courts. If all the corrupt police are purged from the force, and if the police have the will to hold the drug dealing in Los Cabos in check, we will continue to be safe.
And we need to remember that the shooting occurred because the police were doing their job, not looking the other way and allowing the retail drug sales to escalate out of control. And we need to remember that they did a good job of securing the area, arresting no less than eight bad guys, with no civilians hurt.
This article was forwarded to me by a friend who has a business in Cabo, not sure of the original source.-- Dean