Authorities in Argentina have dismantled an intricate organization illegally selling opioids and counterfeit medicines online to US customers, revealing a number of legal loopholes exploited by these criminal groups
Earlier this month, a federal jury in New York convicted Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the former kingpin of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel, on ten charges related to drug trafficking. El Chapo was stunned, his wife cried, and U.S. authorities crowed.
Authorities in the United States and Mexico are working together to combat criminal groups capitalizing on growing demand for the deadly and highly lucrative synthetic opioid fentanyl, but the US mailing system is quickly emerging as the key ingredient in that fight.
In Los Angeles, Craigslist has emerged in the last few months as a major new marketplace for illicit fentanyl. The online classified ad service has for several years been a virtual street corner, a place where drugs are sold under lightly veiled pseudonyms: black-tar heroin (“roofing tar”), crystal methamphetamine (“clear sealant”), or generic and most likely counterfeit oxycodone 30 mg pills (“M30”).
With a well-known route through the Southern Cone decimated and authorities combing the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, drug traffickers are turning to the Pacific Ocean to ship their illicit wares to North America.
The Mérida Initiative celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Yet since it began providing funding for security in Mexico, problems to do with violence and institutionalized corruption have worsened, suggesting flaws in both the approach and implementation of the Initiative.