Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More on Wikileaked cables

I was just reading through another of those Wikileaks cables regarding Mexico, and saw one that addresses Mexican cartel expansion around the world.

Spanish Customs Director Nicolas Bonilla, according to the cable, told a visiting Janet Napolitano that Mexicans were replacing Colombians as the primary cocaine traffickers to Spain.

This comes as old news to those who follow the developments of the global drug trade, but it is interesting to hear it from such high-ranking sources. In 2008, a US counter-drug official warned me that within a few years, Mexican passports would replace Colombian as the "red flag" du jour – because Mexicans were increasingly trafficking the drugs to other continents on behalf of the Colombians, they would account for the majority of busts, and any Mexican citizens traveling would, by default (and wrongly, unfortunately) become suspect simply because they were carrying a Mexican passport.

Which brings me to a bit of good news: some Mexican citizens will soon be able to get "trusted traveler" status. If they pass a background check in Mexico, they'll be able to then basically skip through customs on the US side, like a lot of other frequent US travelers.

Of course, this move has its share of critics; I read recently on Fox News (surprise surprise) that this might allow the cartels to exploit the status and use "trusted travelers" to bring in their drugs, for instance.

Ok, the cartels are quick to exploit most loopholes, but I honestly don't think they'd be able to exploit this program more than they exploit the current system. And individual travelers carrying a few kilos of marijuana, cocaine or heroin are small fry compared to planes flying into places like Stow, Ohio, with tons of drugs from Sinaloa on board.

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