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Drug Cartel Research Paper

Colombia has been a very unstable country for the past fifty years. Beginning in the

1960s Marxist guerilla groups formed. The two strongest groups called themselves the National

Liberation Army (ELN) and the other was the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

(FARC). Making things worse, in the 1970s drug trafficking became a huge problem for

Colombia. Drug cartels pretty much controlled the country starting in the mid-1970s. By the

1990s right-wing paramilitaries had formed. They were made mainly of drug traffickers and

landowners. The main paramilitary group called themselves the United Self Defense Forces of

Colombia (AUC).

Since the 1970s, Colombia has been home to some of the most violent and sophisticated

drug trafficking organizations in the world. What started as a small cocaine smuggling business

has, in the last thirty years, blossomed into an enormous multi-national cocaine empire. Starting

in the mid-1970s, marijuana traffickers in Colombia began exporting small quantities of cocaine

to the United States hidden in suitcases. "At that point, cocaine could be processed for $1500 a

kilo in jungle labs and could be sold on the streets of America for as much as $50,000 a kilo"


Today, Colombia supplies up to 80 percent of the world's cocaine, and about 70 percent

of the cocaine that enters the United States. "Production has been steadily rising, it is up 20

percent in the past fifteen years" (Grossman). Illegal crops remain, by far, the most lucrative of

all the agricultural products in Colombia. The narcotics industry accounts for about three

percent of Colombia's gross domestic income.

The majority of the coca leaves are grown on large plantations in southern and central

Colombia, most of which are under the control of large drug cartels. "Recently, coca growers

have burned 2.4 million hectares of rain forest to clear for new areas of cultivation" (Grossman).

Poor peasants are recruited to work the land and harvest illicit crops as their major source of

income. In other cases, the FARC forces farmers to pick coca fields.

With its convenient access to the Caribbean Sea, the Isthmus of Panama, and the Pacific

Ocean, Colombia is well equipped to serve as a major exporter of illicit drugs north towards the

U.S. Highly organized smuggling cartels based in cities like Cali, Medellin, and Bogota arrange

for the export of narcotics by the bulk, primarily to the United States.

Narcotics can be shipped from ports along South America's coastal regions or

transported via ground routes running through Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Traffickers use fishing vessels, commercial cargo ships and stealthier speed boats to smuggle

massive amounts of cocaine from Colombia to Central America, Mexico and several Caribbean

countries. From there they make their way to the U.S. mainland.

In the history of Colombian drug cartels there are two names that will most definitely be

acknowledged, the Medellin cartel and the Cali cartel. These are the most notorious groups of

drug traffickers in the history of Colombia, even perhaps in the world.

The Medellin cartel started off with six members. The leader of this group was Pablo

Escobar, the others were Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacho, and brothers Jorge, Fabio and Juan


"Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacho had roots in Colombia's somewhat murky emerald trade.

The Ochoa brothers were from a well respected ranching and horsing family. And the violent

leader, Pablo Escobar, was a common street thief who masterminded the criminal enterprise that

became known as the Medellin cartel" (

The men from Medellin joined together with, marijuana smuggler, Carlos Lehder, who

convinced them that they could fly cocaine in small airplanes directly into the United States,

avoiding the need for countless suitcase trips. The large quantities and the growing appetite for

cocaine in the United States led to huge profits, which the cartel began re-investing into more

sophisticated labs, better airplanes and even an island in the Caribbean where the planes could


Violence was an integral part of the operations of the Medellin syndicate from the start.

As the organization grew in size, power and wealth, it also grew in ruthlessness and violence.

After first establishing their dominance on the South American side of the market, in 1978 and

1979 the Medellin drug bosses turned their attention to control the wholesale distribution in the




 but little more” (“The drug war 

next door




The problem with some people’s lack of 

knowledge on this on-

going battle is that it isn’t just some violence at the border; it is a serious

threat to the country as a whole


“Mexican drug cartels have a presence in some 230 U






There have been murders and kidnappings on

this side of the border” (“The drug war next door 



The drug wars are occurring everywhere, not just at the border


This puts everyone in danger,and people should have an idea of what kind of danger that is surrounding them


The U




President Obama

has also recognized it and it’s danger to the U




, “

The Obama Administrationannounced plans for tighter security along the Mexican border yesterday as it voiced fears thatviolence from a growing drugs war would spill over into the United States

” (“US OrdersClampdown…”)


Organized crime groups and drug cartels are not only a threat to the security of a nation, buteveryone in it


“Organized gangs specialize in kidnapping migrants and forcing them to turn over 

their money and to work for them or face death


Last year, more than 15,000 people weremurdered in Mexico

” (“

Charred remains of Mexican drug wars




They do not discriminatewho, or who not to harm


They kill innocent people for no reason


An example of such a cruel

act of savagery is, “Police have found nine plastic bags and a barrel filled with charred humanremains in Mexico’s northern state of Dur 

ango, the latest grim find tied to a drug war that

claimed a record number of lives last month” (“

Charred remains of Mexican drug wars




Theyhave also taken a step forward and have started killing people in the press


Dozens of journalists