A drug cartel is any criminal organization with the intention of supplying drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking organizations reached an agreement to coordinate the production and distribution of cocaine. Since that agreement was broken up, drug cartels are no longer actually cartels, but the term stuck and it is now popularly used to refer to any criminal narcotics related organization, such as those in Afghanistan, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The basic structure of a drug cartel is as follows:
- Falcons (Spanish: Halcones): Considered the "eyes and ears" of the streets, the "falcons" are the lowest rank in any drug cartel. They are responsible for supervising and reporting the activities of the police, the military, and rival groups.
- Hitmen (Spanish: Sicarios): The armed group within the drug cartel, responsible for carrying out assassinations, kidnappings, thefts, extortions, operating protection rackets, and defending their plaza (turf) from rival groups and the military.
- Lieutenants (Spanish: Lugartenientes): The second highest position in the drug cartel organization, responsible for supervising the hitmen and falcons within their own territory. They are allowed to carry out low-profile executions without permission from their bosses.
- Drug lords (Spanish: Capos): The highest position in any drug cartel, responsible for supervising the entire drug industry, appointing territorial leaders, making alliances, and planning high-profile executions.
It is worth noting that there are other operating groups within the drug cartels. For example, the drug producers and suppliers, although not considered in the basic structure, are critical operators of any drug cartel, along with the financiers and money launderers. In addition, the arms suppliers operate in a completely different circle, and are technically not considered part of the cartel’s logistics.
- 1 Africa
- 2 Americas
- 3 Asia
- 4 Eurasia
- 5 Europe
- 6 Middle East
- 7 Other parts of the world
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The United States of America is the world's largest consumer of cocaine and other illegal drugs. This is a list of American criminal organizations involved in illegal drug traffic, drug trade and other related crimes in the United States:
- 18th Street gang
- Albanian Mafia
- American Mafia
- Aryan Brotherhood
- Barrio Azteca
- Black Guerilla Family
- Black Mafia Family
- Chaldean Mafia
- Detroit Partnership
- Gangster Disciples
- Hell's Angels
- Highwaymen Motorcycle Club
- Latin Kings (gang)
- Logan Heights Gang
- Maniac Latin Disciples
- Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)
- Mexican Mafia (LA Eme)
- MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha)
- Mongols MC
- Norteños 14
- Nuestra Familia
- Outlaws MC
- Raza Unida
- Spanish Cobras
- Sureños 13
- Texas Syndicate
- The Devil's Rejects (The People's Syndicate)
- Tango Blast
- Tri City Bombers
- Vagos MC
- Vice Lords
- Zoe Pound
- Not to be confused with the Mexican Mafia U.S. street gang.
Mexican cartels (also known in Mexico as: La Mafia (the mafia or the mob), La Maña (the skill / the bad manners), Narcotraficantes (Narco-Traffickers), or simply as Narcos) is a generic term that usually refers to several, usually rival, criminal organizations that are combated by the Mexican government in the Mexican War on Drugs (List sorted by branches and heritage):
- Gulf Cartel (The oldest Mexican Criminal syndicate, started as prohibition-era bootlegging gang)
- Guadalajara Cartel (The first full-fledged Mexican Drug cartel, from which most of the big cartels spawned) (Disbanded in 1989)
- Sinaloa Cartel (Spawned from the Guadalajara Cartel)
- Milenio Cartel (First loyal to the Sinaloa Cartel federation, later independent) (Disbanded)
- Beltrán-Leyva Cartel (Formerly part of the Sinaloa Cartel federation, later independent) (Disbanded)
- Los Negros (Beltran-Leyva enforcement squad) (Disbanded)
- South Pacific Cartel (branch of the Beltran Leyva Cartel in Morelos)
- Cártel del Centro (cell of the Beltran-Leyva Cartel in Mexico City) (Disbanded)
- Cártel Independiente de Acapulco (Splinter from the Beltran-Leyva Cartel)
- La Barredora (gang)
- El Comando Del Diablo (gang) (Hitman squad of la Barredora) (Disbanded)
- La Mano Con Ojos (gang) (small cell of Beltran-Leyva members in the State of Mexico) (Disbanded)
- La Nueva Administración (Splintered from the Beltran-Leyva Cartel) (Disbanded)
- La Oficina (gang) (cell of the Beltran-Leyva Cartel in Aguascalientes) (Disbanded)
- Cártel de la Sierra (cell in Guerrero)
- Cártel de La Calle (cell in Chiapas)
- Los Chachos (gang in Tamaulipas) (disbanded)
- Tijuana Cartel (Spawned from the Guadalajara Cartel)
- Oaxaca Cartel (Was a branch of the disbanded Tijuana Cartel, its regional leader was captured in 2007)
- Juárez Cartel(Spawned from the Guadalajara Cartel)
- Lesser-known small-criminal organizations:
- Government officials: Other organizations that have been involved in drug trade or traffic in Mexico. (however this does not necessarily apply for the whole institutions):
- Mexican officials:
- United States officials:
Until 2011 Colombia remained the world's largest cocaine producer, however with a strong anti-narcotic strategy in 2012 the country achieved a great decrease in cocaine production and fell to the third position, behind Peru and Bolivia.
The current main actors in the drug trade are:
- Neo-paramilitary criminal gangs, also called BACRIM
- EPL (Partially demobilized)
- FARC (Weakened by a US-backed counter-insurgency plan)
- ELN (Weakened by a US-backed counter-insurgency plan)
Historical actors in the drug trade were:
- Cali Cartel (dissolved)
- Medellín Cartel (dismantled)
- North Coast Cartel (dismantled)
- Norte del Valle Cartel (dissolved)
- AUC (demobilized)
Historically Venezuela has been a path to the United States for illegal drugs originating in Colombia, through Central America and Mexico and Caribbean countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
According to the United Nations, there was an increase of cocaine trafficking through Venezuela since 2002. In 2005 Venezuela severed ties with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), accusing its representatives of spying. Following the departure of the DEA from Venezuela and the expansion of DEA's partnership with Colombia in 2005, Venezuela became more attractive to drug traffickers. Between 2008 and 2012, Venezuela's cocaine seizure ranking among other countries declined, going from being ranked fourth in the world for cocaine seizures in 2008 to sixth in the world in 2012. The cartel groups involved include:
- The Cuntrera-Caruana Mafia clan moved to Venezuela, which became an important hideout as the clan bought hotels and founded various businesses in Caracas and Valencia, as well as an extended ranch in Barinas, near the Colombian border. "Venezuela has its own Cosa Nostra family as if it is Sicilian territory," according to the Italian police. "The structure and hierarchy of the Mafia has been entirely reproduced in Venezuela." The Cuntrera-Caruana clan had direct links with the ruling Commission of the Sicilian Mafia, and are acknowledged by the American Cosa Nostra.
Pasquale, Paolo and Gaspare Cuntrera were expelled from Venezuela in 1992, "almost secretly smuggled out of the country, as if it concerned one of their own drug transports. It was imperative they could not contact people on the outside who could have used their political connections to stop the expulsion." Their expulsion was ordered by a commission of the Venezuelan Senate headed by Senator Cristobal Fernandez Dalo and his money laundering investigator, Thor Halvorssen Hellum. They were arrested in September 1992 at Fiumicino airport (Rome), and in 1996 were sentence to 13–20 years.
- Norte del Valle Cartel : In 2008 the leader of the Colombian Norte del Valle Cartel, Wilber Varela, was found murdered in a hotel in Mérida in Venezuela. In 2010 Venezuela arrested and deported to the United States Jaime Alberto "Beto" Marin, then head of the Norte del Valle Cartel.
- The Cartel of the Suns According to Jackson Diehl. Deputy Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Post, the Bolivarian government of Venezuela shelters "one of the world’s biggest drug cartels". There have also been allegations that former president Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello being involved with drug trafficking.
In May 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported from United States officials that drug trafficking in Venezuela increased significantly with Colombian drug traffickers moving from Colombia to Venezuela due to pressure from law enforcement. On United States Department of Justice official described the higher ranks of the Venezuelan government and military as "a criminal organization", with high ranking Venezuelan officials, such as National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, being accused of drug trafficking. Those involved with investigations stated that Venezuelan government defectors and former traffickers had given information to investigators and that details of those involved in government drug trafficking were increasing.
Central American and Caribbean
- Haji Ayub Afridi
- Azeri mafia
- Chechen mafia
- Georgian mafia
- Russian Mafia
- Basilischi Mafia
- Camorra Mafia
- Clan dei Casamonica
- Mala del Brenta
- Nuova Famiglia Salentina,
- Remo Lecce Libera,
- Rosa dei Venti
- Sacra Corona Unita
- Sicilian Mafia (Cosa Nostra)
- Società foggiana
- La Stidda
- British crime firms
- Maguire Family
- Cheetham Hillbillies
- Tottenham Mandem
- Woolwich Boys
Other organized crime groups based in Europe
- Albanian mafia
- Bosnian mafia
- Bulgarian mafia
- Corsican mafia
- Estonian mafia
- Macedonian Mafia
- Montenegrin Mafia
- Serbian mafia
- Kurdish mafia "Aşiret"(Tribe)
- Turkish mafia
- Galician narcos (Spain)
- Abergil crime family
- Abutbul crime family
- Alperon crime family
- Amir Molnar crime syndicate
- Dumrani crime family
- Shirazi crime family
- Zeev Rosenstein crime syndicate
Other parts of the world
- "Va Marina por 'halcones del crimen organizado". Blog del Narco. 21 April 2011.
- Bowden, Charles (Feb 6, 2011). "El sicario, un documental proscrito en México (1)".
- Bowden, Charles F (Feb 6, 2011). "El sicario, un documental proscrito en México (2)".
- "Ejército detiene a lugarteniente del cártel del Golfo". El Universal. 2 June 2009.
- "DATOS - Principales capos de la droga en México". International Business Times. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
- "Uncovering the link between the Mexican drug cartels" (PDF). National Defense University: Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies.
- "Las 5 caras del lavado de dinero". CNNExpansión. 8 June 2010.
- "Cae "El Adal" operador financiero de los Zetas". TV Milenio. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "Cae "El Míchel" operador financiero de Los Zetas en Aguascalientes". Tele Diario. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "Entrevista a el Mamito, presunto fundador de los Zetas". CNN Videos. Jul 6, 2011.
- "The World Factbook". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "U.S. Leads the World in Illegal Drug Use". CBS News. 1 July 2008.
- "U.S. drug habit keeps Mexican war boiling - US news - Crime & courts - NBC News". msnbc.com. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "Special Reports - Do The Math - Why The Illegal Business Is Thriving - Drug Wars - FRONTLINE - PBS". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "Mexican Drug Cartels: You Want Silver or Lead? Part 2". © 2009 BanderasNews. September 23, 2010.
- Tinoco, Alberto (Feb 7, 2005). "Radiografía de la Mara Salvatrucha en México". Esmas.com.
- "Asesinan en Monterrey a capo de la 'Mexican mafia'". Esmas.com. Nov 2, 2006.
- "Members of Texas Syndicate gang arrested, drugs taken off streets". KVUE News. February 8, 2011.
- "Controla 'La Maña' a Reynosa, Tamaulipas". Terra Noticias. 2 March 2009.
- Guerrero Gutiérrez, Eduardo. "At the root of the violence" (PDF). Nexos. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- La Familia Michoacana
- Carlos Rosales Mendoza
- "La Resistencia y Jalisco Nueva Generación". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- Notimex. "Caen cuatro sicarios de los "Artistas asesinos" en Chihuahua". El Economista.
- Castillo, Mariano (May 18, 2007). "'Gente Nueva' enter border drug wars" (PDF). Laredo Morning Times.
- "La Resistencia, nueva organización delictiva en Guadalajara". Mundo Narco.
- "Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación va contra todos". Blog Del Narco.
- "El Universal - - Arresto de El Ponchis exhibe vacos legales". 23 June 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "Child Assassin named "El Ponchis"Arrested By Mexican Army!! - In Flex We Trust". In Flex We Trust. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "Alleged U.S teen cartel assassin arrested - Stun Gun Savior Self Defense Blog". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- Romero, Óscar Romero (2011-07-22). "Presuntos narcos revelan red policial de protección". Milenio Noticias.
- "Capturan a "El Padrino", identificado como líder del Cártel Independiente de Acapulco". Milenio TV.
- "Caen otros seis integrantes de La Barredora". Blog del Narco. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "El Comando del Diablo aceptan tregua con condiciones en Guerrero". Universo Narco (Noticias). 25 August 2011.
- Edward Fox. "Splinter Gangs Wage War in Acapulco: The Future of Mexico's Conflict". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "¿Quienes son "La Mano Con Ojos"". Mundo Narco.
- "Narcos de Morelos se pelean por el DF". Milenio Noticias (online). 2010-10-15.
- "Capturan a varios integrantes del grupo La Oficina". Blog del Narco. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- "Se presenta el Cártel de la Sierra en Guerrero con seis ejecutados". La Crónica. 2010-07-27.
- "Aparece el Cártel de La Calle en Chiapas". Blog del Narco. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Cacho, Lydia. "La otra historia de 'La Barbie'". Zócalo Saltillo.
- Otero, Sylvia (20 August 2003). "Surge nuevo 'narcoperfil'". El Universal.
- "Los Aztecas fueron los asesinos; en EU y México hay 5 mil". La Razón.
- Cruz, Juan Manuel (5 July 2011). "Caen seis presuntos integrantes de Los Mexicles". El Universal.
- Cobos González, Carmen (14 May 2003). "Desmantela Ejército banda de Los Texas". PRESIDENCIA DE LA REPÚBLICA • MÉXICO.
- "Caen tres por crimen de Policía Municipal". Mundo Narco.
- Pedraza, Iván (2011-02-02). "Investiga PGR a policías federales relacionados con el narco en Sonora". Milenio Televisión.
- "Detienen en Colima a 36 policías estatales por vínculos con el narco". Periodico Realidad BCS. 2011-02-16.
- "Ejército ha procesado a 142 soldados por nexos con el narco". Animal Politico. June 9, 2011.
- "Sedena procesa a 13 militares por nexos con el narco". La Policiaca.
- Otero, Silvia (2010-03-20). "En prisión, 40 militares por nexos con el narco". El Universal.
- "Investigan a 20 militares por nexos con narco". El Siglo de Torreón. Retrieved Oct 3, 2010.
- "Detienen a marino por nexos con narco". El Universal. 28 May 2010.
- Notimex (27 May 2010). "Detienen a marino por nexos con el narco". El Economista.
- Otero, Silvia (2008-05-28). "En la mira, la tropa aduanal del narco". El Universal.
- Morales, Alberto (June 4, 2011). "Le hallaron 88 armas a Jorge Hank Rhon". El Universal.
- "Los 'Xolos' y Shakira, preocupación en Tijuana tras detención de Hank Rhon". CNN México. 5 June 2011.
- Juan García Ábrego
- "EU arrestó a 127 agentes aduanales corrompidos por narco mexicanos". Mundo Narco. June 9, 2011.
- "Detienen a agente aduanal por narco". El Mañana/El Universal. 29 July 2007.
- Heather Walsh. "Gold Eclipses Cocaine as Rebels Tap Colombian Mining Wealth". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "Colombia no longer top cocaine producer". usatoday.com. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Colombia's BACRIM: Common Criminals or Actors in Armed Conflict?". insightcrime.org. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- El Universal, 24 February 2008, Aumenta narcotráfico por Venezuela
- Neuman, William (26 July 2012). "In Venezuela, Remote Areas Provide a Drug Trafficking Hub « Previous". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- al-Ameri, Alaa (31 March 2014). "Venezuela's Drug-Running Generals May Be Who Finally Ousts Maduro". Vice News. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- United Nations, World Drug Report 2010 Statistical Annex: Drug seizures
- "Drug seizures Report From Year: 2009 Until Year: 2012 Drug Group: Cocaine-type". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Tom Blickman (1997), "The Rothschilds of the Mafia on Aruba", Transnational Organized Crime, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 1997
- Fonzi, Gaeton. "The Troublemaker". The Pennsylvania Gazette (November 1994).
- Presumed Guilty, by Isabel Hilton, Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), July 1994 (UK edition)
- BBC, 1 February 2008, Colombian drugs lord found dead
- Venezuelanalysis.com, 20 September 2010, Venezuela Deports Two Drug Kingpins, Calls US Drug Blacklist "Abusive and Interventionist"
- Diehl, Jackson (29 May 2015). "A drug cartel's power in Venezuela". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- DeCórdoba, José; Forero, Juan (18 May 2015). "Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub; U.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering". Dow Jones & Company Inc. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- Glenny, Misha (2009) McMafia , Vintage Books, ISBN 1-4000-9512-3
- Salinger, Lawrence (2005) Encyclopedia of white-collar & corporate crime: A - I, Volume 1 SAGE, ISBN 0-7619-3004-3
- Powell, Bill (8 February 2007). "Warlord or Druglord?". TIME.com. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- La Sort, Mike. "Basilischi: The Fifth Mafia". AmericanMafia.com.
- Paolocci, Tiziana (July 28, 2007). "Scacco matto ai Casamonica: sei in manette e tre denunciati". Il Giornale.it.
- "Criminal Organisations in Southern Continental Italy". Rivista di intelligence e di cultura professionale.
- "Mafia Italiana". Colegio Nuestra Señora de Merced.
- Barozzi, Maurizio. "La "strategia della tensione"" (PDF). Federazione Nazionale Combattenti Repubblica Sociale Italiana.
- Castori, Fabio (6 Nov 2008). "Associazione mafiosa, rivivono le 'imprese' della cupola foggiana". Il Resto del Carlino.
- "Police cite significant achievements against major crime families". Haaretz.com. 15 March 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- Aire, Jose Gutierrez (2012). Blood, Death, Drugs and Sex in Old Mexico. Createspace Independent Pub. ISBN 147759227X.
- PBS. 2006. Frontline: Drug Wars.