Mexico Drug Cartels Move Into ... Mining?
Criminals tighten hold on country's economy
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2013 1:54 AM CST
Mexican army soldiers enter the iron ore mine in the town of Aquila, Mexico.    (AP Photo/Agencia Esquema)

(Newser) – Mexican drug cartels are expanding their Mafia-like hold on the country's economy by diversifying into many other sectors, even including mining, the AP finds. Officials say that in addition to stealing shipments of iron ore and extorting payments from transport and mining companies, the cartels are now illegally extracting and exporting ore themselves to get a bigger share of the huge profits from demand in China. "They weren't content with getting our money and robbing our trucks, so they began secretly extracting our minerals," says a resident of a mining village that rose up to kick the gangsters out.

For the cartels to become so involved in the industry, "they managed to impose a Mafia-style control of organized crime, and the different social groups like port authorities, transnational companies and local landowners, had to get in line," says the former head of the country's domestic intelligence agencies. China's foreign ministry declined to comment on whether controls are in place to prevent the country's industries from buying ore from the cartels—which often import methamphetamine precursor chemicals from Chinese firms.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Nov 29, 2013 6:47 PM CST
Is this so surprising? The Mafia moved into construction the waterfronts and trash collection to help launder its money.
Nov 29, 2013 11:58 AM CST
And the Mexicans find out the "benefits" to prohibition, just as America's Prohibition led to the rise of the mafia in the 1920s.
Nov 29, 2013 10:35 AM CST
Mexico's economy has actually been growing solidly for many years now, and their per-capita GDP is now about double what it was 15 years ago. Most Americans don't know about this, though, because the only times Mexico makes the news nowadays are when there's a gangster story.