Border Crackdown Can't Weed Out Mexican Cartels

Marijuana smugglers get creative, or turn to growing dope inside US
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 2, 2009 9:35 AM CST
A marijuana plant is seen at a clandestine plantation during an anti-drugs operation near the city of Acapulco, Mexico, Sept. 21, 2007.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Mexican marijuana trade is flourishing, and border-protection efforts do little to deter powerful cartels from working in the US, the New York Times reports. Smugglers drop ramps over border fences and drive across, or use a new tactic: planting the pot in the US. Cartels now function in 195 US cities, compared to some 50 in 2006, the Justice Department says.

“Marijuana is the king crop,” said an official. “It consistently sustains its marketability and profitability.” Despite the removal of 6.6 million plants in the US in 2007, supply hasn’t dwindled. Meanwhile, cartel violence is soaring but has remained largely in Mexico. “The violence is happening because of the pressure we’ve exacted, but it does not fuel any increase or decrease in marijuana,” said an agent.