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Mexican Gov't Shuts Down Zetas' Secret Cell Network

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the misallocation-writ-very-very-large dept.

Communications 300

Miniaturized stealth submarines purpose-built for smuggling are an impressive example of how much technological ingenuity is poured into evading the edicts of contemporary drug prohibition. Even more impressive to me, though, is news of the communications network that was just shut down by Mexican authorities, which covered much of northern Mexico. The system is attributed to the Zetas drug cartel, and consisted of equipment in four Mexican border states. "The military confiscated more than 1,400 radios, 2,600 cell phones and computer equipment during the operation, as well as power supplies including solar panels, according the Defense Department," says the article. Too bad — a solar-powered, visually unobtrusive, encrypted cell network sounds like something I'd like to sign up for. NPR also has a story.

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There wouldn't be any of this (5, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253068)

If US would just let its citizen get high.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (-1, Flamebait)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253406)

Youre blaming a foreign country's problem with militant cartels on a US decision on what to make legal or illegal within OUR borders?

Im sorry, does not compute. I get that legalizing might put an end to it, but its hardly our fault that smugglers exist. Are you going to blame governments for violence in human trafficking, because they have laws making such trafficking illegal? (not saying theyre the same)

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253534)

Youre blaming a foreign country's problem with militant cartels on a US decision on what to make legal or illegal within OUR borders?

Im sorry, does not compute. I get that legalizing might put an end to it, but its hardly our fault that smugglers exist. Are you going to blame governments for violence in human trafficking, because they have laws making such trafficking illegal? (not saying theyre the same)

If you pull your head out of your ass it computes just fine.

You have never heard of multinational corporations? International trade? Illegal border crossings? This is the illicit equivalent of what Wal-Mart does every day when they import legal goods from China. The illegal status just makes it more expensive (read: profitable) to compensate for the risks.

No what is our fault is when we love to talk a good game about how incredibly free we are, what great freedoms we have, how our soldiers fight and die to protect our freedoms, how the flag represents freedom ... then we tell adult people they can't do certain things with their own bodies and/or their own consciousness behind closed doors in their own homes. Everything wrong with the War on Some Drugs, from the cartels to the gang violence on the supply side, to the nonviolent otherwise law-abiding users filling up our jails because of drug possession on the consumption side, comes from this one massive fuck-up.

I'll tell you why governments don't want to legalize drugs. It's not because of damage to society or some other bullshit justification. No drug ever created has ever damaged society more than alcohol. It's because the naturally occurring plant-based drugs shift consciousness in a way that makes you question things like dominating others with authority, climbing the corporate ladder, sacrificing happiness for money, etc. That's a huge threat to the power-mad sociopaths who run our society.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253572)

then we tell adult people they can't do certain things with their own bodies and/or their own consciousness behind closed doors in their own homes.

As has been demonstrated by countless, moronic drunk drivers, what is meant to be kept behind the closed doors of one's home doesn't always stay there.

Note: I'm not saying I'm against legalizing weed. Just making an observation that there's always going to be some jackass who hops up and then goes out and fucks up (or ends) someone else's life.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (4, Informative)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253612)

We tolerate this now from drunks, why not tolerate stoners too? Hell, the stoners I've known have been quieter and more peaceful on the balance than the drunks, and they've often known they were impaired and declined to drive, versus the drunks who insist they're just tipsy and then back over lawn ornaments...

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253736)

As has been demonstrated by countless, moronic drunk drivers, what is meant to be kept behind the closed doors of one's home doesn't always stay there.

That's no justification for continued prohibition.

Some people (who are quite sober) commit murder. Clearly, we should lock everyone up in solitary confinement shortly after birth, immediately after being weaned. For their own good. No, we can't give them a cellmate because they might shank them. Of course that's ridiculous but we've got a War On Murder to fight!

What is it about people altering their consciousness so many are really so afraid of? I mean ... if prohibition was working and actually prevented anyone from obtaining drugs then we could discuss its merits. But it doesn't even accomplish any of its stated goals. It's a completely invalid idea. To talk about it as though it were worth considering is either dishonest or foolish, take your pick.

They cannot even keep drugs out of maximum-security prisons. Are the implications of this really so hard to understand, or is this more like a religious belief that is impervious to evidence? Prohibition: it hasn't worked, it isn't working, and it can't work. Not even in the most ideal conditions for it (prisons). Normally when something has been falsified (by both history and logic) even half as thoroughly as Prohibition has been, intelligent people drop the invalid idea, you never hear it from them again, and they move on to other ideas that might work.

What kind of insanity causes people to continue advocating such obviously failed ideas? Do they think they can divide by zero if they just keep trying hard enough?

Like I said, I think this is a religious or other faith-based belief because it has absolutely no contact with reality.

This really sums up what Prohibition is all about:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
-- C.S. Lewis

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254038)

It's because a lot of people don't like drugs. Thus, any politician who says "let's legalize drugs" is committing career suicide. No politician will allow drugs to become legalized, nor will they reduce penalties for drug use for fear of being seen as "soft on crime".

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (4, Insightful)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254138)

Except for Ron Paul, of course.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254468)

It's because a lot of people don't like drugs.

That's the part I have observed often enough to understand but I cannot relate to it.

I certainly have my likes and dislikes. They are opinions, tastes, and preferences. I am entitled to them as anyone else is. But I never thought that my feelings about something override the facts of the matter. That's a kind of childish make-believe world I am thankful not to live in. The fact I don't like something doesn't make it less true.

I call that adulthood. By my standards, lots of chronological adults are just overgrown children. The problem is that they vote (at the polls and with their feet and wallets) and think their opinions are equivalent to facts and logic.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (0)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254494)

Every organised religion in the world would like a word with you on how human mind works and just how exceptional (or deluded about yourself) you are.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254614)

Every organised religion in the world would like a word with you on how human mind works and just how exceptional (or deluded about yourself) you are.

It's really simple. If you invade the sanctity of my life by forcibly trying to make something my problem (such as driving drunk and endangering me) then yes, I do have the right to stop you, most likely by calling the police.

But if you are an adult person who acts like one, and can confine the consequences of your decisions to yourself, then I have no cause and no right to interfere. If I really don't like what you do with that freedom then my best option is to provide a counter-example by not doing that with my own life.

Let's say you use drugs but you do it at home, you don't drive impaired, you don't steal or commit other crimes to obtain the money to buy them, you stay home, you sober up, you go about your business the next day without imposing on anyone or endangering anyone ... on what grounds would I hassle you over that? For what? What right would I have to tell you that you may not do something just because I wouldn't?

A real love for freedom is simply not compatible with a Puritannical busybody mentality that tries to enforce its morality on others without their consent. That kind of mentality would be more at home with some kind of autocracy or other absolute dictatorship. If I don't like the books you read and strongly disapprove of them, then I don't have to read them. If I think the religion you practice is total bullshit, that's okay because I don't have to practice it. If I think the music you listen to is garbage, I don't have to listen to it myself. If I think the substances you ingest are useless and pointless and have no merit, that's alright because I don't have to ingest them simply because you do.

Unless you are posing a threat to me, I have no right and no reason to bother you over what you choose to do with your life. I don't share the insecurity and the desire to control that the moral busybodies base their lives around. That isn't how I get my jollies. All I want is to live and let live while enjoying the same freedom I want others to have. This is really so exceptional? How far we have fallen.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254630)

Making very addictive and VERY harmful drugs illegal is probably be a good way of preventing people from "trying it once" then getting hooked on it and ending up in an alleyway turning tricks for meth money.

I can't agree on it for marijuana, but meth, crack, and other such drugs are just a *bit* more dangerous and addictive than marijuana. Y'know. Just a tad.

It's not all about faith or religion especially since, hell, peyote probably makes you just as high as weed and you can use it as long as it's for "religious purposes".

Why do we try to keep folks who've never seen fire away from touching it. Because it hurts them. But, imagine if the fire both screwed up your body AND sent an incredible wave of endorphins through your brain, shorting out your pleasure receptors until you literally could not feel baseline without jumping into a damned bonfire and burning yourself up.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (5, Informative)

steppedleader (2490064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253854)

Actually, your point about drunk drivers is a big reason to support legalizing marijuana: People substitute marijuana for alcohol and end up causing less problems because of it. This has recently been shown in a study of traffic deaths in states where medical marijuana is legal (see http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/02/why-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-deaths/ [time.com] ).

I'm curious if the effect would be even larger with full legalization, although as the article notes, part of the reason marijuana use causes less issues with driving may be that people are more likely to use it at home and thus have no need to drive. That might not be the case if weed was legalized completely, but then again it would be entirely possible to legalize it without allowing the sort of public use and consumption at businesses that we allow with alcohol.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (1)

steppedleader (2490064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253864)

err, make that "public sale and consumption"

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254226)

part of the reason marijuana use causes less issues with driving may be that people are more likely to use it at home and thus have no need to drive.

No, it's because stoners are all paranoid, so they drive at exactly the speed limit, obeying all traffic laws, driving defensively so as not to draw attention to themselves.

A drunk, by contrast, will Stumble out of the party saying shit like, "We need another 24-pack, I'm good to drive," being belligerent and pushing away anybody who tries to stop them driving drunk. Then the drunk comes back the next day on foot, without his vehicle, with a bruised and scraped-up face and shunt bandages on both of his wrists.

If there's one thing that people in power hate doing, it's admitting their wrong. The recent marijuana dispensary crackdowns in California(a state that legalized Marijuana for medical use) by the feds proves that they are like the assholes who lost the debate and have resorted to angrily yelling over everybody rather than listening.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (3, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253894)

" I'm not saying I'm against legalizing weed. Just making an observation that there's always going to be some jackass who hops up and then goes out and fucks up (or ends) someone else's life."

This happens, anyway. Someone who is completely irresponsible will be irresponsible regardless of the punishment. Legalizing marijuana simply serves to not throw people away who simply want to enjoy it responsibly; just like how most drinkers don't go out and crash their cars into crowded school buses (the president included in this list).

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254086)

LOLOL...

How many stoners wreck and kill themselves or somebody else annually? I bet that number is FAR lower than the number of drunk drivers. Sure, you can say that this is because marijuana is illegal and more difficult to obtain and you'd be somewhat right. However, from what I see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears, prohibiting marijuana has done NOTHING to keep people who want to use it from doing so. The only thing it has done has created a lucratively profitable private prison industry... another way for the fat cats to get even fatter. Fuck that.

I don't even like to smoke weed. I would rather drink. But I'm sick and goddamn tired of people trying to dictate what other people do when it's really none of their business.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253902)

It isn't because of the shift in consciousness. If anything, being stoned makes a person easier to have arrested because they are dumb and docile.

It is the fact that there is a shitload of money to be gained by private industries from a pothead. A list of whom benefits as soon as a handcuffed stoner hits the booking booth:

The local cop, because the more people run in, the more points gained. Bust up a carful of druggies, and that is a promotion right there.

The local private jail, and the private companies getting paid for bed space.

The bail bondsman who can ask for 20% of an inflated bail as payment.

The DA who looks tough on crime when he figures out a way to send someone up for 2-10 years for a dime bag.

The defense attorney who can dictate what terms he wants. Public defenders tend to be pretty much an assurance of a guilty verdict.

The judge who is seeking re-election will get more money in his coffers when he rubber stamps a guilty verdict and the maximum sentence.

The local prison system, all privately owned and managed. Part of this cash goes to lobbyists to have more felonies, longer sentences, and find ways to lock people up, as it pays their bills.

So, there are a lot of people getting fat from stuffing stoners in the clink for life sentences. Until this is remedied, we will see pot be illegal for generations to come.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254376)

Right. If only I could zombie out on crack, I'd revolt and overthrow the government. Who the hell rated this idiocy "insightful"? Were they on drugs????

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (5, Insightful)

Bob The Cowboy (308954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253536)

Hmm. Seems to me the smugglers exist because there's a demand for their goods on the US side of the border. If those goods were legal here, the violence wouldn't be as much of an issue, and the smuggling business would become a more normal business. If there was no demand for narcotics on the US side, you'd be right about it not being our fault that smugglers exist. But there is, and they do, and so we are partially to blame.

Legalizing marijuana would be a pretty big blow to the drug cartels. The human trafficking comparison is just a logical fallacy, as narcotics and human trafficking are (as you note) different things.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254686)

If drugs were legalized, the drug cartels would just find something else that was illegal. When alcohol was legalized, most of the gangs didn't start up legit beer businesses, they switched to drugs (which hadn't been a huge issue until then). Gangs and cartels work drugs because there is a huge profit margin and no legal competition. There is a huge profit margin and no legal competition *because* it is illegal. Legalize drugs and they'll start dealing in guns, bombs or people instead, because they can charge huge profit margins and no "mom and pop shop" is going to start competing with them.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (5, Insightful)

iroll (717924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253554)

Um, yes?

We can't control demand or the demanders. But demanders are pathetic; at worst, demanders run out of money and become petty criminals. We have built a huge infrastructure to jail people for spending money. Money that goes to... ...the other side, the Mexican government is dealing with the suppliers. There are huge profits in supply--the flip side of our problem. Supply is so profitable that the cartels rival the government in their ability to wage war.

So, yes. A foreign country's problem with militant cartels IS based on a US decision, because that the US has made breaking the law so fabulously profitable that the cartels are fighting a hot war with the Mexican government using money from the US.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (1)

evanism (600676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254318)

Oh dear. You are in the wrong place. Both mentally, spiritually and now electronically.

Go back to 3rdgrade and start again. This time pay attention.

We all hope it is a deficit in your education that provides such warped thinking, rather than some inherent genetic failure.

Re:There wouldn't be any of this (1, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253496)

Religion requires all pleasure be obtained by suffering to amuse Imaginary Friends, so pleasure and sex must be rationed to redirect energy elsewhere.

Many Americans are superstitionists, and be they Taliban or Christian Taliban, they object to sin. Since life has no purpose except to get to Paradise, it doesn't matter how much damage the War On Some Drugs inflicts. The purpose of life is war on sin.

Nice thought, however not close to reality. (3, Insightful)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253772)

Even if it is legal there will be people like the Zetas. They will simply sell it cheaper than other companies and pocket the almost 100% profit. A good example of this is moonshine. If legalising something would do away with all illegal trade in that item moonshine should not exist. Another example is black market cigarettes purchased by people to get around paying taxes on them. Do you not think the government would tax marijuana. And if you only legalised marijuana the Zetas would be around to still smuggle in other drugs. Where there is money to be made crooks will make a counterfeit or sell the same thing cheaper to make money for themselves.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253850)

If General Mills made cocaine, a 10-pound bag would be $5 at the supermarket, and the Zetas wouldn't have money for tech toys or automatic weapons.

Moonshine still exists because stills are still illegal! What, did you think it was legal to make your own brandy and drink it yourself? That's crazy talk.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254212)

Actually a still is legal for personal use with the right documentation which is easily obtainable from your local court house. If you would like I will send you my recipes I have. And I am sorry legalising Marijuana is one thing, Cocaine, and those types of drugs have zero chance of getting legalised for general consumption anywhere in the US. They are simply too destructive and addictive to the human body.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (2)

ixidor (996844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254288)

yeah any more info on getting the permit? and recopies? id like to know. seriously. enough to drunk-login and post.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254398)

You cannot produce more than 100 gallons per calendar year per adult living in the house. For more info check with the ATF. Here is my Elderberry wine recipe 2 gal Elderberries, ripe, washed 2 1/2 gal Water 1/4 lb Sugar 1 x Lemon, juice of 1 x Yeast, cake.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254314)

Actually a still is legal for personal use with the right documentation which is easily obtainable from your local court house. If you would like I will send you my recipes I have.

It's a cultural thing, Where I grew up many people had stills none of them had paperwork (few could read), and most of them would shoot at anyone one they thought might be from the government. "I nicked the census man last week."

Cocaine, and those types of drugs have zero chance of getting legalised for general consumption anywhere in the US. They are simply too destructive and addictive to the human body.

Cocaine is vastly less destructive to the human body than an annoyed Zeta heavy, or a corrupt DEA agent. Not saying it will become legal anytime soon, but it's clearly the lesser of two evils.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (3, Interesting)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254056)

How many people are seriously buying black market cigarettes? Yes, there will still be a small black market for the product, but it will be so incredibly small as to be negligible. No cartel will form selling black market drugs if drugs are legalized. You'll have a few small drug dealers making very little money from it.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254214)

From the ATF website "Nationally it’s estimated $5 billion in tax revenue annually is lost on the black market," says Special Agent Chris Perez and another entry "November 2009 – ATF special agents bust a ring of tobacco smugglers in Northern Virginia. Culminating a 14–month investigation, agents took 14 people into custody where the suspects allegedly paid or traded for more than $8 million, nearly 40 firearms, and drugs to purchase 388,000 cartons" And if black market cigarettes are negligible why trade drugs and guns for them which in that theory would be worth more money.

Cigarettes or drugs? (2)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254654)

"November 2009 â" ATF special agents bust a ring of tobacco smugglers in Northern Virginia. Culminating a 14â"month investigation, agents took 14 people into custody where the suspects allegedly paid or traded for more than $8 million, nearly 40 firearms, and drugs to purchase 388,000 cartons"

It seems strange to smuggle drugs (very violent enterprise) to purchase illegal cigarettes (low violence enterprise) in order to smuggle the cigarettes (low violence enterprise).

Rather, I'll guess that the smugglers were smuggling cigarettes AND drugs. And rather than outright purchases, the exchanges happened more on the barter system. With smugglers X trading an excess of item A for item B which smugglers Y and smugglers Z had an excess of.

$8 million paid for 388,000 cartons of cigarettes means ...
$20.61 per carton.
Which, depending upon where you live, is probably better than half-price of what you'd get in a store.
But since the smugglers probably WILL NOT be getting full price for the cigarettes when they sell them ... the numbers just don't add up.

Unless they sell them in stores that they own. In which case this becomes more of an issue of tax evasion. They buy at the source and sell in a high tax area without paying the taxes so they make more profit on each pack sold.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (2)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254280)

Define black market. If by that term you mean goods being sold without government oversight and taxation, then you'd be AMAZED at the extent of black market cigarettes. Or aren't you aware of the phenomenon of buying smokes on the nearest First Nations Reserve? If cannabis were legalized, it'd be tempting beyond the power of the various legislatures to resist to tax the hell out of it. (As is already being done with tobacco and alcohol in many places) Once the taxes start getting onerous, it becomes profitable to evade that tax.

Here in Canada, I think the bands have a bit more autonomy than US bands, and up here, the only people living in nice houses or driving nice vehicles on the reserve are connected with the tax-free tobacco sales in some way. Sean Maracle, a well known activist type up this way is being sued for one billion, yes BILLION dollars by a consortium of tobacco companies because his tax free sales represent an unfair market advantage. They have to sell a product that is taxed something like 450%, with pretty comprehensive bands on advertising. Stores even have to keep all tobacco products behind opaque cupboards so that people can't see the brightly coloured packages. They compete with a guy selling smokes from a third hand office trailer, one of the smallest tobacco vendors in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation. (there is a widely accepted rumour that the reason Sean is being singled out is because he always manages to step on the toes of the band council and they have sicced the tobacco companies {that they get much of their supply from} on him.)

At the nearest corner store, a carton of 200 cigarettes is 70-odd dollars plus HST of 14%, a 200 count bag of generic smokes from the reservation is 16$, as low as 12 if you are willing to drive to one of the smaller, out of the way shops and buy more than four bags at a time. The margin is so high that apparently there are people who go out to the reservation and buy cases of smokes and then sell them out of their homes with a nominal 4 or 5 bucks mark-up for their profit. If that isn't black market, I don't know what is...

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254580)

Woa, bastards! how many thousends of people did they kill last year? how many paramilitary forces do they keep at war with the canadian state? how large is their secret sub fleet? do they also operate their own cell network, and like to throw naked beheaded and dismembered bodies under bridges, like the cartels that operate on what we are reasonably talking about when we say black market?

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254178)

Even if it is legal there will be people like the Zetas. They will simply sell it cheaper than other companies and pocket the almost 100% profit.

I don't understand why you think that. Where's the Zetas in the fast food business? Gas stations? Cigarettes? Legal businesses would dominate because they don't need to maintain armies and fight wars. They don't need to maintain their own secret cell network. The tax on marijuana can be rather high before smuggling makes sense economically.

Re:Nice thought, however not close to reality. (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254252)

The tax on cigarettes is high enough that the black market is increasing steadily, do you think our Government in their need for more money will not tax Marijuana the same way? Also, the Zetas, one already have the infrastructure in place for the sale of Marijuana, and two, Marijuana is not their only commodity.

Wow (5, Interesting)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253080)

Stealth submarines, solar powered call communications networks, encrypted communications. They are equipped like a damn government.

Re:Wow (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253138)

I wish I had some of this stuff laying around. Solar panel powered OpenBTS network/USRP might be possible on a very small scale, but not the fcuking submarines

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253162)

That's because their obscene profit is protected by the government.

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253360)

That's because their obscene profit is protected by the government.

Exactly.
You can't put up such a system on this scale without the acquiescence of the powers that be.

Even posing as TelMex workers, someone had to know what was going on, and that there was
spectrum being used that wasn't supposed to be there. And phones had to have been confiscated
from the few arrested cartel members over the years.

I suspect the cartel was being protected by some corrupt officials, or this network had
already been compromised by the Mexican Army and the cartel decided it had outlived
its usefulness.

Re:Wow (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253194)

Yeah, you'd almost wish you were a drug smuggler (but no, thanks).

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

gedankenhoren (2001086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253318)

"They are equipped like a damn government."

(see Mancur Olson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mancur_Olson
"In his final book, Power and Prosperity, Olson distinguished between the economic effects of different types of government, in particular, tyranny, anarchy and democracy. Olson argued that a "roving bandit" (under anarchy) has an incentive only to steal and destroy, whilst a "stationary bandit" (a tyrant) has an incentive to encourage a degree of economic success, since he will expect to be in power long enough to take a share of it. The stationary bandit thereby takes on the primordial function of government - protection of his citizens and property against roving bandits.")

Re:Wow (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254082)

The sad part Mexico really is/was all they way up there at Democracy. Perhaps a bit less so each day.

Re:Wow (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253350)

Stealth submarines, solar powered call communications networks, encrypted communications. They are equipped like a damn government.

Since a government basically is defined by who is in control a territory, and these guys clearly are in pretty good control of central America, I'd argue that they are a government.

Walks like, quacks like etc.

Re:Wow (1)

KaInDaWg (115890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253446)

Stealth submarines, solar powered call communications networks, encrypted communications. They are equipped like a damn government.

In Mexico they are the government.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253690)

Stealth submarines, solar powered call communications networks, encrypted communications. They are equipped like a damn government.

Their founders, and a nontrivial number of their more serious members, aren't just equipped like a government...

Back in the late '90s, the Gulf cartel wanted to cull some of their more irritating competitors. Sensibly enough, they hired a number of Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales guys with counterinsurgency, communications, and assorted other handy special forces skills(a somewhat embarrassing number of whom were trained on Uncle Sam's dime at the School of the Americas, in an attempt to improve Mexico's anti-drug capabilities. Oops.)

They've suffered some rather violent togetherness issues with the Gulf cartel more recently and their founders suffered pretty dramatic attrition; but their enthusiasm for military specialists from various Latin American states, and putting their professional skills to flagrantly bloody use continues to the present...

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253880)

Stealth submarines, solar powered call communications networks, encrypted communications. They are equipped like a damn government.

That's because they were, at one point, part of the army before becoming enforcers for cartels (and then becoming a cartel in their own right).

Re:Wow (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254068)

The narco insurgency has a much wealthier "tax base" than the legitimate government of Mexico. Our dirty money is overturning that nation. It's horrible.

Next up. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253124)

More dead folks.
You don't just confiscate things from these people without bad things happening to you.

You gotta get the drug cartels first. THEN their equipment.

Queue up all the stupid ass pothead comments on how we should just legalize it. Without any realization of just how much money in the USA is stacked aginst that ever happening. Heck the only people who want it legal are the potheads. Everyone else from law enforcement to mfg companies to politicians to drug dealers themselves all want it kept illegal. Just not going to happen in the usa so long as money is king. And money IS king. don't fool yourselves. its embarassing.

Re:Next up. (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253148)

The Zetas already kill bloggers in Mexico who post about them.

Re:Next up. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253174)

The cash cow for the Zetas is cocaine. Marijuana is a minor product.

Re:Next up. (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253218)

I'm sure plenty of people said the same thing during alcohol prohibition, but somehow that was overturned?

Re:Next up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253238)

Alcohol prohibition was never about money. It was about the moral uptight getting their way.

Re:Next up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253324)

Alcohol prohibition was never about money. It was about the moral uptight getting their way.

Yeah, the problem here is that the government is getting to blow billions of tax dollars while small time cops get to stroke big guns.

The moral uptight just started the fire, now it burns of its own accord, consuming everything it touches.

Re:Next up. (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253506)

Alcohol prohibition was never about money. It was about the moral uptight getting their way.

Perhaps, but it did serve a purpose.

Ken Burns [pbs.org] recent documentary on Prohibition, and the reasons for the movement that eventually got the amendment passed.

The amount of Alcohol consumed in the US was utterly staggering prior to prohibition.

By 1830, the average American over 15 years old consumed nearly seven gallons of pure alcohol a year – three times as much as we drink today

Public drunkenness was rampant. We can't comprehend the amount of alcohol that flowed in that era, because people simply don't believe you can drink that much and get anything done, which, of course, was precisely the problem.

There was very little medical science and even less education available at that time to control this epidemic, and moral indignation was just about the only tool available. After the civil war, things got much worse, and the anti slavery movement turned its sights on alcohol.

Re:Next up. (2)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253616)

Seven gallons works out to about 2-3 1oz drinks a day.

I don't drink myself, but I know people who put away several times that.

Re:Next up. (4, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253706)

Pure alcohol isn't what your friends drink. More likely, beer, which would be about 4-6 of those per day. Then, consider the fact that this was the national average rather than the high end of the spectrum, and you can see where the problem was...

Re:Next up. (5, Informative)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253908)

I can see right where the problem was: sanitation. Through most of the past couple thousand years, almost everything you drank had to have some alcohol in it, or it would kill you. Strangely, we started to drink a lot less alcohol once the tap water became safe.

Oh, and any decent beer has just under an ounce of alcohol in it, so we are talking 3 beers here. A bit high by today's standards, but then we have other forms of entertainment and pain relief now (and safe drinking water).

Re:Next up. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254360)

I guess that depends whether you're drinking bottles, cans or oversized mugs to be honest. I was thinking cans (12oz), which are definitely going to have less than an ounce @ the typical 5% of the average beer.

Re:Next up. (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254454)

5% is damn weak beer, my friend, though I guess most light beers are weaker still. And where I come from, beer comes in 40s, which is amazingly close to the old-school average by some odd coincidence. Of course, now I sometimes drink with Russians, for whom 3oz of alcohol is "the first glass of the night" - I don't try to keep up.

Re:Next up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253782)

Well, the main issue with Prohibition in my mind is that nobody, not even government, has the right to interfere with a person solely on the basis that that person is doing a bad thing to themself. You are allowed to do anything and everything up to getting all their friends together to try to convince them to stop. You are allowed to imprison them as a consequence of any action they take that is harmful to others or others' property. However, you don't have a right to interfere with their life provided none of those conditions are true. Such action is immoral.

Now, I wouldn't disagree with you if you said all alcoholics or drug addicts are proven to be destructive, amoral assholes who will stop at nothing to destroy anything and everything, and that that's why we should ban all substances of any type. But you and I both know that that isn't true. There are plenty of responsible people who like to drink, just like there are plenty of responsible people who like to smoke pot or snort cocaine. Furthermore, I am disgusted that you think interference is necessary simply on the grounds that drinking is immoral, or that public drunkenness is the negative consequence that must be avoided. You completely ignore the real problem, which is the destruction of property and harm to others which does result from a lifestyle of substance abuse.

In short, why is it a problem if I want to get drunk and accomplish fuck-all, as long as I'm not interfering with your life? What gives you the right to make the decision that I'm not allowed to do that?

Re:Next up. (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253846)

Maybe it's because society ends up paying for your care after you've drunk your self into oblivion.

And don't pretend it would be fine with you if government left you there to freeze to death where you fell. You'd be the first in line to bitch about the rotting corpses.

Re:Next up. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253270)

There are plenty of non-potheads who want to lift prohibition, for very sound reasons, not the least of which is halting the flow of money to the coffers of ruthless criminal organizations.

It would also create jobs, increase tax revenue, and increase safety to drug users (regulated businesses produce higher quality non-laced drugs).

Oh, this would also reduce the overcrowding of our prisons, thus reducing taxpayer expenditures thereupon, while freeing up law enforcement to focus on protecting us from more harmful crimes.

There is also that silly notion that freedom is a core American value. There must still be a few patriots who remember this.

It is a win all around, and many people are intelligent enough to see this.

But, as you rightly point out, it is an uphill battle because many powerful organizations have a vested interest in keeping many drugs illegal.

Re:Next up. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253358)

The most powerful among them probably being he cartels themselves...
Hmm....What does that tell you?

Re:Next up. (5, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253592)

That history repeats itself. Baptists and Bootleggers opposed the repeal of Prohibition too.

Re:Next up. (3, Informative)

jmrives (1019046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253378)

Very true. I do not smoke pot and I think the prohibition against it is both stupid and very harmful to people on this planet. There are a LOT of people in prison for non-violent, drug related crimes. If you have not encountered this organization LEAP [www.leap.cc] , you should.

Re:Next up. (1)

stephathome (1862868) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254208)

Same here. I don't do pot or any other illegal drugs, but I have no problem with legalization and think it would solve more problems than it would create. There are potential issues, sure, but the problems we have from drugs being illegal strike me as far worse.

Re:Next up. (1)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253396)

There is also that silly notion that freedom is a core American value. There must still be a few patriots who remember this.

Not many. They all got sent overseas to get their asses shot off.

Re:Next up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253306)

Cue, not queue up.

Re:Next up. (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253376)

More dead folks.
You don't just confiscate things from these people without bad things happening to you.

You gotta get the drug cartels first. THEN their equipment.

You do if you are the Military.

For many years, the Mexican Navy was the only trustworthy service in the country. Lately some of the generals in the Mexican Army have been getting sick of what is happening to their country.

Re:Next up. (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253692)

"You gotta get the drug cartels first. THEN their equipment."

Power abhors a vacuum, and deleting one source simply means more profit for other logistics providers.

Re:Next up. (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254080)

The companies want it to be legal because they can produce it and make money, law enforcement would probably be happy not to have to deal with drug offenses, and politicians will do whatever the public wants. If some congressman's constituents want legal pot then he's going to campaign for legalization of pot or he'll be thrown out of office. (Of course, most young people don't vote and old people don't want change so they oppose legalization).

The government is an extension of the politicians. The politicians don't have any inherent reason to oppose legalization*. If drugs were legal then they could tax them at huge margins and make lots of money, so they actually have quite a bit to gain from legalizing them.

* There is that argument about how pot makes you question authority. I'm pretty sure that's complete bullshit.

Don't forget that the zetas were... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253272)

trained, and funded by the U.S.A. Really.

So, your tax dollars at work for evil. Again.

http://www.soaw.org/component/content/article/1/1994 [soaw.org]

Re:Don't forget that the zetas were... (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253328)

Why to hyperventilate.....

The Zetas, feature 31 ex-soldiers once part of an elite division of the Mexican army

31 guys out of how many thousands in the Mexican Army (who routinely train with the US), decide to get into crime
after leaving the army and finding no work.

How many ex-US Soldiers decide on a life of crime after exiting the Military? Are you going to jump up
and claim the US Government is training people to be Bank robbers?

Even the dumbest criminals usually make it thru the 6th grade.
Howbout US Schools training Murderers and car thiefs?

I can see why you post as an AC.

Re:Don't forget that the zetas were... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253728)

First, "hyperventilate" that word doesn't mean what you think it does (although I suspect you may have been, while you wrote your reply; unfortunately, that mental image also includes copious amounts of spittle). If not a native speaker you did pretty well, otherwise.

Second, zetas were _founded_ by US trained killers. These were folks trained _in the U.S._ by Americans and Israelis. So, yes, the US _is responsible_ for zetas existence. Any argument to the contrary must address this fact. The thousands of Mexican soldiers you reference are irrelevant-- you are not suggesting that the entire Mexican military trains in the U.S., are you? Also, none of the thousands of Mexican soldiers who were not trained in the U.S. founded a rival to the zetas.

Your second statement about US soldiers robbing banks is just a straw man. But, I will indulge you:
A band of US soldiers in Afganistan were recently outed for killing civilians as sport, and cutting off and saving body parts as trophies. Yes, here too the US military has responsibility. Maybe they recruit blood-thirsty psychopaths, and then just provide the means for these atrocities to occur, or perhaps it is the training which is intended to condition the soldier to view the "enemy" as "other" non-human, to make it easier to kill them. Either way, yes the US military has blame here too.

More indulgence:
Yes, the US society has responsibility for crimes of poverty. Those silly rich kids who shoplift for the thrill excepted, most folks who find themselves stealing to feed themselves / their families are not very well educated. And, the single most reliable predictor of education outcome is economic status of the family. So, our society that perpetuates wealth disparities has responsibility for the inevitable result.

Nice ad homonym.

You have a lot of words and emotion in your response, but nothing that contradicts my points. In fact, there was nothing in your reply but a string of logical fallacies. It was probably you who modded my first post as troll, but I think it is you who are trolling.

Re:Don't forget that the zetas were... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254066)

It was probably you who modded my first post as troll

...which demonstrates only that you don't really seem to understand exactly how the Slashdot moderation system works. One can't both moderate a thread and post non-AC within that same thread.

Re:Don't forget that the zetas were... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254438)

OK.

You are correct, I did not know that. I hope I did not break some cultural norm on this site by either my ignorance of functional mechanisms of the site or of or my admission thereof.

Marijuana should be legalized (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253336)

But I will assert that, unlike nicotine (highly addictive, but not inebriating: you can still carry on a job/ relationship), or alcohol, or other either mildy inebriating or mildly addictive drugs, the combination of high addictiveness and high inebriation means that some drugs destroy a person's ability to maintain their relationships/ job. Therefore, for cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, the costs of prohibition may seem high, but the costs of higher levels of destroyed lives due to addiction to substances which render you unable to function are higher yet.

The "war on drugs" is ugly. Addiction to substances which render you unable to function in life is uglier. Some determined people will always be able to get these substances, but by making it difficulty and costly, you save lives by preventing exposure for some in the first place. Once addicted, healthcare based treatment rather than corporal punishment is of course superior, but there are certain people who will remain unsalvageable from the hell of addiction to personal freedom destroying substances. Therefore, it is superior to never let them fall down that rabbit hole in the first place.

Notice I said "personal freedom destroying substances." It always amuses me to hear certain people say they are championing free will when they propose people be able to take certain substances which are more potent destroyers of free will than the most authoritarian government you can imagine. That people should be denied the full range of their free will by a useless biochemical monkey on their back, just because they were young and stupid once, and lived in a society which allowed them easy access to free will destroying substances, is a form of willful ignorant hypocrisy on the subject of maximizing personal liberty.

The "war on drugs" is therefore a misnamed concept. It is simply a maintenance function of a civilization that values free will. No modern society can or will allow unchecked addiction to highly inebriating substances that rot at society and destroy human dignity, and, as I said before, personal free will.

If you don't understand how drug addiction is more an enemy of the concept of personal freedom than any totalitarian government you can imagine (unless of course, that authoritarian government forced people to take highly addictive substances as a form of control) then you simply don't even understand the subject matter you are commenting on. To have a pointless biochemical interrupt switch injected into your mind ("get high... get high... get high...") for the rest of your life (your willpower is now absolute, and weakens in times of depression and life setbacks), is, in the world history of mankind, the story of the most destruction of free will ever. More free will destroying, by orders of magnitude, by every government that ever existed added together. Understand that about drugs, or understand nothing.
 

Maybe. Maybe not. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253400)

Therefore, for cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, the costs of prohibition may seem high, but the costs of higher levels of destroyed lives due to addiction to substances which render you unable to function are higher yet.

So making cocaine legal (and regulated) would result in the worse violence that we see with it being illegal?

That's a bit difficult to believe.

Particularly since it was legal to purchase over-the-counter until 1914.

The "war on drugs" is ugly. Addiction to substances which render you unable to function in life is uglier.

If that were correct then Prohibition would be preferable to the massive distribution of alcohol we have today.

Some determined people will always be able to get these substances, but by making it difficulty and costly, you save lives by preventing exposure for some in the first place.

I don't think so. I think it costs MORE lives. Again, as demonstrated with alcohol and Prohibition.

No modern society can or will allow unchecked addiction to highly inebriating substances that rot at society and destroy human dignity, and, as I said before, personal free will.

Look around the world. There are other nations that have different laws. And they are not exhibiting the behaviours that you claim they would.

Re:Marijuana should be legalized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253456)

You're an idiot.

Sure, some drugs are addictive and harmful. Prohibition obviously fails to keep them away from people. Yet you argue that it saves the lives of people too stupid to abstain for their own good. That just leaves drugs in the hands of drug dealers, who are totally fine to sell a bag of crack to a known thief. Dealers who would sell crack to children, and even keep selling drugs to a person who obviously has serious health problems from using it.

I'd rather crack be legally sold by the government. Sort of like liquor stores, where if you show up in your car, barely able to stand, they will not serve you the product. Government crack selling could be the same way. Let the people do what they want. But if someone is out of their mind, or in need of medical assistance, then refuse the sale and get them some help.

Re:Marijuana should be legalized (5, Insightful)

socialleech (1696888) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253464)

Your argument is invalid. You fail to take into account the large amount of legal 'drugs' (prescriptions) that are widely available, and endorsed by the US government(not to mention many others).

So, tell me circletimessquare, how do you feel about a large amount of K-12 students being put on drugs like Ritalin or Adderall to control their 'attention span'? I'll remind you, that both of these drugs are amphetamines, and in the same class as Meth(logically, not necessarily by government standards).

I hate to inform you of this, but you do live in that totalitarian government that gives mind control drugs to its population. They just guise it as helping you through the 'wonders of modern medicine'.

What's your evidence? (5, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253590)

Would you support prohibition if it caused more problems than legalization?

You're misunderstanding the difference between evidence based policy and rationale based policy.

You can make a rationale for almost anything. Most issues are not 100% black-and-white, so simply emphasizing the negatives can be used as a rationale when you want to push your own agenda.

The evidence indicates that when prescription-grade cocaine is used, the negative effects are minimal. Most of the corporeal damage comes from the substances used to dilute (ie - cut) the drug, and the true expense of maintaining a habit comes to pennies a day. The rough equivalent of drinking a 2-liter soda per day.

The evidence also indicates that people can keep a family and a job and a cocaine habit. Again, most of the social damage comes from the high expense and low quality of the illicit product.

On the other hand, making illegal something that much of the population wants gives authoritarians the perfect excuse to curtail our freedoms. The police enjoy the ability to root around in our cars, houses, and personal effects looking for drugs. The government gets to regulate how much cash we carry, where our money comes from, and how we travel because we "might" be smuggling drugs.

Don't buy into the "we need to do this because it might lead to that" mentality; don't submit to the fear.

Go where the evidence takes you.

Re:Marijuana should be legalized (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253798)

You don't know what you are talking about. When Portugal decriminalized drug possession, drug usage dropped, both from hard drugs and soft drugs. This "the sky is falling" scenario only exists in those who are plagued with this "think of the children" mentality which they use to try to bootstrap any justification and basis for their irrational fears.

Murders and drug trafficking aside. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253338)

At least a couple of guys in this zeta thing is far from being a thug.

I mean.. entire fucking cell networks... submarines and shit. You gotta give some credit to them for that.

Yes, hanging severed heads from traffic signs ain't cool, but they have a pretty nice amount of technology.

They should tell this guys there's great climate for planting coca on mars and we'll be there next month.

Oh, you would, would you? (1)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253366)

"... A solar-powered, visually unobtrusive, encrypted cell network sounds like something I'd like to sign up for..."

If someone built such a network stateside, it would take two months tops for someone to start screaming that it was there in order to distribute child pornography. You'd be totally villified over the next few months, so that by the time your trial came up, "they" might just as well take you out and shoot you.

Re:Oh, you would, would you? (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253438)

You mean like BES networks? Yea, those are a HUGE problem in the US.

Re:Oh, you would, would you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253642)

"... it would take two months tops for someone to start screaming that it was there in order to distribute child pornography. ...

To be fair, it would take one month tops for it to actually be used to distribute child pornography.

Kidnapping engineers (2)

mapuche (41699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253422)

They acomplish their strong communications network thanks to money, corruption and kidnapping of engineers.

Re:Kidnapping engineers (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253806)

Kidnapping? Why?

Are engineers somehow 'better' people than politicians or law enforcement so that they can't simply be bought? I'd venture a guess that anyone willing to pay a premium over the going wage can probably find enough engineers willing to do the work.

Re:Kidnapping engineers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38253960)

Because kidnapped engineers work for free?

Of course, it would be a lot easier to accept the claim with an article linked or something.

Time to go Legit? (3)

stoicfaux (466273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253584)

Given the levels of organization, sophistication, business savvy, and ruthlessness needed to run a modern day, world wide drug organization, why haven't they gone legit and taken over Mexico's politics? Seriously, at some point it just be easier to influence the Mexican government into passing laws that legalize drugs and turn Mexico into a legitimate drug clearing house for the world.

I leave it up to an economist/historian to point to relevant examples in History where the only way to increase the profit of an illegal market was to legalize the market.

Re:Time to go Legit? (3, Insightful)

blakecraw (1235302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253684)

They'd probably rather be at war with the Mexican government than the US government.

Re:Time to go Legit? (2)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253768)

Because that would give us an excuse for a conventional military strike against them. As long as what they're doing is illegal, they can pretend to be petty gangsters to be dealt with by local law enforcement. Do you really think the our politicians would sit on their hands if the drug cartels tried to seize power and pretend to be a real country?

Re:Time to go Legit? (3, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38254192)

The LAST thing a drug cartel wants to see is an end to prohibition. Legalising their products would simply open them up to legitimate competitors and bring the prices (and thus the profit margins) way down.

In fact the cartels have quite a bit of influence with various officials at all levels in Mexico, but the last thing they would use this influence for would be legalisation. Instead they are used to direct law enforcement against their competitors and away from themselves, to reÃnforce their monopoly position and keep raking in the profits.

Bad move (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253862)

Rather than shutting it down, why not tap into it?

Tomorrow, when the Zeta pick up their mobiles and get a 'No Carrier' message, they'll start working on the next network. Better to have them yak away while the Mexican and US gov't listen in. Yeah, they still use codes. But being able to do the traffic analysis is a whole lot better than having no clue of who is speaking, where, and when.

Heck, maybe we can even get CarrierIQ to push an update to their phones.

Imagine Ingenuity (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38253922)

Miniaturized stealth submarines purpose-built for smuggling are an impressive example of how much technological ingenuity is poured into evading the edicts of contemporary drug prohibition.

To say nothing of the infrared detecting devices, footstep detectors, UAVs, and more. Technological advancement is fueled by this cashflow. But, then, that is just another way of saying that this productive ingenuity is being consumed by a questionably productive sector of the economy. How much does it really benefit us to keep marijuana illegal?

Imagine if we applied all of that combined ingenuity to solving problems of satisfying wants and providing for the future, instead of investing it in prohibition and evasion.

Clearly there are benefits to prohibition. Average moms and dads don't have to worry as much about their kids smoking pot, because it is a little bit harder to get. They don't have to do as well, explaining to a teenager that moderation is worth it in the long run.

Those benefits must be measured against the costs. This must include all the costs; the government budgets, the human lives lost, and the money that the Zetas are spending on their militia and mules. Increasing enforcement has some mitigating effect on the availability of drugs, and increases the costs all around.

It also strikes me that the violence that is happening in Mexico is starting to resemble the violence in South and Central America. More specifically, it resembles the violence in South and Central America ever since Reagan's war on cocaine. Drugs fund terrorism, violent crime, and revolutionaries? Maybe so -- and prohibition drives up the profit margin on drugs. Funny how that works.

1 pound for freedom per ton of responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254160)

Turn off the government run social welfare programs and turn on legalized drugs. That way when Darwin's losers win their idea of the lottery I won't have to pay for it.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38254396)

Does this mean they're hiring IT people to plan/build up a new network? Anyone have an e-mail to send my resume to?
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