Acquiring, packaging, transporting, and protecting illegal drugs costs a lot of money. But the biggest cost isn’t the drugs, the men, the transportation or the guns.That distinction is reserved for bribery.
In his epic account of the economics of the Mexican cartels in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Patrick Radden Keefe goes into some detail about the huge amounts of bribes required to keep the system working smoothly — and it’s insane.
For example. it’s speculated that each year, drug cartels spend more than a billion dollars just bribing municipal police. That’s not even taking into account the real men in power like Mexico’s former top anti-drug official, Noe Ramirez. In 2008, Ramirez was charged with providing information about investigations to drug cartels. His compensation for the information was reportedly $450,000 per month.
Theses sums not only keep the system working smoothly, but work (literally) as a get out of jail free card. For example, the boss of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín Guzmán (better known as El Chapo), paid $3 million to escape from maximum security prison Puente Grande in 1993.
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