and government responded to the whirlwind of cocaine and crack--with its
incredible violence and social destruction--by passing two new omnibus
drug bills that promised an infusion of resources into all aspects of
the drug problem. The sheer magnitude of new addicts and street-level
dealing, along with the extraordinary wealth and power of the Colombia
and Mexico-based drug mafias posed a gigantic national challenge. In the
decade since, America has slowly but steadily developed new anti-drug
strategies and tactics, whether through demand reduction programs, workplace
drug testing, emphasis on money laundering and conspiracy cases, or an
increase in law enforcement’s ranks.
drug gangs from Mexico dominate many aspects of the American drug trade.
In the late 1980's, the cocaine mafias turned to long-established drug
traffickers along the 2,000-mile Southwest border to help smuggle cocaine
across to America. For decades, small-time Mexico-based mafias had trafficked
in marijuana and black tar heroin. In the 1980's, thanks to Colombia-based
traffickers, they expanded into cocaine and became far more powerful.
Paid at first in cash, by the late 1980's, the Mexico-based gangs were
being paid in cocaine. And so, they began to carve out their own distribution
systems. In the mid-1990s, traffickers from Mexico further expanded into
methamphetamine, a market they quickly came to dominate. Starting on the
West Coast, they have been rapidly expanding, saturating region after
region with this highly addictive drug. Like other traffickers who preceded
them, the traffickers from Mexico depend on high levels of violence and