According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Mexican drug trafficking groups, commonly called cartels, pose the greatest criminal threat to the United States. These groups dominate the production and trafficking of most of the illicit drugs that come into the United States. Mexico is a major producer of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine and, since the late 1980s, serves as the main transshipment route for South American cocaine reaching the U.S. market.

Mexico’s drug cartels have diversified into other criminal activities, but many analysts contend that the largest portion of their profits continue to be derived from the lucrative drug trade. Competition between cartels and armed resistance to a Mexican government crackdown resulted in an estimated 100,000–150,000 organized-crime style homicides in Mexico since 2007.

Are They Cartels?

In the ...

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