MEXICO CITY – Drug cartels currently take in $64.34 billion
from their sales to users in the United States, Mexico’s public safety secretary said.
Genaro Garcia Luna cited the figure during a speech Wednesday at the international forum organized in the northern border metropolis of Ciudad Juarez by the OCDA, a federation of center-right parties in the Americas.
The drugs that the – mainly Mexican – cartels smuggle into the United States include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and Ecstasy.
Mexico produces substantial amounts of marijuana and crystal meth and smaller quantities of heroin
. South America is the source of the cocaine that Mexican gangs smuggle into the United States.
Garcia Luna said that organized criminal groups – in particular, the cartels – are a risk for public and national security in the hemisphere.
He said that according to figures compiled by international entities, the production of cocaine in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia has remained stable over the past nine years at an average of about 900 tons annually.
He said that in 2007 the wholesale price of cocaine went from $2,198 per kilogram in Colombia to $12,500 when it arrived in Mexico, and from there rose to $97,400 per kilo in the United States and $101,490 in Europe.
Garcia Luna acknowledged that Mexico now has a domestic drug problem and that Mexicans spend an average of $431 million per year on illegal drugs.
The secretary said that the criminal organizations are taking advantage of the phenomenon of globalization to expand their activities through the opening up of the financial markets and technological development.
He also emphasized that organized crime is participating not only in the shipment of drugs but also in trafficking in weapons and migrants, smuggling other items, money laundering, vehicle theft, kidnappings-for-ransom and extortion.