In the war on drugs, unlike other types of war, one of the challenges presented to those fighting is that the battleground often changes. Drug suppliers and distributors have many ways of moving narcotics and change their strategies and locations frequently. Recently, United States Drug Enforcement Agents have doubled their efforts and resources in the Caribbean.
Cocaine into United States from Caribbean Has Increased Drastically
It seems that there has been a major uptick recently in the amount of cocaine that enters the United States by way of the tropical region. In fact, of the total amount of cocaine that enters the United States, an estimated 14% originates in the Caribbean. That amount has doubled over the last year, which is surprising, considering that the region seemed to have been more or less abandoned by traffickers over the course of the last decade.
Drug enforcement officials attribute the upswing in drug trafficking in the region to a number of causes, but the consensus seems to be that one major reason for the dramatic increase in volume is that each shipment that moves the cocaine into the states is carrying a heavier load of the drug.
Support for Local Governments
The proliferation of drug trafficking in areas like the Caribbean occurs because criminal organizations have grown incredibly powerful, to the point that many small governments do not have the resources or general capacity to curb their growth. Part of the mission of the Drug Enforcement Agency in areas like the Caribbean is to work with local governments to help thwart these powerful criminal groups. It seems that thus far, agents have been successful in their bid to stop the gangs responsible for drug exportation in the area. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently went on record saying that they had successfully taken down one of the area’s most powerful and active criminal groups.
A Strategic Area for Traffickers
The Caribbean may be seeing dramatically heightened instances of drug activity because drug lords from several countries may view it as a rather ideal location for moving cocaine. Some drug distributors may have taken note of the area’s low security, which may be due to a number of factors, including low budget and a sense of helplessness when it comes to stopping the powerful criminals. Geographically, the area is also fairly easy for drug criminals in South America and Mexico, where much production occurs, to move their product through and onto the United States and Europe. The trafficking, which occurs on boats, had, until recently, been done with little interruption from coastal security agents.
Violence in the Region
The shipment of drugs like cocaine is very problematic for many reasons. When cocaine enters the black market in the United States, it is of course available to be used by addicts, who generally suffer very serious health complications from its use. Cocaine trafficking also creates violence centered around the actual distribution process. Many gangs and cartels engage in lethal battles over what they perceive to be their “territory.” The violence that comes part in parcel with these territory battles is often extremely gruesome and may be played out in front of innocent civilians. One of the most difficult and important tasks faced by the United States Drug Enforcement Authority is to gather information from within the violence fraught networks of warring cartels. It seems that to date, agents have indeed been successful. Agents have apparently gathered key intelligence from within these networks and used it as a means of deconstructing their trade routes. Peace and a return to order may not come quickly to the Caribbean, but with the help of DEA, hope may be somewhere on the horizon.