On Security

How the Globalization of Mexican Business Helped Spread Crime

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Oct 23, 2018 | 05:30 GMT
A Mexican Army expert in protective gear displays crystal meth paste at a clandestine laboratory near la Rumorosa town in Tecate, Baja California state, Mexico on Aug. 28.

Crystal meth paste on display at a clandestine laboratory near la Rumorosa town in Tecate, Baja California state, Aug. 28. Criminal enterprises often use established commercial trade routes and infrastructure for the transit of illicit goods, including drugs, and it's starting to hurt the Mexican economy. 

(GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Recently, I found myself explaining to a client how illicit goods flow into and through Mexico and then onward to the United States, and it occurred to me that there are many logistical similarities between Mexican transnational criminal organizations and the countless manufacturers operating in Mexico. After further consideration, it became clear that many of the factors that make Mexico an attractive destination for foreign businesses also make it attractive for criminal enterprises. It is no mistake that the pieces of real estate that Mexican criminal groups fight over often directly overlap with major logistical and production nodes of the traditional economy. In many ways Mexico's globalized criminal landscape is a mirror of its globalized legitimate economy -- and they have both been growing in power....

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