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Cartels Are Using Firetruck-Sized Drillers To Make Drug Pipelines 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-forward-to-their-space-rocket-deliveries dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "In the beginning, they used catapults, dune buggies, 'jalapeños,' $1 million submarines, and sophisticated drug tunnels to move drugs northward. Now, Mexican drug cartels are taking to high-end industrial drills to carve out literal drug pipelines into the U.S. It's the next big leap in the evolution of the narcos' ingenious smuggle tech. The future of borderland drug running, it turns out, is boring. Jason Kersten reports on the phenomenon in a great GQ feature that focuses on the Sinaloa Cartel, the international crime syndicate believed to be behind the first known narco pipeline in 2008: '...Mexican authorities, responding to reports of a cave-in and flooding near the [All-American] canal, discovered a tunnel unlike anything they'd ever seen. Only ten inches wide, it was essentially a pipe. The Mexican cops traced it back to a house about 600 feet from the border, where they found a tractor-like vehicle with a long barrel on its side—a horizontal directional drill, or HDD.'"
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Cartels Are Using Firetruck-Sized Drillers To Make Drug Pipelines

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:24AM (#45895559)

    Just think about all US government agencies and their budgets on "war on drugs" They only exists as long drug cartel exist. Huge shipments of firearms from US side, drugs to US, hundreds of thousand jobs.
    They love each other.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:25AM (#45895561) Homepage Journal

    Free market finds a way. Where gov't erects legal barriers, free market becomes black market. Gov't has no business in drugs ( and almost anything except national security actually). Declaring drugs illegal is destroying individual freedoms and distorting markets and creating criminals. The real problem is gov't, not criminals that gov't creates.

  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:43AM (#45895611)
    It's a losing battle trying to fight the forces of economics. The Prohibition was basically a gift for the criminals and gangs to make easy money. We're seeing the same thing here. Why is weed illegal anyway? It's arguably just as harmful as alcohol and tobacco. I'm certain that Colorado an Washington won't crumble into anarchy as a result of legalization.
  • Decriminalize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:45AM (#45895625)

    The sooner we decriminalize drugs, the sooner this sort of idiotic "war on drugs" can end. It's one that the US law enforcement can never win, which is the perfect sort of war for a government agency, isn't it? I'm not saying there aren't well-meaning people in those agencies, or among those that advocate such policies, but it's those same well-meaning policies that also gave us the mob during the Prohibition era. Same dance, different partners.

    BTW, we recently decriminalized weed here in Washington State, and now people are setting up shops to sell the stuff. I'm betting the world won't come to an end.

  • Re:Decriminalize (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:51AM (#45895635)

    Decriminalization isn't good enough; they need to be legalized.

  • Re:Decriminalize (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:51AM (#45895637)

    It's a sign of movement in the right direction, but unfortunately Washington's law, as it currently stands, doesn't really target this problem. The only thing that was legalized in WA is possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Possession of larger quantities, not to mention growing or sale of any quantity, is still illegal. With consumer-level possession legal but production, distribution, and sale illegal, that doesn't really do much to harm the drug smugglers' business. To undercut the Mexican smugglers, we have to make it legal to grow and sell domestically, so there is no reason to import it from Mexico.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:56AM (#45895671)

    It's just heaps more difficult to produce high quality booze or cigs. If people can get plastered on drugs they can grow at home at the same quality that you could sell them... that's just so un-American!

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @03:01AM (#45895697)

    Yes, which is why the reverse is equally true: the cartels will only exist as long as the war on drugs exists.

    You've got to wonder why the folks on the right who care so deeply about individual freedom of choice and despise government intrusion in personal affairs are such big fans of the war on drugs.

    If it were about protecting the people from harm (which drugs can undoubtedly do to its users) or about reducing crime, the exact opposite approach would make much more sense.

    I believe there might be a hint in the fact that sentencing in cases involving cheap drugs is so much harsher than cases involving expensive drugs.

    Combined with the infamous two-tier justice system, and the various ways in which ex-convicts are reduced to subhuman status well after they formally did their time, it is effectively a war on the poor, and their vote.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @03:28AM (#45895781)

    Because the group referred to as 'the right' actually consists of several contradicting ideologies forced together by the nature of the US political system. While they do hold to the principle of small government and individual freedom, these are not their highest priority goals and so will be ignored when a seemingly more important idea is in contradiction. This happens quite often, as the political conservative and social conservative factions are fundamentally conflicted - they'd be at war with each other if they hadn't found a common enemy in the liberals.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @03:38AM (#45895815) Journal

    Free market finds a way. Where gov't erects legal barriers, free market becomes black market.

    You are right, but if the 'free market' were an argument for making something legal, then we should make assassinations and corporations that dump poison into rivers legal, because they are going to anyway.

  • by bentcd (690786) <bcd@pvv.org> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @04:15AM (#45895919) Homepage

    You are right, but if the 'free market' were an argument for making something legal, then we should make assassinations and corporations that dump poison into rivers legal, because they are going to anyway.

    Well, the free market is an argument for legalization, but only with qualifications. Essentially, if the free market for a given good or service is or would be big enough then this alone is a very strong argument for legalizing it. The reasoning behind this is that first of all, if a lot of citizens want to trade in it then it is a democratic problem if they are prevented from doing so; secondly, that with such a big market even if you outlaw it the trade is still going to happen at large scale so what are you really achieving; and thirdly, that a lot of money that would otherwise move around the economy in a proper manner is now going to get funneled into a black economy where it will see less circulation (thus having a stagnating effect on the economy overall), will not be properly taxable, and will tend to leak into other more serious criminal enterprises. Also as we have seen with drugs, criminalizing what many see as a necessary good has led to the blatant militarization of police forces and erosion of civil rights for everyone. This is a very high price to pay for feelgood politics.

    Of course this would only be one of the arguments in any given debate but it would be a weighty one.

  • Re:Any drones yet? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @04:56AM (#45896047)
    The War on Drugs is just bullshit talk. Nobody in power is really serious about stopping stuff, they're just interesting in keeping a profitable War going on.

    The reason why the drug lords have the money for submarines, tunneling machines, armies and actual wars is because big banks launder billions for them AND the people involved in that mostly get away with it.

    If people know they might end up in jail for laundering, you'd see more of them start getting formal approval from their bosses for dubious stuff, and their bosses will say "No", or pass stuff up to their own bosses and so on. There won't be any bullshit about no trails. A bank could believably claim it lost track of a few hundred dollars here and there, but not when billions are being transferred.

    Stop the laundering of billions of dollars and the drug lord budgets will shrink.
  • Re:Any drones yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @05:01AM (#45896067)

    Drones will surely happen. I predict that at that time they will obviously have won. (They have won a long time ago, the "war on drugs" is just authoritarians trying desperately to tell others how to live and what to think, regardless of how much more damage that does.)

    The space program is a nice idea though.

    While I am not a drug user (beyond the obvious mood-altering substances: Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar, Fat, Chocolate), safe (as far as possible, but see the dangers of legal drugs), medical-quality and reasonably priced drugs in general availability are the only sane thing to do. Everything else costs far, far too much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @05:09AM (#45896091)

    During WWI both sides brought in miners to the front to dig tunnels under the front line for espionage and planting explosives under targets. The idea of digging tunnels for various (nefarious?) purposes under a border or slowly moving front line is probably as old as fences and walls to keep another party out of your area.

  • Re:Any drones yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sique (173459) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:07AM (#45896501) Homepage
    It's much more complicated than just "the evil banks launder drug money". If you use the money from drug sales to buy lets say on the next food market, then open up a restaurant and sell the food there, you already have washed your money, because then your drug money gets orderly booked and taxed and is as clean as you want. Do this with several layers of legit companies and then even a very investigative reporter or police officer will have a hard time to prove money laundering.
  • Re:Any drones yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawkinspeter (831501) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:27AM (#45896595)
    Rather than letting the drug cartels run things, why don't we just legalise the drugs and put the cartels out of business by having the goverment sell drugs and thus earn some tax revenue.

    Seems so obvious to me.
  • by Procrasti (459372) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:30AM (#45896625) Journal

    > You are right, but if the 'free market' were an argument for making something legal, then we should make assassinations and corporations that dump poison into rivers legal, because they are going to anyway.

    These are not examples of free market because participants in the transaction do not choose the transaction. The assassination victim does not to choose to be assassinated, and people who enjoy the rivers did not choose for them to be poisoned. These are called negative externalities, and a free market is defined to be free of them. They can be corrected through taxation and legal punishment.

    Drug use, by itself, is not a negative externality... and drug users who generate negative externalities (theft and other crime) would be just as guilty of those crimes whether they were using drugs or not.

    This is a strawman argument against legalisation and a false comparison.

  • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:32AM (#45896635)
    "Most people aren't going to be able to smoke as much as a single plant can produce in a year... why would they ever buy it?"

    Same reason people buy vegetables from the store and hamburgers from McDonalds. Convenience.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @07:50AM (#45896727)

    It's worth noting that "the liberals" are more or less the same way. The game theory behind the U.S. political system more-or-less mandates a maximum of two viable parties, so each has an ideology that is moderately incoherent and is frequently defined in terms of opposition to whatever the other guys are doing.

    Further, there's a neat psychological phenomenon (that I forget the name for) where people who identify with one party because of their views on one issue will gradually pick up that party's views on other issues even if there's no particular logical reason to do so.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @08:11AM (#45896823) Homepage Journal

    > Why is weed illegal anyway? It's arguably just as harmful as alcohol and tobacco.

    It is nowhere near as harmful as either. Does Tobacco show promise as a cancer-fighting, epilepsy-siezure-preventing drug, stress reducing, migraine treating, cluster headache killing, sinus and bronchial congestion reducing, muscle cramp reducing, eating disorder treating, antiemetic, appetite correcting, MS tremor reducing, parkinsons, glaucoma-treating, inflammation-reducing, pain reducing, mood lifting and NOT PHSYSICALLY ADDICTIVE (and can actually be used to treat addicts coming off harmful addictive drugs!!!) drug that is impossible to overdose on? (okay you can theoretically OD on it if you combust many pounds of it over the period of an hour or two - just like you can "OD" on water) Does Alcohol show any promise? Hmm, perhaps then you should not use the word "harmful" anywhere near any word specifying cannabis nor compare it to harmful drugs.

    As far as the few potential effects may be concerned? The mental "high" can be avoided by either choosing a low-THC, high-CBD strain or by selecting a method of delivery which limits the release of THC. Tar? Not really tar but there are resins, and those can be avoided by vaporizing it, making extracts, infused oil for cooking, adding it to salad dressings, baking it into cookies, brownies, etc. and avoiding combustion, CO2 and CO exposure. Short-term memory loss? Sure the effect is real, but it is temporary and limited (only while high) for all but chronic users.

    There is no miracle drug, but Cannabis may very well be the next closest thing.

  • Re:Any drones yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hawkinspeter (831501) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:18AM (#45897249)
    It's a tough choice between crime cartels and the government, but at least the government sometimes pretends to be benevolent.
  • Re:Any drones yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:32AM (#45897357) Homepage

    That's what we're doing in Washington and Colorado. And I should note that in the latest polls 58% of Americans favor that exact policy.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @09:58AM (#45897565) Homepage

    You are right, but if the 'free market' were an argument for making something legal, then we should make assassinations and corporations that dump poison into rivers legal, because they are going to anyway.

    Well, the free market is an argument for legalization, but only with qualifications. Essentially, if the free market for a given good or service is or would be big enough then this alone is a very strong argument for legalizing it.

    That's not qualification, that's sophomoric handwaving and rationalization. It just leads you into an endless maze of twisty little debates over what constitutes 'big enough' and does nothing to prevent the very situation posited by the GP.
     
    How do you prevent something being deliberately manipulated into having a large market in order to legalize it? If you don't think that will happen, both at the grassroots and corporate scales, I have a bridge to sell you. (Not to mention, that's the core of most of the arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana [1] "everybody does it, it costs too much to enforce the laws, so why not legalize it?".)
     
    Child pornography is a three billion dollar business (or so they say, I have no doubt that it is big), is that big enough? And don't bring up "but they're hurting innocent children", because drugs and alcohol hurts a lot of innocents as collateral damage (from the abusers, not the feds) as well. By legalizing the really nasty stuff with a large market (I.E. stuff up the scale from pot[2]) you've already established the principle that damage is acceptable. That's just one more example (beyond those enumerated by the GP) of the trap you and the GGP have set for yourselves.
     
    "The free market" is not a solution to everything.
     
    [1] Which, mind you, I'm in favor of just to be clear.

    [2] On /., these debates always end up about pot, forgetting that's just one part of the drug trade.

  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @10:01AM (#45897583) Homepage Journal

    It appears no one has answered this question, so I will. Why are people on the right so resolutely anti-drug?

    If you spent your whole life working - regardless of the delivered value to society - the idea of paying an able-bodied person's way in life is antithetical. Those on the right perceive drugs as a certain way to turn an able-bodied person into someone who requires social welfare. No one on the right trusts the individual to make logical choices in the presence in the corrupting influence of a mind-altering drug. They correctly identify the number of people who would remain productive members of society while consuming drugs as very small.

    Legalizing drugs would amount to at least removing society's disfavor from the consumption of same. The right expects that an ever-increasing crop of wastrels who do not work will be the result, increasing their tax burden and further damaging the perception that work is the correct pathway to life success. To the right, there is no upside to legalization.

    Wresting alcohol and marijuana from this perception goes far to explain why blue laws are still prevalent in many areas and that the first commercial legalization of marijuana happened this year.

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @11:01AM (#45898171)

    Thanks for taking the time, it is certainly a very considered and eloquent piece.

    There are many countries where substance abusers are considered similar to alcoholics, which is to say as having a condition (a complex of psychological and physiological factors) which one can hope to alleviate by professional, targeted treatment -- instead of locking them up together with actual criminals (I mean the kind that leave victims).

    I live in one such country, the Netherlands, and while it is of course only a single anecdotal observation, I don't believe we have a noticeably larger fraction of our population on welfare due to drug-use than the US, or any other tough-on-drugs nation I am aware of. We do however have a whole lot less people in jail, per capita.

    I'm not sure how widely this fact is known, but the US rather stands out when it comes to incarceration. With 5% of the world population, it holds 25% of the world's prisoners.

Work without a vision is slavery, Vision without work is a pipe dream, But vision with work is the hope of the world.

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