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Corruption: causes of Mexican drug cartels alliance with the Mexican government


Drug cartels remain one of the prominent issues in Mexico exhibiting the power of the drug alliances. Drug trafficking cartels existed in Mexico for over a decade representing their strength and power. Mexican president Felipe Calderon exhibited his concerns against the drug war and launched the counternarcotics campaign in 2006. Drug cartels were engaged in massive killings of civilians, politicians, and students. The United States also supported Mexican government in taking effective measures for elimination of drug cartels through funding and provision of intelligent resources. In 2010 and deployed 45,000 troops. Mexican governments in every era failed to eliminate the dirty drug business from the country. The use of illicit drugs among Mexican males increased by 15.8% and among women increased by 4.8% in 2016. Drug dealing resulted in killings of 1400 people in October while the rate of homicides also doubled (Partlow, 2016).

Drug cartels held enormous power in Mexico and involved in supplying different types of drugs throughout the world. Mexican drug dealers are largest exporters of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine to the United States. These cartels are also involved in smuggling marijuana to different regions of the world. Due to increase in power of drug cartels, they formed alliances and engaged in battle against each other for territories (Lee & Renwick, 2017). Sinaloa represents one of the most dominant drug cartel operating in the country due to its strongholds across Mexican Pacific coast. Jalisco is the second influential cartel engaged in terrorist activities part of drug dealing. The strong presence of these drug cartels threatens the peace and the country leading to instability. Political corruption strengthens the position of the drug cartels, minimizing possibilities of their evacuation. Drug cartels bribe the susceptible public officers and authorities for the near-free reign of criminal activities including drug trafficking. Corruption has deeper roots in the politics of Mexico prevailing at state’s level that promotes drug dealing and related activities (Burnett, Penaloza, & Benincasa, 2010).


The existence of corruption at state’s level creates a perfect environment of survival for the drug cartels in Mexico. Alliances and strongholds of drug carters with Mexican government raise the influential power of the drug criminals thus eliminating the possibilities of their eradication. The fact that public authorities and officials receive bribes from the drug dealers allow them to conduct criminal activities. The argument claims that Mexican political system represents narco-state due to the open corruption giving sufficient power to the drug cartels that strengthen their base in the country. The argument formulates the research question; why do drug lords hold much power in Mexico? Why can’t government specifically public officials are unable to stop drug cartels?


The central argument addresses the involvement of Mexican state in corruptions that weakens the position of the state and gives excessive power to the criminals. Engagement of public authorities and police in bribes and receiving illicit funds strengthen the position of the drug dealers. Drug cartels survived in the Mexican region for centuries due to the internal flaws of the political systems. The ineffective sate and corrupt officers resulted in a massive power of the drug lords. Corruption and drug cartels alliances with government authorities affect the capabilities of state to remove drug businesses. The argument claims that without government’s support, drug cartels would not have prevailed for so long in Mexico (Burnett, Penaloza, & Benincasa, 2010).

Partlow (2017) provides supporting evidence for the argument thus confirming the involvement of Mexican state in corruption and strong bonds of drug dealers with state officials. Drug trafficking and trade is prevalent in Mexico as drug cartels have strongholds with the political figures in different terror ties. Police officers also accept bribes and allow drug dealers to conduct criminal activities. Drug consumption in Mexico increase every year reflected through 15.8% increase in 2016. The production of poppy tripled between the years 2013 to 2016 reflecting the dominance of drug cartels. Americans ceased 54,400 pounds of drugs carried by Mexicans in customs during 2017 (Partlow, 2016).

Cordero (2012) identifies drug trafficking as organized crime in Mexico due to the increased support from politicians and state. Drug trafficking groups like Sinaloa and Jalisco expanded their presence in the region and operating freely. Drug cartels freely engage themselves in trade of common drugs including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Through political support, the groups can regulate their drug activities using concealed transportation roots and distribution cells. Organized crime players involve public officials and police officers also thus minimizing the chances of eradicating drug cartels. Breaking Mexican cartels involve massive challenges for the country as corruption remains deeply rooted in the political systems. Eliminating existence of influential carters depends on ending corruption from the region. The argument provides by Cordero claims that elimination of drug cartels from Mexico remains unattainable under prevailing conditions of political corruption and strong alliances of drug dealers with influential authorities. Presence of corruption among local communities further weakens the position of law and enforcement. Strong bonds of drug dealers with the police officers also manipulates the settings thus adding to the strength of drug lords (Cordero, 2013).

Lee and Renwick (2017) support the central argument by recognizing the existence of political corruption in Mexico. Cartels earn enormous profits from drug trade that allow them to bribe the judges, police, officials and other influential personnel thus neutralizing the government’s opposition. The Mexican history displays the negative role of Institutional Revolutionary Party (IRP) in exploiting politics through seventy-one-party-rules DTO’s creation of systematic corruption. Government officials provided market access and distribution rights to the drug lords that strengthened their position and resulted in an expansion of cartels (Lee & Renwick, 2017). Burnett, Penaloza, and Benincasa (2010) reveal the connections of political systems with drug cartels. Mexican government favored Sinaloa carter reflected through the freedom enjoyed by the carter for years. The authors identify Mexico as a narco-state due to its involvement in corrupt activities. The source strengthens the claims of argument as it highlights the weakened state of government. Counternarcotic attempts of Mexican state also exhibits loopholes as the authorities targeted specific cartels only, leaving the stronger cartels untouched. The Mexican government targeted small carters as it did not touch the biggest drug carter Sinaloa. Facts also reveal that Sinaloa managed to escape from judicial prosecutions due to its ties with the judicial personnel (Burnett, Penaloza, & Benincasa, 2010).


The argumentative analysis provides answers to the research questions. The drug lords in Mexico holds much power due to their connections with the influential authorities including government officials, police officers, and the judges. Several factors contribute to their enhanced powers such as generation of enormous profits from drug activities and using them to bribe the government officers. The analysis also leads to the solution of the second question regarding the inability of state in eliminating drug cartels. The main reason for state’s failure in eradicating drug cartels from Mexico throughout the history remains prevalence of systematic corruption. Evidence suggests the alliance between government agencies and drug cartels. Many influential people in Mexico are part of the drug businesses thus providing safer and free operating environment to the drug dealers. Corruption is apparent in state’s provision of safe distribution and operating rights.


Burnett, J., Penaloza, M., & Benincasa, R. (2010). Mexico Seems To Favor Sinaloa Cartel In Drug War. Retrieved 03 05, 2018, from

Cordero, C. F. (2013). Breaking the Mexican Cartels: A Key Homeland Security Challenge for the Next Four Years. UMKC L. Rev, 81, 289-312.

Lee, B., & Renwick, D. (2017). Mexico’s Drug War. Retrieved 03 05, 2018, from

Partlow, J. (2016). Mexico’s Drug Trade Hits Home. Retrieved 03 05, 2018, from




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