Rafael Cardenas Vela, an important member of the Gulf Cartel, is testifying in Brownsville TX, hoping to avoid decades in escape-proof US prisons. The organization structures of the drug cartels are like that of big businesses (which they surely are.) Thus, arrests of key members don’t cripple the organization because new people simply fill the roles.
The younger Cardenas testified that it cost him about $1 million a month when he ran the Rio Bravo plaza to cover payroll, rent, vehicles and bribes. He had to recruit, train and equip his own gunmen. When they were killed, he continued paying their salaries to their families.
Bribes went to every level of law enforcement, the press, members of the military and corrupted U.S. officials, he said.
In addition,drug cartels are known to be skilled at money laundering.
In The Money and the Power. The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, an FBI agent said 1950’s mobsters went’t smarter but that they would do things the rest of us won’t do. The same holds true of the drug cartels. It is a huge mistake to assume they are a bunch of street corner thugs. In reality, they have highly sophisticated drug and human smuggling operations and make money from extortion and kidnapping as well. They corrupt thousands on both sides of the borders and move billions around the planet.
And somehow our government seems strangely mute about the money laundering.