Do Mexico’s Cartels Have WMDs?
Do Mexico’s Cartels Have WMDs? by William Craddick – DisObedient Media
Business has never been better for Mexico’s criminal syndicates.
Organized crime in Mexico and Central America has long played a dominant role in destabilizing the region while contributing to a host of social issues within the United States where one of their largest groups of clientele is located. But more recent events show that the cartels are gaining a previously unheard of boldness, potentially achieving the ability to create WMDs and expanding their control of Mexico’s economy and government while violence escalates within the country.
The threat of cartel-handled nuclear or biological weapons in particular is a grave threat to not only the Mexican government, but also the United States. With a migrant crisis due to looming unrest in South America becoming likely, possession of such weapons will give organized criminal groups a powerful bargaining chip.
I. Increasing Aggression And Acquisition Of Nuclear Materials
Heavy competition between various cartels has contributed to a murder rate that hit an all time high in 2017. Spikes in violence are due to a number of factors, such as removal of certain leadership figures like Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and a spike in migration and unrest due to a growing “Latin Spring” in parts of Central and South America. The expected surge of refugees from countries such as Venezuela means that criminal groups are likely posturing themselves to control the routes that those fleeing conflict will take as they attempt to enter the United States.
Cartels have also been involved with a number of daring robberies where radioactive materials were stolen. In February and July 2018, Mexican authorities reported thefts of radioactive materials and placed multiple states on alert. These reports were followed by revelations on July 16, 2018 from the Center for Public Integrity that an unknown amount of Plutonium-239 and Cesium-137 had been stolen out of the vehicle of two US Department of Energy employees in Texas the previous year. The materials have not yet been recovered and neither the San Antonio police or the FBI disclosed the incident to the public. It takes only 7 pounds of plutonium to build a functioning nuclear warhead, and much less to combine with conventional explosives for the purpose of creating a dirty bomb. Moving these materials across the southern US border is not prohibitively difficult due to the number of federal employees who are controlled by cartel groups and would be unable to easily tell the difference between drugs and WMDs being moved cross-border.