Mexican drug cartel infiltrates AustraliaSeptember 15th, 2010 - 11:59 am ICT by IANS
Sydney, Sep 15 (IANS) One of the world’s most powerful organised crime syndicates, the Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico, has infiltrated Australia, importing up to half of the cocaine used on the east coast over the past two years, media reports said Wednesday.
Australian and overseas police suspect the cartel already dominated Australia’s cocaine trade when authorities intercepted a 240-kg drug shipment in June, Xinhua reported.
Police believe that people working for the cartel had smuggled about half a tonne of cocaine a month into Australia over the past 30 months.
The seizure netted drugs worth $77 million in what was Australia’s fifth-largest bust.
Discovery of the cartel’s operations has confirmed the ease with which international crime syndicates have penetrated Australia’s maritime borders, Fairfex newspaper said.
It has also highlighted how the surging number of Australian cocaine users is helping to enrich a network responsible for the deaths of thousands of Mexicans, and the destabilisation of the Mexican state.
International law enforcement agencies, including the US Drug Enforcement Agency, believe Sinaloa has set up a well resourced business in Australia, with operatives based in Sydney.
The Sinaloa cartel is controlled by billionaire drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Its clashes with rival drug gangs continue to fuel bloodshed and corruption in Mexico.
More than 28,000 people have died in Mexico since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon ordered 50,000 soldiers to join the police in a “drug war”.
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