Border Report: Buying the Dispensaries — They Own Them

During the months ranging from late October 2017 through early January 2018, I was in contact with a number of persons who are either deeply involved or have an intimate knowledge of cartel (primarily Sinaloa Cartel) along the border region between the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California along the U.S./Mexico border.

My contacts with these people were either due to my travels into the northern Mexico states on unrelated business or incidental contacts in the United States.

My conversations generally began with the topic of the large amounts of drugs that seem to be entering the United States virtually unimpeded and why they had so much interest in escalating the importation of their illicit goods into this country.

One of the individuals, who goes by the name of “Fernando” and lives in an undisclosed location in Arizona said that he is responsible for recruiting and funding people who are interested in owning and managing these Marijuana Dispensaries in the states where the sale of Marijuana is legal.

Border report: The cartel recruit and fund people who are interested in owning and managing legal Marijuana Dispensaries in the states where it is legal.

“Fernando” provides Cartel funds to these individuals through a third or fourth party so they can apply for and put these dispensaries into operation. The Cartel(s) provide the smuggled Marijuana to the vendor, who in turn sells it “legally” to the consumer and a minimum of 75% to 80% of the profit is returned to the Cartel mostly by smuggling cash back to Mexico.

“Fernando” was very proud in his responses to me and said that they have a number of attorneys in the United States who work with the Cartels specifically to continue in their efforts to enact legislation in other states to legalize the use and sale of Marijuana. Although “Fernando” didn’t specifically say how much money is going back to Mexico, he did say that it’s in the millions of dollars making their way back to Mexico on a monthly basis.

 

Operations

According to a number of anonymous reliable sources in Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel recently met with members of the Juarez Cartel to discuss the possibility of creating a partial federation to allow for each cartel to pass or smuggle drugs and money through “safe” corridors that would be created in each of their operational areas.

The intent of these corridors is to allow for the cartels to smuggle their loads into the United States through areas where they might have greater success, depending on where U.S. authorities were concentrating their efforts. The agreement would be that each cartel would be allowed safe passage so long as they paid a “tax” to traverse through their area.

I was able to confirm some of this information, as I happened at one of the hotel swimming pools when a couple of cartel members started talking about the intended plan to create this “federation”.

Grupo Delta

The Sinaloa Cartel created an internal investigations unit that monitors the movements and communications of the groups assigned to the different “plaza’s” that pertain to them. In short, Grupo Delta was created in an effort to maintain discipline and integrity in the cartel’s operations.

Grupo Delta members are known only to the upper echelons of the cartel and respond only to the designated Chief of Security. Grupo Delta is comprised of former military and college-educated communications and electronics operators and monitor activities throughout the cartel and reports all movement throughout the cartel to their superiors.

Members are known only to the upper echelon of the cartel and are responsible for relaying information from the field to their superiors only. Information received from Grupo Delta has resulted in the deaths of unknown numbers of people within each “plaza” who don’t adhere to the tenets of the cartel.

Staging areas in the immediate area of the border continue to be exploited with support from informants, observation, and law enforcement trends and patterns on the U.S. side of the border.

“Fernando” told me that there are still a number of “Rip” crews that attempt to intercept loads once they enter the United States to steal the drug loads and the cartel is countering them by placing scouts in remote mountainous areas stretching from Sasabe, AZ to the New Mexico border, depending on where the loads are making entry. These cartel “anti-Rip” crews are made up of ex-military (GAFES) and sicarios.

Information was received that there are a number of Poppy fields being cultivated in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, along the Chihuahua/Sonora border and are under heavily guarded by the “Gente Nueva” sicarios out of Chihuahua.

Border report. Cartels own the dispensaries. A Mexican poppy field.
Image Source: The New York Times.

The current wholesale price of “Chinese White” Heroin in Mexico is averaging around $40,000.00/Kilo

The current wholesale price of “Mexican Brown” Heroin is averaging around $25,000.00/Kilo

~Jeb Maynard Benteen

See also: Border Report: Cartel TTPs

About the Author: Jeb Maynard Benteen (a pseudonym) is a retired lawman now working a ranch deep in the heart of a border state. He is polylingual (that’s not a type of fetish, by the way) and consults for both a regional university and the occasional Federal agency. During a quarter-century career — which we describe thusly to make him sound even older than he is — he worked all manner of assignments, from line officer to sergeant, with a number of specialty billets in between. He currently sports a sublime mustache-and-beard combo of such magnificence it would put any Civil War general to shame. This is, we’re given to understand, one of the best parts of being retired. Benteen has been recognized and decorated for duty-related accomplishments several times. Alas, due to the nature of his reports and ongoing activities of assorted scoundrels in his area, we are unable to go into any detail. We can tell you he loves torta ahogada with a fierce and terrible love, however, and probably cooks it better than anyone you know (including your grandma).

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One thought on “Border Report: Buying the Dispensaries — They Own Them

  • May 23, 2020 at 5:11 am
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    So, really, kinda what you would expect. When the drugs become legal, and are still profitable, these guys move to a [more] legit business model.

    I’m the last person to suggest that drugs are “good” or encourage people to use them. However, the War on Drugs will be 49 years old this summer. Drugs won. Just like alcohol did in 1933. Unlike Prohibition, somehow we’ve managed to keep the WoD going 3.7 times longer because… reasons. At least with booze we figured out the error in a mere 13 years.

    You can’t change basic human behaviors via law and when you try you just make unscrupulous people very wealthy, expend a lot of your resources, shred the concept of Rule of Law, infringe the civil rights of your people and bury a lot of bodies unnecessarily while packing the prisons full of people who will probably learn even worse behaviors inside.

    No-knocks gone wrong, inner cities torn apart, distrust of the police at insanely high levels, civil asset forfeiture, race issues, crime feeding crime and on and on the list goes. At the same time old-fashioned police work has gone out the window in favor of playing with DHS provided toys.

    Truth be told, eventually there’s going to be a no-knock SWAT raid that kills some more innocent people. We won’t see it at the time but that will be the turning point. The public will have had enough and the death spiral will start, just like the end of Vietnam starts in 1968. And it will be a disaster again because then our readiness for serious things like hostage situations, terrorism etc. will be severely degraded when the public decides the LE can’t be trusted with what the public sees as military grade weapons and tactics.

    This “war” is probably the most corrosive public policy we have at this point and you can see how marijuana legalization isn’t getting beaten back, it’s spreading faster and faster. Because everyone knows it’s based on BS. Even right-wingers know it when they see gun-control proposals premised on problems created by the very drug laws that were supposed to prevent the problems in the first place.

    It’s time to just throw in the towel. The WoD is not winnable and the side effects are worse than the disease.

    Reply

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