Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Dirty Money

Edgardo Buscaglia and Samuel González estimate that some $25 billion (or about 70 percent of the industry's total annual profits) is laundered in Mexico's economy each year "by organized crime and drug traffickers". At some point, especially as the efforts to divert cocaine shipments outside of Mexico become more ingrained (assuming that they do) and as Mexican marijuana shipments are substituted by American-grown dope, I think it will be important to start distinguishing between drug trafficking specifically and organized crime in general. The two terms are used pretty much interchangeably in Mexican media, but the former is obviously a subset of the latter. Although drug trafficking surely constitutes the most significant portion of criminal income in Mexico, it's not the only one, and seems destined to occupy a decreasing piece of the pie.

As for the above stat, I'm not sure if it's because the authors didn't ask or the experts didn't offer, but there's no mention of whether or not that $25 billion refers to drug money or extortion payments or human trafficking.

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