Too-Big-To-Fail, Megabanks And Mexican Drug Cartels

By: Katie Burke

Mexico was the top producer of marijuana for decades. However, with U.S allowing medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, it’s hurting the Mexican farmers. For the first time in history, Mexican farmers are now switching their crops to poppy seeds. Heroin is in high demand because of the abuse of painkillers, such as oxycontin. The more illegal the drug is, the more profitable it is. With the spike of addiction, poppy will be very profitable in Mexico.

In 2016 there were 12 thousand acres of marijuana crop seized at the border, compared to the 44 thousand acres in 2015. Two to three years ago, a kilo of marijuana was $60-$90, and now buyers are paying $30-$40 per kilo. If U.S states continue to legalize marijuana, it will run Mexican marijuana farmers into the ground. Mexican Drug Cartels make an estimated 19 billion off of Americans and drugs, and some believe that estimation is conservative.

Even though Mexico will have to change what it harvests, their method of laundering money through big banks here in the USA will not. In 2014, Bank of America, Western Union and JP Morgan were a few of the banks allegedly involved in the drug trade. Wachovia Bank was accused of laundering approximately $380 billion in Mexican drug cartel money. In 2008, Wachovia received a slap on the wrist with a $160 million fine and not one banker served time. Many wonder how it’s possible for large institutions to get caught laundering money for Mexican drug cartels and Bloomberg’s Michael Smith set forth a devastating expose of these banks. Smith pointed out the banks will not be indicted because it is official government policy not to prosecute megabanks.

According to Smith, no big U.S bank has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again. Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory. Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets.

While big banks seemingly accept money from large drug cartels they can not under any circumstances accept money from legal dispensaries due to federal laws. In the states where medical and recreational are legal, the business owners are forced to move significant amounts of cash which can be highly dangerous and troublesome for themselves, customers, and tax collectors.

It’s during these times; the American people look for leadership in the White House. Leaving many of us to wonder; what will be done with this ever changing drug war? Trump was quoted as saying during a luncheon hosted by the Miami Herald in April of 1990, that the U.S drug policy was “a joke.” He went on to say there was only one sure way to win the war on drugs. “You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”