Drug Cartels Using Protection Rackets to Seize Local Businesses

Reimar / shutterstock.com
Reimar / shutterstock.com

The Mexican drug cartels that are devastating American communities with fentanyl and heroin are also terrorizing their own communities back home. While drugs and slave trafficking have certainly been profitable for the cartels since Joe Biden has been in office, the organizations are now expanding their criminal operations to include protection rackets.

It’s important to watch what the cartels are doing in their home country because they’ll be doing the same thing here in America in just a few years if left unchecked. A report in the Washington Post indicates that the cartels now control a huge sector of Mexico’s ubiquitous tortilla industry.

Protection rackets used to be very popular with the Mafia here in America before organized crime was largely eliminated. Thugs stop by a business once a week to collect an extortion payment. If the store owners refuse to pay, the store catches on fire or gets shot full of bullet holes.

When you think about it, it’s remarkably similar to the criminal income tax system here in America. Sure, you can choose to not pay the IRS, but then the government will destroy your life.

The National Tortilla Council in Mexico estimates that as many as 15% of all tortillerías in the country are now under the control of the drug cartels. The extortion fees are so exorbitant that when the mom-and-pop stores making handmade tortillas can no longer afford them, the cartels claim de facto ownership over them.

About 20,000 neighborhood storefront tortilla businesses in Mexico are currently paying protection fees to the cartels. They are also extorting fishermen, chicken vendors, trucking companies, logging operations, and other types of businesses.

The National Tortilla Council says that things have gotten so bad that the cartels are practically setting the price of tortillas across Mexico. The price of tortillas jumped by 61% in May. The increase wasn’t because of inflation or supply chain woes. It was due to businesses trying to make enough to cover their weekly extortion fees.

Antonio Vasquez runs the local tortilla association in the state of Morelos. He opened a family tortilla business there more than 20 years ago. Back then, a local street gang was charging every business $10 a week in protection money. Today, the cartels are charging family businesses more than $900 a month. That’s about 50% of what a local tortillería makes in Mexico.

Vasquez says he recently had armed men barge into his tortilla shop and hand him a burner cell phone. They told him their boss would be calling him soon.

“Even I’m afraid,” said Vasquez.

Drug cartels used to have a good reputation in Mexico so long as they were sticking to the drug trade. They reserved their ruthless violence for rival cartels and mostly left local businesses alone. The cartels had an almost Robin Hood-style reputation among locals because they didn’t bother regular people. They killed their rivals in the industry and sold drugs in the US.

Not anymore. The current generation of cartel leadership is clearly looking to expand the range and power that they wield. If they’re running major protection rackets and taking over industries in Mexico today, they’ll be doing it here in the United States if Joe Biden gets a second term in office.

Why wouldn’t they want to expand here? America has already proven itself to be too weak to repel unarmed foreign invaders. By the time the American people wake up to the threat that these global criminal enterprises represent to us, it will already be too late.