Note: The information contained on this page should in no way be interpreted as an endorsment for taking drugs of any kind. Drugs are illeagal and dangerous. No one should take drugs. SAY "NO!" TO DRUGS!!
The Cali Cartel is probably the most publicized drug syndicate in recent times, making a fictional appearance in the movie "Clear and Present Danger", but the Cali Cartel is hardly a fictional group. They are based out of Cali, Colombia, and are the largest Cocaine cartel in the world. They are responsible for more than 60% of the Cocaine being brought into America.
Below I have broken down the cartel into different sub-sections so that you can see how it is run.
The Mexican Contras are a smaller, less publicised drug cartel run out of Mexico. The cartel is not into cocaine, but rather deals in marijuana and some heroin.This cartel has taken advantage of the close proximity of there country to ours by running their drugs across the border.
When drugs are not flown or brought by boat into the country, they are taken through the border from Mexico. Some believe it is easier to run the drugs over on foot rather than taking there chances out on the ocean or in the air. This map shows the paths that are used by the drug "runners".
The drug cocaine is modern man's corruption of an ancient and useful product- the coca leaf. Andean and Amazonian Indians have been chewing coca leaves for thousands of years to help them endure the effects of extreme altitude and cold and to help give them endurance while working in the mines, where the conditions can be quite harsh. It is only when truckloads of coca leaves are synthesized into an amount of white powder that would fit into a measuring cup that the effects of the coca leaf become lethal. Imagine if one were to take an entire truckload of coffee and synthesize all the caffeine contained in the coffee into an amount of white powder that would fit into a measuring cup. Wouldn't that amount of caffeine be lethal too?! Of course it would. Cocaine is a dangerous product, and should not be used by anyone. The coca leaf, however, in and of itself, is not dangerous, and has been an integral part of South American Indian culture for a very long time.
This section details the basic breakdown of the cocaine operations into a 6 step process.
The Cali Cartel is involved with the drugs from start to finish. The start of cocaine is from a coca plant (like the ones below). The cartels will buy coca plants from local growers in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia so that they can later refine it into the highely potent drug cocaine.
Once picked, the Cocoa plant is sold to members of the cartel. The cartel members pick off the flowers and buds of the plant and then mash and grind the plant into a thick mash that is now ready to be marinated with different chemicals and cooked into powdered cocaine.
After the coca is ground the cartel extracts the paste and takes it to a special hidden lab that the cartel runs. If the local goverment finds the lab, sometimes the local armed forces can raid the lab and stop the drug production process before it begins. At the lab the mash is cooked and combined with other chemicals, poked, proded, and ultimately turned into a highely potent drug.
After the cocaine is done being processed it is then packaged into large bricks called "kilos" One kilo is equal to 1,000 grams of cocaine, which can be sold for as much as $15,000 here in the streets of the United States.
After the cocaine is packaged in kilos, it is boxed up and ready for shipping. The packaged drugs are usually picked up from the cartel and taken to a dock or an airport. The cartel pays people to smuggle the cocaine into America, usually on a small pleasure boat, or in a private airplane like the ones below.
(Above) Small Privately Owned Vehicles Like These Are Used To Get Cocaine From Latin America Into The U.S.
Once the packaged drugs are on a boat or in a plane and headed to America there are two main risks involved. The first risk is the high seas. However the biggest risk of all is being boarded by a law enforcement agency like the U.S. Coast Guard, or the U.S. Customs Agency. Once 200 nautical miles off of U.S. shores, vessels are subject to boarding and search by the United States.
(see the movie)