Mexican cartels moving north into the U.S.

(the Mexican marijuana trade is more robust and brazen than ever before)

Any of several mildly euphoriant, intoxicating hallucinogenic drugs; such as, ganja, hashish, or marijuana, prepared from various parts of the Cannabis sativa plant.

Cannabis is the botanical name for the plant from which marijuana comes. Use of cannabis produces a mild sense of euphoria, as well as impairments in judgment and lengthened response time. Cannabis may be smoked or eaten.

Conflicts between ideas, beliefs, or opinions, or between the people who hold them.
discernible, discernable
1. Distinguishable, especially by the faculty of vision or the intellect.
2. The ability to see and to understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently.
enforcement officials
Police officers who make sure there is obedience to a law, regulation, or command.
That which has been destroyed or removed completely, as if down to the roots, or killed in large numbers.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water rather than in soil.
1. Producing profit or monetary wealth.
2. A money maker.
Strong or powerful.
Bringing in or taking out illicitly (illegally) or by stealth (sneaking).
Hostility or a strained relationships between people or groups.
People who make illegal or improper commercial activities; often across the borders of other countries.
virtually unabated
Almost, but not quite, sustaining an original intensity or maintaining full force with no decrease.

Mexican cartels are growing more marijuana crops inside the United States to avoid border confiscation by authorities

During 2008, the drug enforcement authorities confiscated record amounts of high-potency plants from Miami to San Diego and from vineyards leased by cartels in Washington state.

Mexican drug traffickers have also moved into hydroponic marijuana production; that is, cannabis grown indoors without soil and nourished with sunlamps, challenging Asian networks and smaller, individual growers, in the United States.

Marijuana trafficking continues virtually unabated in the United State, even as intelligence reports suggest the declining availability of heroin, cocaine, and other hard drugs that require extensive smuggling operations.

Tensions have increased among the cartels, which are warring over lucrative drug routes through Mexican border towns like Juarez, Tijuana and Nogales, Sonora.

More than 6,000 people, including hundreds of police officers, were killed by drug-related violence in Mexico in 2008. U.S. Border Patrol agents are also reporting more violent confrontations with traffickers.

In California, the largest domestic marijuana producer in the United States, the state authorities eradicated a record 2.9 million plants by the end of the marijuana harvest in December of 2008. Yet, enforcement officials say they see no discernible reduction in the domestic supply.

Mexican traffickers in the United States were choosing hydroponic marijuana, which is more potent, profitable, and easier to hide because it can be grown year-round with sunlamps.

A pound of midgrade marijuana sells for about $750 in Los Angeles, compared with $2,500 to $6,000 for a pound of hydroponic marijuana.

There was a case in 2008 in Florida in which Cuban growers used several houses in a single Miami tract development to supply hydroponic marijuana to Mexican traffickers.

The cartels still rely on smuggling. Near Nogales, Arizona, several cross-border tunnels were discovered, one of which extended from the back yard of a house, under the fence and into Mexico. Another series of cross-border tunnels made use of existing sewer lines or drainage pipes.

—Compiled from excerpts in an article in
"Mexican cartels move north of border" by Solomon Moore in
"The Global Edition of The New York Times as shown in the
International Herald Tribune; February 3, 2009; page 8.

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