Written by Natalie Simpson, @byuiscroll
Recaptured Jan. 8, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is behind the same bars of Mexico’s top security prison, which he escaped from July 11, 2015.
El Chapo escaped through a hole in his shower leading to a mile-long under ground tunnel, 16 months after his original capture Feb. 22, 2014.
“The people weren’t scared when he escaped,” said Logan Petersen, a returned missionary of the Mexico Hermosillo Mission, and a sophomore studying biology. “They didn’t really care a whole lot when he got captured for the simple fact that it appeared to be staged. Nobody believed it was a legit arrest because not a single person died, which is rare in cartel encounters.”
El Chapo is the leader of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most prominent providers of illegal drugs in the U.S., according to the U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.
“The people of Leon, Mexico, were affected because of the involvement that the cartels usually required from youth,” said Braxton Storm, a returned missionary of the Mexico Aguascalientes Mission and a freshman studying sociology. “As youth grew up, they often were initiated into a gang, and that became a life of violence and drugs. Those of the older generation were afraid for safety and well being of themselves and their loved ones who almost always were involved somehow in the cartels.”
The Sinaloa Cartel uses underground tunnel systems to traffic drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.
“More than 100 (tunnels) have been discovered along the U.S.-Mexico border since the 1990s, and it’s no accident that they are almost entirely in California and Arizona — the western border region where Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel remains the supreme criminal power,” according to The Washington Post.
One major hub for Mexican Cartels is Los Angeles, California. Its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border makes it a prime location for drug transactions, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“From Los Angeles, tractor trailers transport cocaine to Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Washington,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. “The Sinaloa Cartel employs drivers who are older U.S. citizens to drive tractor trailers because they believe they draw less attention from law enforcement than younger drivers in passenger vehicles.”
Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in the U.S. and “pose the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no group is currently positioned to challenge them,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In the mid 2000s, Idaho dealt seriously with a meth problem, prompting an entire campaign to fight meth abuse called “The Idaho Meth Project.”
“The majority of U.S. counties report meth is their most serious drug problem — more than cocaine and marijuana combined,” according to The Idaho Meth Project. “Meth use in Idaho has lead to increased crime, lost productivity, larger jail and prison populations, and is directly correlated to domestic violence and child abuse, adversely impacting families and children.”
Furthermore, methamphetamine available in the United States is primarily produced in Mexico and is highly pure and potent, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Currently the drug most frequently abused in Idaho is marijuana. In 2009, there were roughly 1,600 episodes of marijuana abuse treatment in Idaho, according to The Idaho Drug Control Update.