HomeNewsBriefMexico Cartels Threaten Australia National Security: Report
BRIEF

Mexico Cartels Threaten Australia National Security: Report

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 25 MAY 2016 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Mexico's cartels are making inroads into Australia as Latin American drug trafficking organizations continue to look for lucrative markets far from home, a new report says.

The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) report (pdf) identifies the Sinaloa Cartel as the main organization consolidating its influence and contacts in Australia.

Mexican cartels are selling drugs wholesale to local groups including "Lebanese, Chinese and Albanian diaspora groups, and Australian biker gangs," the report says. The cartels have reportedly been setting up connections throughout the Asia Pacific region, with Australia as their primary "target."

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Criminal Migration

The report warns that the Mexican model of consolidating strong ties with local criminal groups in new markets is a threat to Australia's national security. One of the dangers involves what the report calls "sweeteners" -- cartels providing locals with handguns and other weapons as incentives for their business deals.

Furthermore, Mexican organizations' indiscriminate association with any local group capable of handling large drug shipments could lead to clashes over control of distribution networks. The cartel presence may compromise the stability of border security and transit spots, according to the defense think tank based at the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations reportedly first appeared on the Australian scene in 2010, when a number of Mexican nationals with cartel ties were arrested during counternarcotics operations.

The report cautions, however, that it is hard to confirm whether the Mexican cartel presence involves "permanent franchises" in the country or merely consists of "peripheral links" that are removed from the organization's central structure.

The SDSC's key policy recommendations are that the South Pacific "focus on intelligence gathering, maritime interdiction and capacity building in transit hubs" in order to hinder drug flows and disrupt criminal networks.

InSight Crime Analysis

As the report explains, Mexican drug cartels have for some time been looking beyond their northern neighbors to tap in to lucrative drug markets in Europe and the Asia Pacific. Indeed, the Sinaloa Cartel's expansion into Australia has been well-documented for years.

SEE ALSO:  Sinaloa Cartel News and Profile

Mexican cartels' incursion into Australia is due to a series of "push" and "pull" factors, the SDSC notes. The cartels get a "push" from decreasing demand for drugs in the United States, a major consumer nation for Mexican narcotics.

Australia's major "pull" factor is its own consumer market -- one of the largest in the world -- and the higher prices of drugs sold in the country. While US drug prices are falling -- according the report -- the difficulty of trafficking narcotics to more distant countries drives profits through the roof. The SDSC says the same kilogram of cocaine can be sold for $54,000 in the United States, $87,000 in the United Kingdom, and between $228,000 to $259,000 if it reaches Australia.

Australia's giant demand for Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) also caters to Mexico's booming production of these substances. Methamphetamine sold wholesale in Australia can be nearly 20 times as expensive as in Mexico.

Mexican cartels' outward expansion into new markets has been felt in other parts of the world, not least the European Union. And they are not alone -- Colombian traffickers are similarly spreading their tentacles in distant countries, including Australia. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 2 AUG 2021

After a spate of attacks on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico this year, the shipping industry is demanding…

BELIZE / 2 JUN 2022

Since El Salvador's government began a campaign of mass arrests two months ago in a gang crackdown, fewer than 60…

EXTORTION / 28 JAN 2022

Cartels are known for shakedowns of avocado growers, but lime farmers have been unnoticed victims of similar extortion schemes in…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…