HomeNewsBriefSinaloa Cartel Controls Over 40 Marijuana Trafficking Routes
BRIEF

Sinaloa Cartel Controls Over 40 Marijuana Trafficking Routes

INFOGRAPHICS / 12 AUG 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel controls more than 40 land, sea and air marijuana trafficking routes that run throughout Mexico and to various parts of the US and Europe, highlighting the extent of the organization's control over the trade.

According to government documents obtained by La Jornada, the Sinaloa Cartel controls the majority of areas where marijuana is cultivated in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco states, and also vies for power over cultivation in Oaxaca and Guerrero with the Zetas.

The majority -- 90 percent -- of the marijuana is moved by land, with routes originating in Guerrero and Oaxaca leading to the capital, and other routes moving south to north or inland to the coast. Land routes used to traffic marijuana to the United States include Tijuana to Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Ciudad Juarez to San Antonio, Texas; and Chihuahua to Douglas, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.

From the capital, marijuana flights leave bound for various US cities, including Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, and for European cities such as Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Madrid, Spain, which are used as jumping off points for marijuana distribution in Europe.Chapo Marihuana Routes

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico is one of the world's biggest marijuana supplier countries, with North America as a whole accounting for 69 percent of global marijuana seizures in 2011 -- the majority in the United States and Mexico, according to the United Nations' 2013 World Drug Report.

The extent of the Sinaloa Cartel's control over Mexican marijuana routes and production is not surprising, given various operations that have pointed to Sinaloa involvement in the past two years. In November 2011, US authorities took down a smuggling operation believed to have trafficked $2 billion in drugs from Mexico to Arizona, including 1,300 tons of marijuana, with the Sinaloa Cartel thought to be the source of the drugs. The largest marijuana farm ever found in Mexico as of 2011 -- 120 hectares -- was located in Baja California, a Sinaloa Cartel operational center.

What is perhaps most interesting is that the cartel is shipping marijuana to Europe. According to European police force Europol [pdf], most of the marijuana consumed in European countries does not come from Latin America but is either imported from North Africa, South-West Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and sub-Saharan Africa or it is grown locally. 

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

DRUG POLICY / 4 AUG 2017

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced a specialized opioid detection unit to address the drug abuse crisis afflicting…

GUATEMALA / 7 SEP 2011

Criminal gangs, notably the Zetas, threaten to disrupt Guatemala's upcoming elections. InSight Crime measured the risk across different regions…

MEXICO / 31 AUG 2012

A Mexican congressman recently asserted that under president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, the military will remain on Mexico's streets until at…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…