Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Poor MS-13

Like President Funes, El Salvador's Minister of Justice and Security David Munguía Payés also questions the inclusion of the MS-13 on the Treasury Department's list of transnational criminal organization. As Ernesto Rivas says, He
insisted that the MS-13 in El Salvador are not rich and do not have other sources of income other than extortion. He did not say anything about that the trafficking of drugs is important to the gang.
I've always wondered where all the money from illegal activities go. With so much money floating around through various criminal operations, you don't see many gang members living the high life. Obviously, there are costs involved in sustaining an army of thousands and their families, but it doest not seem to be a lifestyle of choice if you want to become rich.

The same goes for the FARC in Colombia. Who exactly has benefited from twenty years of drug trafficking?  Show me the money.

1 comment:

  1. Two partial answers:

    1) It's an incredibly unequal distribution. The top 10% gets most of the wealth and the real riches go to the top 1% and smaller (Raul Reyes wearing a Rolex, the FARC leadership mansion in Venezuela with all the wild parties). There are a few people making most of the profits. The rest of the group, most of the people on the streets or in the jungle, are usually dirt poor. The irony of that happening within the FARC shouldn't be lost.

    2) A lot of the money is lost in the trafficking chain, particularly distribution and money laundering. A significant portion of the money from drug sales doesn't leave the consuming country (enriching the US mob and Mexican cartels more than the FARC or MS-13). It's those final distribution steps (though not the street level dealers) that make most of the cash. Cash that does come back down is lost in the transfer. Laundering money across borders can be an expensive business.