SYDNEY – Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel is smuggling about 500 kilos a month of cocaine into Australia via the country’s west coast, the press reported Wednesday.
The Mexican criminal organization has been smuggling drugs into Australia for around 30 months, accounting for about half of the cocaine on the market, Australian Crime Commission CEO John Lawler said.
The cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organization, has helped expand Australia’s cocaine market, with a gram of the drug going for between $100 (U.S.) and $500 (U.S.).
Mexico is the main port of origin for drugs arriving in Australia, with well-organized groups likely behind the large quantities being smuggled, Lawler said.
Australian authorities seized 200 kilos of cocaine worth $73.1 million (U.S.) in July.
A 25-year-old Mexican who smuggled the drugs into Sydney, a 30-year-old American and two Australians, ages 24 and 25, were arrested in connection with the bust.
The Sinaloa cartel, which was founded in 1980, has large networks in South America, the United States and Europe.
The cartel, which is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico.
Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
Forbes magazine estimated last year that Guzman has a fortune of $1 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world, while Time magazine put him on its 2009 list of most influential people in the world. EFE