SANTIAGO – The seizure of 3t of marijuana at San Antonio port has alerted authorities to the possible presence of a cartel. Mexico’s Jalisco Cartel has already branched out to numerous South American countries. Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado has announced plans to prevent the cartel’s expansion.
Four containers originating from Mexico contained 3t of marijuana. The drugs were discovered at San Antonio port in Valparaíso Region. Authorities assume the drugs were for the Metropolitan Region to be sold before the New Year’s festivities.
Law enforcement is worried about a possible connection to Mexico’s Jalisco Cartel which has been expanding throughout South America. The cartel has already expanded into Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Uruguay and Peru, among others.
Marijuana in Valparaíso
Investigative police and customs officials seized the drugs.
Experts believe the Jalisco Cartel, an offshoot of the Sinaloa Cartel, is focusing on South America in response to marijuana legalization in many US states, which previously were the cartel’s main markets.
Chile is an ideal destination due to its many ports and proximity to Peru and Bolivia, both of which produce massive amounts of cocaine. Another factor is the country’s high usage of illicit drugs.
Security expert Lucía Dammert told Meganoticias that “it is important to recognize that we are already part of the world’s drug trafficking route and, probably, other types of criminal organizations.”
However, cartels operating in the country would be a novelty as most Chilean drug operations lack the strength and international connections to expand because they’re run more like family businesses. Chile’s police, despite numerous scandals, are also considered the least corrupt in Latin America, which would help keeping a lid on the business.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado has presented measures to combat the illicit drugs business. “We have new drones, with more autonomy and better vision, plus they have underwater tracking, so they can test and check the ships arriving in Chile,” he said.
Interior Undersecretary Juan Francisco Galli told Radio Biobío that “we will be attacking the entire chain.” He also mentioned targeting micro traffickers in the lower income neighborhoods and focusing on confiscating drug properties, preventing a restart after an operation has been dismantled.
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.