Women on the rise in Mexican drug cartels

The high mortality rate in Mexico's drug war has seen women progress quickly in the shadowy underworld of the cartels and they are increasingly taking on key management roles, a new book says.

"Female Bosses of Narco-Traffic," by Arturo Santamaria, a researcher at the Autonomous University of the State of Sinaloa, traces the ascent of women in drug trafficking organizations.

"The narco-traffickers will become stronger as a result of this," wrote Santamaria. "They will be more difficult to fight because the women appear to be acting smarter."

An estimated 50,000 people have been killed since 2006 in a government crackdown on organized crime that has set off turf wars among rival groups even as they fight off the Mexican military's counter-narcotics units.

Santamaria said the dead have been mainly males belonging to the cartels, which has led to a changing of the guard with younger men and women rising to the top of drug trafficking organizations.

"Widows, daughters, lovers and girlfriends of the men, who are part of the same criminal families," have had to lend a hand, he said.

Interviews with researchers and journalists reproduced in the book tell their story.

"After they killed my father, my brother remained," recalls one of these women. "But he was gunned down in the most recent shootout, and now I have taken the reins."

In the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Mexico's main poppy and marijuana producing region and home to leading drug lords, many young women grew up around the business.

"They absorbed it from the time they were girls. They know what it is and how it works," said Santamaria.

Women were initially recruited into the business to extract juice from poppy, a delicate process requiring gentle handling.

"After that, they started transporting drugs, laundering money and engaging in so-called narco-diplomacy," using their charms to corrupt government or police officials, said Santamaria.

"Later, they started getting involved in operations," he said.

They learned how to manage people, run operations and move money, skills that ultimately prepared them to take over entire operations.

As of October last year, 46 female cartel leaders have been arrested by Mexican authorities, according to the country's attorney general's office.

In the United States, 2,143 Mexican women have been arrested over the past decade for involvement in drug trafficking.

Santamaria said women act with more caution and use deadly force more sparingly than men.

"Maybe this is because they are mothers and have children," argued the researcher, while cautioning that younger women were apt to be as bloodthirsty as men.

Zetas, the dominant cartel in western Mexico, has recruited women as hired killers more actively than other cartels. Unlike the Sinaloa cartel, which prefers to stick within known families, the Zetas hire all over the country.

Manuel Clouthier, a businessman and politician from Sinaloa, said he believed women in the drug trafficking business were more responsible, more loyal and, therefore, more effective.

And he warned that the rise of women augurs ill for the war on drugs.

"It used to be that mothers told their sons and husbands to leave the business or not get involved in it," said Clouthier. "But if the mother is the one who is already involved, she's not likely to be the one to tell a son: Don't get involved!"

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • The Race to Global Greatness - YGP6
    The Race to Global Greatness - YGP6

    Yamaha Motor Philippines (YMPH) recently held the first leg of the Yamaha Grand Prix 6 at the SM Sta. Rosa compound in Laguna. The racing categories for this year are the following: Automatic Inter-Club RaceUnderbone Inter-Club Race115 Superstock ATVega Force i SuperstockSniper 150 Open UB130 Open UBMio 125 MX i …

  • Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon AvenueVolkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, …
    Volkswagen opens new showroom along Quezon AvenueVolkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, …

    Volkswagen opened a new showroom along Quezon Avenue, which is now the automotive row of Northern Metro Manila.At the Innauguration was Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald, Branch Manager Bob Anthony Palanca, Volkswagen Philippines: President and CEO John Philip Orbeta and General Manager Nemesio Solomon, Jr. This new showroom has the latest Volkswagen Interactive Showroom applications. ... …

  • Nissan launches its “Virtual to Reality” GT Academy here in the Philippines
    Nissan launches its “Virtual to Reality” GT Academy here in the Philippines

    The Filipino Gran Turismo gamer just became eligible to become a Pro Race Car driver as Nissan Philippines Inc. launched its GT Academy here in the Philippines. The object is to find the best Grand Turismo players in both the online qualification process and participating in the live events after which they’ll compete with each other in National Finals to see who gets to attend the 3 month Race camp.  The winner gets to stay in the UK near Silverstone and will take part in UK national and club …

  • Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT
    Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT

    Sen. Sergio Osmeña III wants electricity to be exempted from value added tax under a proposed measure that will amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and the Reformed VAT Law. He said the move aims to ease the burden of the public in paying high electricity rates in the country. “VAT on electricity is another burden on the already over-taxed shoulders of our people, especially those whose incomes are barely enough to cover their basic needs. Osmeña, chairman of the Senate …

  • No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday
    No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday

    No lotto tickets will be sold and no lotto draws made starting tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, up to Easter Sunday in observance of Holy Week. In a statement, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, acting Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman and general manager, said the selling of lotto tickets and lotto draws will resume on April 6,  Monday. “We thank all Lotto players for your trust and confidence in the PCSO games, and we count on your continued support of our efforts to raise funds for …

  • Quake rocks C. Visayas
    Quake rocks C. Visayas

    A magnitude-3.2 earthquake rocked parts of Central Visayas yesterday. State seismologists said the quake was an aftershock of a powerful tremor that hit the region in 2013. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake occurred at 7:54 a.m. Its epicenter was located 10 kilometers  southeast of Buenavista, Bohol. Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013. …

  • Super howler nears Phl
    Super howler nears Phl

    A typhoon that has devastated islands in the Pacific is forecast to become a category 5 monster howler as it barrels toward the Philippines this week. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Maysak will be named Chedeng when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility tonight or tomorrow morning. In an interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Gener Quitlong said the forecast track of Maysak may still change depending on the movement of …

  • Philips Gold finally shines

    Philips Gold made 11 service aces on its way to beating Mane ‘N Tail, 25-19, 27-25, 25-16, for its first victory in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Coinference Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.Former College of St. Benilde standout Rossan Fajardo had six aces as part of her 10-point output as the Lady Slammers finally barged into the win column after losing their first two matches.Ex-National University star Myla Pablo led Philips Gold with 14 points highlighted by 12 kills, …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options