It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
2011-06-05 12:11 AM
The fruits of drug trafficking are on open display in this western state capital: Cartel members honor their dead with gaudy mausoleums at the main cemetery, black-market moneychangers work in the open, and store shelves are stuffed with products from businesses identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as being fronts for organized crime.
The state of Sinaloa, which shares a name with Mexico's most powerful drug cartel, is known as the cradle of drug trafficking in this country, a designation that makes some ask why it has not been the focus of President Felipe Calderon's 4-year-old nationwide war on the cartels.
"It is obvious that in Sinaloa there is a pact," said Congressman Manuel Clouthier of Sinaloa.
It has been a safe state for organized crime to live there and work there and develop with total tranquility," he charges. The Calderon government did not respond to requests for comment. In the past, it has vehemently denied neglecting Sinaloa or having any pact with the cartel.
In 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department banned Americans from doing business with several Sinaloa-based companies it said were fronts for Zambada, including the prominent Santa Monica cattle and dairy firm. But the so-called Kingpin Act, which prohibits U.S. companies from doing business with known drug traffickers, has not prompted any efforts by Mexico to shut them down. Supermarkets are stacked with Santa Monica milk bottles.
One street, known as the "little market," is lined with informal currency changers who sit beneath umbrellas and openly trade huge sums of dollars with men who emerge from darkened sports utility vehicles with wads of pesos. Local police driving by do nothing.