Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2014 Contents A7
January 26, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CHARLES KONG SOO
University of the West Indies (UWI) criminology
lecturer Daurius Figueira says the $644 million
cocaine bust hidden in juice cans intercepted by US
Customs officers at Norfolk, Virginia, USA, is the
wakeup call that T&T has been infiltrated by the
Mexican drug cartel.
Figueira is also the author of the book, Cocaine
Trafficking in The Caribbean & West Africa in the
Era of The Mexican cartels.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian in a telephone
interview last week, he said: "That shipment has all
the hallmarks of a Mexican drug cartel operation, its
fingerprints are all over it.
"That is the wakeup call for T&T. The Mexican
cartels have already infiltrated the Dominican Republic,
Puerto Rico, the Eastern Caribbean,
Belize, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
islands, US Virgin Islands. It s T&T s
time now, and Jamaica s turn is next."
Figueira said the Mexican drug car-
tels strategy was to use the Caribbean
to move their product not only to West
Africa and Europe, but also to the east-
ern seaboard of the USA and Canada.
He said for the first time in the his-
tory of the Caribbean islands, the
Caribbean was becoming fully inte-
grated into drug trafficking towards the
Figueira said cocaine swallowers and
mules transported the drug in "modest"
quantities to Canada and the US,but
drug dealers were using containerised
cargo to ship cocaine in massive quan-
He said the cocaine shipment that
the US interdicted was not the work
of small-scale players, where three or
four people got some cans and "tried
something" by filling them with cocaine
and selling them. Figueira said it was
a well-organised, industrial smuggling
Dealers use mould to
press cocaine into shape
Unlike the liquid cocaine in a Pear D
soft drink bottle that caused the
death of Royal Navy veteran Joromie
Lewis in the United Kingdom in De-
cember 2013, the cocaine intercepted
in the Virginia drug bust was not dis-
solved, it was moulded to fit cans la-
beled Trinidad Orange and
He said that meant the drug dealers
had a mould to press the cocaine in
that circular shape.
Local manufacturer SM Jaleel and
Company Ltd, which also makes the
Pear D soft drink brand, stated on its
Web site that it did not export the con-
tainer of juices in which some 732
pounds of cocaine was concealed in.
Mexican cartels infiltrate T&T
UWI lecturer on $644m cocaine bust:
HOW THE MEXICANS OPERATE
Figueira said the Mexican drug cartels used
two strategies to set up their trafficking
operations; They corrupted the military and
police and took the local gangs to be their
He said members of the military/police were
also offered trafficking franchises as Mexican
cartels preferred to corrupt and recruit them
rather than politicians who were transitory.
Figueira said Mexican cartels also formed
alliances with the narco-trafficking elites and
gangs, offering them lucrative deals and drug
franchises that were much better than those
offered by the Colombians and Venezuelans.
He said some members of these elites had
made the fatal mistake of treating the Mexicans
Figueira said once the Mexican cartels had
established their links with gangs and others,
they moved to physically eliminate the local
elites with deliberate violence such as
beheadings to leave as a sign.
He said this was how the Mexican cartels
radically changed the social order of the illicit
trades in a narco-trafficking state, instilling a
new order in which the State was forced to
perpetually battle for its survival because it had
lost its capacity to maintain law and order.
Sinaloa, Los Zetas cartels in the Caribbean
Figueira said the Sinaloa and Los Zetas were the
two dominant Mexican cartels present in the
He said when they were moving through the islands,
their leaders remained nameless and faceless.
Figueira said the Mexican drug cartels policy was
that in every market that they established, they also
became involved in retailing drugs, guns, trafficking,
prostitution, and the smuggling of counterfeit goods.
He said they were moving people through the
Caribbean, carrying them into Central America, into
Mexico, and then smuggling them across the border
into the US.
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