Friday, October 10, 2008

Drug Cartels and Footy: A Match Made in Hell

Cocaína. Nieve. Basuco. No, this isn't a story about Adrian Mutu. It's about Mexican second division (which is actually the third level of footy) club Mapaches de Nueva Italia, which plays its matches in Michoacan. Mapaches plays in the Bajio group of the Liga de Nuevos Talentos, which is described as being composed of teams that have no interest in being promoted and are solely interested in developing talent. Unfortunately, Mapaches members may be developing their talent in singing narcocorridos.

The Guardian has noted that Mexican prosecutors are investigating Mapaches for possible links to several drug cartels. After conducting a raid on the club after a game in Mexico City which resulted in the arrest of numerous Mapaches players and club officials, federal authorities are convinced that the club is involved in money laundering activities. For the past several years, Michoacan has been one of the centers of Mexican drug-trafficking (the preferred route now that Miami is considered too visible) as drug cartels look for effective smuggling routes for cocaine.

But the story out of Morelia (the capital of Michoacan) is more confusing by the month. After cartel members threw grenades into a crowd in September (on Mexican Independence Day), President Felipe Calderón, who is from Morelia, mobilized thousands of soldiers to root out those responsible. Initial reports claimed that two cartels are potentially responsible, although it remains unclear. One possible cartel is the Zetas, based out of Matamoros (fun side-trip when on South Padre Island for Spring Break!). They have in turn blamed La Familia, a smaller cartel that the Zetas trained, for the attacks. For now the Mexican authorities seem to believe them, as they have rounded up and beaten several members of La Familia. Although it's unclear why the cartel would target civilians, it does increasingly look like Mapaches provided them with a way to launder all of their ill-gotten gains.

I would keep an eye on Torres and Orozco.


The NY Kid said...

No one has yet commented on the genius of the tag "Mexican Soccer Blows"? It's about cocaine!

Adam said...

I've always wondered if I could play for a lower division squad in a small country, but now I know I could! As long as I was willing to be a drug mule.

I do like the tag NY Kid