Los Quiere Drogas con Esto?

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(Do You Want Drugs with That?)

A franchise is a typical business model that is used when a business is succeeding. The company simply takes some of the revenue from the first location and begins a second, and then third, etc. with the subsequent locations duplicating the practices of the successful one. Pizza Hut and McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza come to mind. If you want to own one, you cannot just buy a building and hang up a sign and start cooking whatever you want: you have to buy into the privilege and responsibilities and in return you get training and support and advertising that benefits you.

It is a most unfortunate sign that Los Zetas (which means the “z’s”) has not been caught napping, but rather is doing so well that they are in essence franchising their business model into Central America. According to The Christian Science Monitor on December 30, 2010, “One of the most violent drug gangs in Mexico, Los Zetas, has set up cells in several Central American countries. They’ve recruited local former military agents to their training camps, terrorized undocumented migrants, and lured poor farmers and youth to work as hired hands, just like they’ve done in Mexico, experts say.” The article goes on to describe: “Using unparalleled brutality to establish their authority – beheading rivals and massacring migrants who won’t join them – the group branched out into almost every form of organized crime in Mexico. Apart from drug smuggling, they extort businesses, school teachers, and undocumented migrants, steal oil from pipelines, and dabble in CD piracy and sex trafficking.”

The Zetas have recruited mainly among the poor, with leadership that are fully ex-military and ex-police. They have been known to take over peoples’ homes and to enter radio stations and force announcers to make threatening announcements for them.

Some people have seen the southern movement from Mexico as a sign that Mexico is actually driving the drug traffickers out. But author George Grayson of William and Mary College who is co-authoring a book on Los Zetas disagrees, saying rather, “that they are expanding in order to consolidate important drug routes between Honduras and Mexico.”

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