The Drug Cartels, Equal Opportunity Employers


Going against the traditional role of women in Mexico, there’s a spike in females being recruited to work for the drug cartels. According to an analysis in the New York Times, Mexican cartels are using women as lookouts, mules and even killers. Some find employment in kidnapping, where they use their gender to lure victims into vulnerable positions where they can be taken for ransom.

The piece even mentions one woman who gained a high level position in a cartel before she was imprisoned for money laundering and drug trafficking.

One thing drug cartels are known for is adapting to a changing environment. If a woman can gain access where a man would have difficulty, a woman will be offered the job. This parallels using minors to run drugs across the border – if they are caught at a border entry point, they are usually released back into Mexico with no charges pressed. U.S. laws are much less strict for minors in possession of drugs, and the smugglers know this.

The motivation to participate in the drug-fueled economy is simple. Without other opportunities to work and support their families, for many there is little choice. Legal jobs are available in Mexico, in fact, their unemployment rate is about half the US figure. But, while jobs are available, the pay rate is so low in most cases, many workers are looking with envy at the huge flow of money coming from the US to buy drugs.

In a parody of feminism, women can be just as much the cold-blooded killer as a man. The Global Post cites a case of a female “hitman” who confessed to murdering for the notorious Zetas on YouTube. According to a study by a Mexican journalist, they get involved because, “ women fall under the pressures of a difficult economy, broken homes, single motherhood or are led by gangster boyfriends and husbands into the crime world.”


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