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Fast Facts: How Cartels Are Diversifying in Mexico

Mexico has been used for decades as part of the production and transportation phases for illegal substances, including activities as far back as bootlegging operations and suppliers during the U.S. Prohibition in the 1920s and 30s. But political pressures have led narcotics traffickers to change tactics.  

The Mexican war on drugs—an effort to mitigate the increasing violence linked to drug cartels—began in 2006. By the mid-2010s, cartels were reading the writing on the wall. Along with the war on drugs, cartels were competing with a U.S. customer base that was increasingly turning to opioids and a growing number of jurisdictions and nations decriminalizing various substances. So, what are cartels turning to instead to make up for lost revenue?

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