I have one minor correction to Ryan’s excellent article. This quote is seriously out of date: “Outlaw motorcycle gangs rule the distribution of meth.” I beg to differ: the Mexican cartels now rule the distribution of meth. In the 1980s, the biker gangs employed some of the Mexican gangs to produce meth to avoid the repeated law enforcement arrests of its very visible members. Then in the 1990s the Mexicanns expanded out of the biker’s control and the biker gangs bought Meth from the Mexicans to redistribute. Why? Less LEO (law enforcement officer) detection an much less expensive meth. In the 1990s, California saw a massive upsurge in the number of large-scale Mexican meth labs. We saw labs capable of producing up to 800 pounds of Mexican-style meth at a time, and seized several labs a week. The Fresno County area was a hotbed of activity. With the regulation of ephedrine (ephedra), and later, pseudoephedrine (which is the main chemical in meth, called Mua Huang in Chinese, China being the primary supplier of this critical precursor) in California, and then elsewhere, the meth lab crisis moved further east as meth, and crystal meth/ Ice (purified meth, over 80% purity, about 4 lbs of meth required to make 1 lb of Ice, Ice being hugely profitable in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific), started to supplant cocaine and rolled over communities with its near-instantly addictive nature.
The pendulum has somewhat swung back to California, due to its close proximity to the border and the relative ease of crossing over. Make no mistake, the Mexican cartels make the Outlaw Biker Gangs look like kids playing dress up. The Mexican cartels rob each other, execute home invasions on other drug dealers to steal their product and profits, kidnap drug dealers or family members for debts owed or ransom, rat out their competition (and have signed up as informants to clear out competitors), kill defendant cooperators and their families, and pay cartel members (and their families in Mexico), if arrested, to quietly do their time instead of cooperating with law enforcement. Most Mexican cartel members don’t stand out and try to appear to be poor migrant workers, and thus blend into most urban environments, or receive scant notice on the freeways in cheap sedans traveling north with product. Few Mexican cartel drug proceeds are spent in the US or invested in money making/laundering businesses that would cause Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to be filed by banking institutions. No permanently successful cartel members drive fancy cars registered to them, or live in spacious houses they own, or wear colors or tattoos, or dress conspicuously. The higher up in the organization, the less likely that person will ever step foot in the US, running all their operations from Mexico. All trusted members have family or village connections. All narcotics proceeds are shipped out to Mexico via whatever means, reversing the direction the finished product made on its run north. Cartel-run auto body shops make hidden compartments with complicated access switches used to gain access. These compartments can be made airtight, which reduces storage capacity but can often fool narcotics K-9s. These hidden compartments can be easily converted in the most basic vehicle, and are not a bad idea for any prepper wanting hiding some of their more precious TEOTWAWKI supplies. (A note of caution: do this work yourself, don’t want to catch the wrong sort of attention, of either law enforcement or home invaders). You can hide hundreds of pounds/kilos of whatever in bigger vehicles in all sorts of places, from the outside roof/ceiling, down to inside the tires, from dashboards to airbags to doors to gas tanks to floorboards to engine compartments to bumpers to seat backs. We have seized hundreds of pounds of narcotics from small sedans. This is what I have seen, in nearly 20 years in aw enforcement.
The Mexican Mafia is a very real, hidden threat, and also viciously, intelligently run. One can only imagine what their structure might look like once TEOTWAWKI hits and the movement away from narcotics occurs. Look for the Golden Horde and its hangers-on to have one more layer behind and interspersed with them.
You are the best resource out there, Jim. Please don’t stop posting SurvivalBlog. Sincerely, – D.M.