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Mexican drug cartels go high on social media

Mexican drug cartels go high on social media
The new generation of Mexican drug cartels cannot help but post their extravagant escapades on social media. And drug abuse in the U.S. indirectly fuels this lifestyle.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s publication entitled United States of America-Mexico: Bi-National Criminal Proceeds Study reports that drug sales in the U.S. contribute $19 to $29 billion to drug cartels in Mexico each year. Some fear that glamorizing organized crime using Instagram filters and hashtags minimizes the extreme violence and illegal activity conducted by these groups.

The Human Rights Watch reports that over 60,000 people were killed in Mexico through “drug-related violence” from 2006 to 2012 alone. Instagram has recently deleted multiple user accounts allegedly associated with Mexico’s most infamous drug cartels. The two sons of Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman Leora, kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel who escaped a Mexican prison in July 2015, have been actively posting their exploits for years on both Instagram and Twitter. They post diamonds, gold-plated guns, exotic animals, cash, scantily clad women and various combinations therein.

The women who make up the cartels’ entourages often refer to themselves as “narco princesses,” regularly updating their respective social media accounts to reflect a similarly glamorous lifestyle. La Princessa De La Banda, otherwise known as Melissa Plancarte, is a Mexican pop star and daughter of one of the alleged leaders of the drug cartel Knights of Templar. The starlet faced controversy after posting a photo on social media wearing a form-fitting dress with an emblem of the cartel; she quickly distanced herself from the association. Plancarte explains, “Regarding my father, I naturally love him, but I am not the one to judge him nor I am responsible for his acts … I’m totally oblivious to the situations that people are linking me with.”

Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), explains that these children of high-ranking members of drug cartels do not understand the dangers of broadcasting their lifestyles or affiliation with cartels. He explains, “They’re not as cunning. They’re not as astute as the older generations who try to keep a low profile. They didn’t flaunt the wealth because they knew that, by doing so, they would become high-value targets.”

Instagram closed multiple accounts allegedly belonging to the Guzman brothers and other cartel members, as the social media platform’s Terms and Conditions states users cannot post “violent, nude, partial nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content.”

Such casual displays of involvement in organized crime and its accompanying lavish lifestyle glorify the dark world of drugs and violence within drug cartels. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, it is not too late to seek help.


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