US drug traffic earns $63 bn per year: Official
Ciudad Juarez: Drug trafficking in the United States generates an annual income of USD 63 billion, Mexico's Secretary of Public Safety said.
Genaro Garcia Luna told a security forum in the border city of Ciudad Juarez -- the epicentre of Mexico's drug violence -- that a kilo of cocaine in Europe or the United
States can sell for almost 50 times as much as it sells for in some Latin American countries.
"The cost of cocaine per kilogram in a country like Colombia or Mexico is 2,198 dollars, but in cities inside the United States or Europe people buy it for up to 97,400" dollars per kilogram, Garcia Luna said yesterday.
Mexico has deployed more than 36,000 troops countrywide to take on the country's powerful cartels as drug violence has spiralled, with almost 10,000 killed in suspected drug attacks since the start of last year.
"Without a market, there would be no drug trafficking or violence," Garcia Luna said, admitting that there had been a rise in drug use in Mexico in recent years.
"In 1998, (drug use) was 0.3 percent of the total population (of 107 million), in 2002 it grew to 0.4 percent and in 10 years it reaches 0.8 percent," Garcia Luna said.
Mexico last week quietly legalised possession of small quantities of drugs such as heroin, marijuana and cocaine, arguing that limited resources are better used in the fight against organised drug crime.