My family is from Chihuahua and we don’t have a police force in our rural town. The Sinaloa Cartel uses our town as a gathering place to transport drugs and everyone is cool with it for some reason, literally everyone knows it but nobody really cares at this point. At first everyone did it and they started cracking down on the locals who opposed it.
After a while everyone resumed their normal life, even crimes like assault and theft were committed. My friends and I went to our baseball field one day and there were tire tracks and blood on the ground because they were dragging a rapist from the back of the truck. If you are caught stealing, they cut your hands off and leave you in the wilderness. Yes, it sucks that all of this is going on, but growing up I noticed that they maintain law and order in the police.
The soldiers regularly come to patrol the region, but they sometimes go into hiding a few hours after the arrival of a convoy. Everything is very tightly controlled and even the biggest cities like Casa’s Grandes have corrupt officials who campaign against the cartels but support them behind closed doors because they get paid.
They have their large camps and forts in the desert, but they are constantly moving them according to military activity in the area. As bad as it sounds, many locals support the cartels because they buy everyone what they need and have maintained law and order. My grandfather got a new tractor and new land so he could expand his farming activities and they even paid to keep migrant workers in his field throughout the year.
At every big event there are people patrolling so that no one starts something crazy because there are usually a lot of drunks during these events. I have personally met many of these cartel members and most of them are not necessarily bad people, they are just disgruntled citizens and ex-servicemen who got screwed up by the Mexican system and didn’t nothing to lose.
It’s just crazy to me that this whole drug operation is going on in my own backyard and we all close our eyes. It’s not even out of fear, but because they have done more to protect us and keep us financially stable than the Mexican government. I had the privilege of being able to live in the United States, I go back and forth from time to time and they know who I am. They told me that when they saw my truck they were doing radio patrols to let me pass and not to disturb me because they knew I had no malicious intent and was just visiting my family.
What they are doing is wrong, but there is nothing I could do about it, even now that I live in the United States, but I just know they won’t be demolished anytime soon. They have the backing of corrupt citizens and officials and it’s just the Sinaloa cartel, there are larger operations in eastern and southern Mexico.