Mexican Cartels are Exploiting Supply Chain Shortages During Wuhan Virus Pandemic

Mexican cartels are filling a massive vacuum in Mexican civil society during the Wuhan virus pandemic.

ABC News reported that a volunteer group collaborating with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s family is handing out essential goods to the poor in the city of Guadalajara

The group calls the items “Chapo Provisions,” and they’re part of an effort of a company run by the former Sinaloa Cartel kingpin’s daughter, Alejandrina Guzman. The company’s product line features clothing and liquor, sometimes with his image. Additionally, Chapo’s Provisions feature the drug lord’s image.

Experts believe that cartels are running these operations to improve their optics among the general populace.

“They want social support to make a social shield,” stated Gerardo Rodríguez, professor of national security at the University of the Americas Puebla.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has advised drug cartels not to give out charity and to stop attempting to gain the support of locals who desperately need supplies.

Opportunities like these allow for cartels to pivot and focus on cultivating an image that runs counter to their bloodthirsty operations.

“They exploit the fear of the public,” stated Sergio Tirrò, a member of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement arm.

As the EU locked down entire economies to contain the spread of the virus, Tirrò claims organized crime groups were producing counterfeit medical equipment and supplies.

“Those people are very well organized,” stated Tirrò, noting that organized crime groups with international level operations tend to have powerful operational capacity. “They split the roles and responsibilities and are based in more than one country.”

Tirrò revealed that these groups have made “substantial profits” off the products they’re selling online, which include masks, Wuhan virus tests and gloves.

“They also cause a false sense of security in citizens and consumers because they believe that they are buying genuine products to protect themselves,” Tirrò asserted.

With shortages of medical supplies growing, Tirrò believes organized crime groups will continue exploiting the chaos even as authorities nab them.

“We suspect that in the near future, as soon as a genuine vaccine is developed, criminals will be ready to offer counterfeit vaccines over the web,” he opined.

Power does not like a vacuum and cartels are willing to fill that in a heartbeat.

Mexico is a failed state, so in times of crisis, cartels will likely take over functions that are normally under the government’s purview.