Oversupply of cocaine, U.S. shift to synthetic drugs fueling drug violence in Mexico

A wave of violence in Mexico is being fueled in part by an oversupply of cocaine and the growing popularity of synthetic drugs in the United States, leading gangs here to fight over markets to sell their wares, Mexico's attorney general said on Monday. Daniel Cabeza de Vaca cited shifting patterns in the drug trade, as well as previously aired theories about internal struggles for power within drug cartels and personal feuds, as explanations for drug shootouts like the one in Acapulco last week that killed four men.

"People in the United States aren't using as much cocaine anymore," Cabeza de Vaca told a news conference. "Young people now prefer synthetic drugs, and that has caused an oversupply of drugs arriving from Colombia."

"This has caused more of a supply of cocaine on our streets," he said. "So these gangs are fighting for control of turf to sell their evil products, and that is mainly the origin of this violence." As a response, Mexican officials pledged to dedicate 20 percent of their security budgets to fighting street-level drug dealing. He also said the big cartels of the past "have tended to divide, to create cells, to struggle for control."

Mexican gangs have traditionally trafficked, but not produced, cocaine. He said that Acapulco is currently being fought over by two rival gangs, the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels, reports the AP. I.L.

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