Declining conspicious consumption for drug thugs

Los Angles Times/Houston Chronicle:

A ruby-red Hummer glistened idly on the quiet showroom floor, its only visitor a janitor polishing its doors and bumpers. The dealership had no customers.

Sales are down here and at scores of businesses across this western Mexico city. But this recession has nothing to do with stock-index dives on Wall Street, the weak peso or collapsing banks. This is a narco-recession.

When army troops rolled into Culiacan this year as part of a massive government campaign to fight drug traffickers, the big players went underground. From the looks of things, they took their free-flowing dollars with them.

"No one wants to be ostentatious right now," said Raul Gustavo Pina Ibarra, manager of the Hummer and Cadillac dealership.

That's bad news for a city that is the birthplace of Mexico's multibillion-dollar illegal drug trade and the embodiment of its every excess.

The hardest-hit enterprises in this recession are the purveyors of the typical narco's favorite toys and pursuits. Flight schools. Yacht and luxury-car dealerships. Dollar-changers. Love-in-the-afternoon motels. Even the Jesus Malverde temple.


Considering it's the capital of a state, Sinaloa, whose main legal source of income is the tomato, Culiacan, has an awful lot of mansions, casinos, sushi restaurants and spas. That's because as much as 20 percent of Sinaloa's gross domestic product is based on drug trafficking and the chain of production, transport and intelligence involved, according to Guillermo Ibarra, an economist and professor at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa.

It is good to know that the crack down is having an effect on those who feed off the narco terrorist thugs. It is hard to have any sympathy for these people who have sold their souls to people that destroy lives and kill those who interfere with their efforts.


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