The Mexican cartel runs large farms that produce traditional crops and livestock, but it is their less legal produce like marijuana and other narcotics that brings in most of their profits. Narco trafficking is one of Mexico’s biggest exports. The reality of this situation means the government, banks, trading authorities and even the army must have some type of involvement in making sure the operation keeps bringing in cash.
In some areas, cartel violence has become a way of life. It is a problem made worse by the fact that police officers are made targets and stretched to capacity. Not only are everyday citizens and frontline workers at risk, but even top officials like the chief of police are not safe from being targeted. It is difficult to figure out who is trustworthy and not affected by corruption.
At the same time, some of the senior members of the cartel are well respected and revered among citizens to the point of them creating wearable memorabilia with their insignia and other distinguishing marks.
The nature of the trade makes some questionable practices very clear. For instance, we see where even teenagers are recruited and armed to play their part in the cartel. In such cases, it is often a part of the family business, a business that may or may not be carried on by the younger generation.
It is a cycle where lives are lost, laws are broken, and there are questionable results from the policies implemented to combat the criminal elements.
The personalities we get to see are very real; mothers searching for their missing sons, journalists fleeing their home country and children dreaming of traditional careers they likely won't have the opportunity to pursue.
Still, even cartel members suggest that it is the government that remains in charge. It makes the feature all the more interesting as we get to see the power dynamics both on the front line reports and behind the scenes.