Mexican Drug Cartel Earns More Dealing Iron Ore

What if the drug cartels decided selling narcotics wasn't worth
all the legal headaches....
Imagine what would happen if Mexican drug cartels started getting out of the drug business ... sounds crazy, but a precedent for this scenario has been set.

According to the Arizona Daily Star website, the Knights Templar drug cartel in western Mexico has diversified to the point that drug trafficking is not among its more profitable businesses anymore.

"The cartel counts illegal mining, logging and extortion as its biggest moneymakers, said Alfredo Castillo, the Mexican government’s special envoy sent to restore the rule of law in Michoacan, the state controlled by the Knights Templar the last several years," the article noted.

Iron ore “is their principle source of income,” Castillo told the Associated Press. “They’re charging $15 (a metric ton) for the process, from extraction to transport, processing, storage, permits and finally export.” The ore itself doesn’t go for that price; the cartel skims $15 for every ton arriving in port. While it’s long been known that Mexican cartels engage in other types of criminal activity, including trafficking of people and pirated goods, this is the government’s first official acknowledgement that a major organized crime group has moved beyond drugs. The Knights Templar and its predecessor, La Familia, started out as major producers and transporters of methamphetamine.

Organized crime in Mexico in general "stands to diversify and become even more entrenched."

“It’s a criminal organization like the mafia,” said Antonio Mazzitelli, the Mexico and Central America representative to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. “La Familia, the Knights Templar and, in part, the new, smaller cartels that have developed, like the New Generation Jalisco, are copying this new typology.”