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Mexican Crime Groups Turn to Logging As Marijuana Becomes Increasingly Legal in U.S.

As growing marijuana is legalized in more and more parts of the U.S., some criminal organizations in Mexico have turned to logging for a new source of revenue, InSight Crime reports.

Marijuana seizures along the southwest U.S.-Mexico border declined by more than 81% between 2013 and 2020, indicating crime groups have scaled down their mairijuana trafficking, according to the report. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration noted in 2020 that marijuana from Mexico—while still the main international marijuana provider to the U.S.—has been “supplanted by domestic-produced marijuana.” 

Meanwhile, some wooded areas in Mexico have begun to go bare from a flurry of logging—both legal and illegal—in recent years, leading to huge profits for cartels, according to the report. 

Studies have estimated that between 30–50% of all wood harvested in Mexico is illegal, and the illegally harvested wood generates an estimated $106–175 million per year, according to InSight Crime.

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