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The Mexican Cartel’s organized crime unit, known to most as The Knights Templar is accustomed to employing drug lawyers to handle their legal woes, but their recent attempt to shift industries after years of illegal activity could backfire, leaving them seeking a separate sector of criminal representation. Following the death of their “Messiah” known to local hustlers and citizens alike as Nazario Moreno, sects of organized criminals are opting out of the methamphetamine business and seeking more lucrative income via industries such as mining and logging. Prosecutors and drug enforcement officials claim that these organizations are ruling through terror and forcing their way into corporate business using brute force, but this recent shift in criminal activity could also be seen as a new leaf being turned in the direction of a positive revolution.
Depending on the eyewitness being interviewed, The Knights Templar has been described as a terrifying, drug smuggling organization that dabbles in human trafficking, kidnapping and extortion. Others claim the organization is using what was once dirty money to better an impoverished community and aid in the advancement of everyday citizens. Currently, the Knights of Templar’s chief financial institution is mining, something that sounds much less sinister than hustling. Officials in the area deem the Knight’s Templar’s mining efforts to be another form of illegal activity from which the organization stands to profit upwards from $1 billion a year.
In 2013, an international movement referred to as illegal mining garnered worldwide attention. A Chilean newspaper described illegal mining as Latin America’s new cocaine. The real question is, should mining as an alternative to drug trafficking be frowned upon? According to Peru’s government, illegal mining is just as dangerous as drug dealing because it not only leads to violence, but it also causes unnecessary pollutants to enter the atmosphere. They claim countries with a higher percentage of illegal mining activity could suffer severe ecological damage in coming years. Still, there are no current conclusive numbers to support the theory. In Mexico and bordering American regions, officials claim that illegal mining is dangerous because it is performed via platforms such as kidnapping and extortion. Other inside sources claim that mining income is being used to fund terrorist acts, however specific acts of terror that have been funded by illegal mining activities were not mentioned.
In a study conducted by the MSHA, there were 2,315 fatal injuries associated within the coal mining industry alone. Those reviewing facts and figures related to mining of any kind should bear in mind the fact that these thousands of injuries and fatalities reportedly occurred on the premises of legal mining sites. This statistical evidence does prove that mining is a dangerous industry; however the dangers of mining accidents are definitely not limited to illegal mining. It would seem that setting foot on any mining site requires a great deal of risk and the number of fatalities and injuries in legal mining settings has only marginally dropped since 2008, despite numerous attempts to create a safer mining environment for employees.
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Even more startling than the US mining statistics, are those from Africa, where the controversial Sierra Leone blood diamond trade originated, taking more than 50,000 lives and leaving thousands more injured, amputated and disabled. These acts of violence allegedly occurred on legal mining sites, but the African government claims they were forced into signing a peace agreement with an organization known as the RUF, which was allegedly a group of rebels who were notorious for kidnapping and human trafficking. If Sierra Leone is an example of what could happen in the event of a rise in illegal mining, authorities could be facing an incredibly realistic fear. Either way, illegal miners with drug dealing affiliations might have to switch out their trusted drug lawyers for criminal defense lawyers as they transition from one illegal industry to another.
About the Author:
Michael D. Leader is a criminal lawyer with Fort Lauderdale law firm Leader & Leader P.A. specializing in all forms of criminal law, Leader and partner George Leader offer years of legal experience and commitment to ethics.