Inside Mexico's Most Powerful Drug Cartel | Foreign Correspondent

Tens of thousands are missing, many more murdered. So why are Mexico’s violent drug cartels operating with impunity? We go inside the most powerful cartel to meet the footsoldiers. Corruption, they say, goes right to the top. Produced in collaboration with Ben Zand and Vice TV.

In Mexico’s Sinaloa state, violence has become a way of life.
Home to the country’s most powerful drug syndicate, the Sinaloa cartel, murders and disappearances are rife.

The police, meant to protect the population, are often the targets of violence. Over 500 officers were killed in Mexico last year.

They’re also often complicit, with corruption in the police force and government a major problem.In this shocking portrait of a country caught in the grip of organised crime, reporter Ben Zand takes us where few have gone - inside the Sinaloa cartel in the Sierra Madre mountains where he witnesses the group’s operations up close.

At their hidden base, the group grows poppies and marijuana for export, fends off outsiders with guns and bribes visiting police and security officers with money and women.

“The government is the one in charge” say the local leader. “The cartel is only as big as the government wants us to be.”

Commentator and writer Ioan Grillo believes that the police and military used to have the upper hand with the cartels but says that’s now changed.

“Some of the cartels have become much more powerful,” says Grillo. “[now] the cartel is actually bullying and controlling elements of the security forces.”

It’s the community who’s paying the price for corruption and impunity.
Mirna Quiñones’ son disappeared suddenly 7 years ago. When police refused to help her, she set out to find him herself.

She went on to set up the Trackers of El Fuerte group which helps parents looking for their children. In the last seven years of searching, they’ve uncovered over two hundred bodies.

“There is no justice. We all know that. I have been threatened by the municipal police here. The government and crime are united.”

Interior Minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, concedes there is corruption. “The trials, and the investigations, are deficient”, she says. “Lawyers are threatened. Judges are threatened. That is just the reality.”

But she maintains the government is doing its best to investigate the cartels and to undermine their support base.

Investigative journalist Anabel Hernández disagrees, saying she has little faith the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, elected two and half years ago, will tackle the problem.

“He promised to do something different but….it’s just the same. Nothing changed. In some parts it's worse."

About Foreign Correspondent:
Foreign Correspondent is the prime-time international public affairs program on Australia's national broadcaster, ABC-TV. We produce half-hour duration in-depth reports for broadcast across the ABC's television channels and digital platforms. Since 1992, our teams have journeyed to more than 170 countries to report on war, natural calamity and social and political upheaval - through the eyes of the people at the heart of it all.

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  • You may recognise some footage in this documentary, this program was produced in collaboration with Ben Zand and Vice TV. If you'd like to learn more about the mothers searching for Mexico's disappeared you can read our accompanying article here:

    ABC News In-depthABC News In-depth2 maanden geleden
    • @Callum Gillman I am Mexican, the only thing I can tell you is that you do not believe everything that is in the media, let alone the US media, I am sorry to say but they have you very deceived, if you only came to Mexico you would realize and have another conception about the country, something that makes me doubtful is that the "narcos" those of the video have let them interview them, it is rare, because to tell the truth that kind of criminals are very cautious, and more so with the Americans, I do not know, it seems strange to me, but well, to tell the truth Mexico as violent as these clowns say, surely you will tell me that I lie, but it is a truth, and I do not say that there is no violence, but we are not Afghanistan either, everywhere there is violence. A pity that they lie so much in their face...

      Jorge TVJorge TV4 dagen geleden
    • Imagine if the US had a border to keep this out.

      JK F1JK F15 dagen geleden
    • @Jon Irvine n

      Valerijus PetrusevasValerijus Petrusevas14 dagen geleden
    • Mexico should just because part of the US..then the US cna govern the country and push our cartels ..firstly..legalise marijuana and tax it.

      Christian HChristian H16 dagen geleden
    • Cartels can be stopped if people actually try for the future

      Y MY M24 dagen geleden
  • Had to pause and comment. Alot of these cops would be out for blood if there weren't soo many corrupt/dirty on the forces.

    art munozart munoz2 uur geleden
  • You can tell the guide is getting a little irritated by the interviewers questions and statements. Especially about being terrorists.

    Dylan SnellgroveDylan Snellgrove3 uur geleden
  • AND WHERE IS INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT? ( ICC ) ????? ISN'T THIS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY? NO PROBE? NO INVESTIGATIONS? But they have the courage to probe Philippine President Duterte on his war against drugs? ICC YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!!!

    Marloun YunsonMarloun Yunson3 uur geleden
  • If Our President Duterte didnt run for the office, maybe Philippines could be like this today or soon enough. Thank God He didnt let this to happen to our country. He use President Duterte to fight the criminality, drugs and corruption. I hope Mexico can find their President Duterte soon... God Bless you

    John HerreraJohn Herrera3 uur geleden
  • This huge reality looks like a TV show, a TV drama, but it is an actual thing, a real thing.

  • The "Trackers" have my lifelong respect...admiration...and awe...🇿🇦

    April SmithApril Smith4 uur geleden
  • funny how a reported can just walk-in, lol.

    Andy OrozcoAndy Orozco4 uur geleden
  • Herpes simplex virus can be cured by Dr. Tigo herbal on NLflow channels with herbal medication.

    John SmithJohn Smith5 uur geleden
  • Biden is going to make sure they get great US weapons like the Taliban. But he wants them all painted yellow like the submarines we are developing with the "guy down under".

    bill smithbill smith5 uur geleden
  • Tactile

    Guillermo RosalezGuillermo Rosalez6 uur geleden
  • I like turtles 🐢

    Bread GarlichouseBread Garlichouse8 uur geleden
  • i wish they had a president like duterte in phil.

    AdamGimenezAdamGimenez9 uur geleden
  • This is just sad. I pray for all the families that have lost their loved ones.

    A MA M9 uur geleden
  • "It's the most dangerous place to be a journalist" North korea, china and current afghanistan joins the chat.

    No NameNo Name9 uur geleden
  • Mexico’s most powerful cartel is its own government everyone just trying make a living

    Viktor ChavezViktor Chavez9 uur geleden
  • You know that kid holding the rifle does not want to become a vet cuz he likes cows lol he wants to learn how to transport cocaine and pills through livestock nice try panchooo.

    Antonio ValdezAntonio Valdez11 uur geleden
    • He gonna use cows to transport cocaine lmao

      urban seagullurban seagull8 uur geleden
  • The humdrum russia macroscopically colour because canoe particularly wink a a dazzling pond. lyrical, jolly decrease

    robert garzarobert garza11 uur geleden
  • America we are responsible for this

    Rose Marie Homeyer BenteRose Marie Homeyer Bente15 uur geleden
  • This is what the US War on Drugs does, turn Mexico into a narcostate. Listen to the cartel guy saying why they set up the ranch - to grow weed, but weed got cheaper so they grow opium poppy instead. Why? Because weed got legalized in the US and the price dropped so they moved on to trading stuff that is still illegal.

    Firstname LastnameFirstname Lastname16 uur geleden
  • I WILL NEVER agree with, or forgive the cartels.. But, they absolutely live in a sick vacuum which US politicians have helped to create.. I am a PROUD (right leaning) American; however, US politicians are guilty as sin for this.. The cartels do not live in a vacuum. Ask COLUMBIA when it got real. Dead. Mexican and other cartels.. They get DEAD if the U.S. makes it happen. MORE American's have died from drugs in one year than in foreign wars in the last 20 years. Why is that? Oh, invade and eradicate Mexican Cartels?? What a joke.. The cancer from within is going to kill all of this continent.

    AeroviewUSAAeroviewUSA16 uur geleden
  • The actual federal government is not involved.

    Jose AldrichJose Aldrich17 uur geleden
  • That part at the end of course people know they just don't care.

    Fringe WizardFringe Wizard19 uur geleden
  • That last 5 minutes is rough.

    Andrew DudemanAndrew Dudeman19 uur geleden
  • Imma be honest with everyone here, ever since I was little, I watched alot of cartel violence on the internet and had the urge to repeat it I had self control but if someone broke into my house I wouldn't mind doing it

    Kyle andrewsKyle andrews21 uur geleden
  • the face mask is so 2019 lets move on. I think we have bigger problems to solve.

    Brandon SmisekBrandon Smisek22 uur geleden
  • Stater bros market. Stupid.

    Hana SingleHana Single23 uur geleden
  • I am glad that lady found her son's body. I saw an earlier documentary where she was still searching.

    raslaliqueraslaliqueDag geleden
  • I want to join the Cartel

    LoshiLoshiDag geleden
  • The cooperative circle disappointedly pedal because offer unexplainably risk toward a alert sparrow. entertaining, sophisticated distance

    J HundJ HundDag geleden
  • Esa "reportera mexicana" es exagerada, muy sensacionalista.....

    Alejandro CuevasAlejandro CuevasDag geleden
  • Never mentioned that most of this wouldn't happen if it wasn't illegal.

    Dont FollowMEDont FollowMEDag geleden
    • Reality ha no bidness heya choice and facts not for the commoners only the elite. I can work hourly or get paid by the job. But in my state that money maker can't be a sex task. And really, the low capital investment the being able to set my own ours and get payment at time of service makes for a great business model. I could even work from home....

      bill smithbill smith5 uur geleden
  • So emotional mexican lady,need to learn more English…

    BOUGIEBOUGIEDag geleden
  • 18:34 michael jackson is alive

    H BH BDag geleden
  • most of the drug are pharmaceutical use in whole US. mexican themselves dont consume drug for their own desire.

    Muhd HarithMuhd HarithDag geleden
  • In our country we got sistems that can see a man only by the eyes. Why do these people are still not in jail? Means the government doesnt do anything to catch them.

    John SmithJohn SmithDag geleden
  • Not against the Military they aren't, they can be all taken out very easy with a 20mm gun from a Helicopter, they're only powerful because they have money and that's all they know, they couldn't survive in Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan, they're only powerful in their own country.

    Yamaha1991Yamaha1991Dag geleden
  • USA Goverment did this war in México to sell arms, this is true. Americans see one part of the movie and they spit wrong opinions about it as a Simpson.

    Moisés Gustavo Diaz CarvajalMoisés Gustavo Diaz CarvajalDag geleden
  • Mexico and cartel>taliban

    Noah AndersonNoah AndersonDag geleden
  • The Police officer been at for 15 years in the Mexico. Sounds fishy......

    Undertaker WWEUndertaker WWEDag geleden
  • If you cant beat them, then join them

    Kyle B's LifeKyle B's LifeDag geleden
  • How does a country allow this to happen? There seems to be corruption at all levels and an acceptance that violence is ok.

    Matt curryMatt curryDag geleden
    • Beacause of money strait anwser. There is too much money to be lost NOT doing this crap even if its bad

      2nd Empire2nd EmpireDag geleden

    angel jangel jDag geleden
  • Different people have their opinions but I have gone to different parts Mexico and have not seen no Cartel or people being killed lots of Military and people running their business that's all

    Samuel GonzalezSamuel GonzalezDag geleden
  • From where these cartels get the arms and ammunition?

    Amlan saikiaAmlan saikiaDag geleden
  • 9:57 That's a dope pistol grip

    TalosTalosDag geleden
  • I am from Mexico and i didn’t know this happend 🥺😭

    Himiko TogaHimiko TogaDag geleden
  • Iv been to Culican and Mazatlan so beautiful there and honestly felt more safe there then in my hometown in California

    SC YelwohtreborSC YelwohtreborDag geleden
  • The time of the Cartels are now numbered considering the war in Afghanistan is over. Soon America will focus its whole attention on Cartels. With the war being over the economy will decline and that decline will put major pressure on governments to recover wealth from Drug Cartels. Count your blessings we're coming soon!

    Ernest OliverErnest OliverDag geleden
  • Stone Flb 🏴🌚💣😄2021

    Stone flb Stone crew flbStone flb Stone crew flbDag geleden
  • I have never understood why our society tolerates this kind of human Refuse. We must rid our society of this kind of trash. Have the National Guard put an end to these losers. Surely there is plenty of room at the local Landfill...

    Nick PhilpottNick PhilpottDag geleden
    • Mad?

      2nd Empire2nd EmpireDag geleden
  • 8mins into the video I can understand but why Mexican civilians don’t trust the police. Both police and cartel security dress the same only difference I see is the label used on their bulletproof vests

    Lola’doreLola’doreDag geleden
  • México con sus líderes y presidente son el cartel mas grande , es todos el país. Bueno existe muchos países narcos solo que no son tan descarados como México

  • Our president killing drug lords and dealers here. now ICC want to investigate for human rights? GTFO ICC drug protector

    Dark KingDark King2 dagen geleden
  • Corruption starts from The top This is Why these countries are full of crimes

    MoneyMoney2 dagen geleden
  • As a Mexican citizen I can tell you this.. the last 4 administrations, all neoliberal, right wing and conservative let this get where it's at now. AMLO Mexico's current president is a social Democrat that the U.S. NeoLiberal and conservative class hate because he's not a capitalist. AMLO inherited this violence from his incapable Neoliberal predecessors.

    Markopolo zoomanittyMarkopolo zoomanitty2 dagen geleden
  • They don’t tell you it goes into sitting American senators and congressmen’s as well as the government overall. We created the cartel

    Jok3er271 JKlilmonkeyJok3er271 JKlilmonkey2 dagen geleden
  • Why they have Military and Police?? National Guard my ass.. I fel sorry for the people of Mexico

    alb 77alb 772 dagen geleden
  • This is the very reason why we love our Philippine President today, if not for him probably we are also like mexico now.

    Jayc AzarconJayc Azarcon2 dagen geleden
  • my biggest dream in my life is to see a maya temple with my own eyes in mexico here in my hometown in the netherlands is a mexican resteraunt with people from mexico they are the most sweet and heart warmed hardworking people here with nice words an the most Lovely smiles

    The Dutch Mill GrainMillThe Dutch Mill GrainMill2 dagen geleden
  • Corruption in Mexico, you should come to Ireland. The police, politicians, judges are totally corrupt, Mexican style

    British professorBritish professor2 dagen geleden
    • Ireland full of punks lol

      woahhwoahhDag geleden
  • Se tiene que morir toda la generación de basura, porque ya no se reincorporan a la vida social, no se va a componer pronto.

    Placoso RealistaPlacoso Realista2 dagen geleden
  • Esta muy corrompido el sistema, así dejaron los presidentes de el pasado

    Placoso RealistaPlacoso Realista2 dagen geleden
  • Min 12 :20 le gustan mucho los animales, el perico sobre todo

    Placoso RealistaPlacoso Realista2 dagen geleden
  • Agan lo que quieran pero no se metan con la ciudadanía, no sean ojetes.

    Placoso RealistaPlacoso Realista2 dagen geleden
  • 14:13 🐍snake just chilling there

    GREAT LEX 1.3GREAT LEX 1.32 dagen geleden
  • 10:40 this guy shot the sun down👀

    GREAT LEX 1.3GREAT LEX 1.32 dagen geleden
  • CIA drone attack on the corrupt police and other officials taking bribes? Provide video evidence and financial records as evidence? Radio calls and text messages to the cartel letting them know there's no need to bribe corrupted governmental types? Making moves to 'expand territory' is akin to terrorism in this modern era? Work with and credit the National Guard that was built using the money seized from accounts of long dead cartel members that used violence instead of honest negotiations? No violence. No extortion. No kidnapping. No forced labor... slavery. No tainting product with pesticides. No fake pills. 100% high quality controls. High quality doesn't mean high potency. High quality means no negative impact on society. Make drug making and selling safe and boring. Less need for so much security. Let the kids go be veterinarians, teachers, or nurses or something. Please stop creating veterans of wars and violence. The ones who taint society always seem to have a much shorter life span when studying history. Hugs and good vibes y'all 💗🌈💗🌈💗🌈💗🌈💗

    lenny kosslenny koss2 dagen geleden
  • 11:25 that 5sec pause and eye movement gives me a totally different answer

    SwearToMeee!!!SwearToMeee!!!2 dagen geleden
  • Supply and demand. America tried to outlaw alcohol , how'd that workout.

    John ShieldsJohn Shields2 dagen geleden
  • I wish to learn Spanish.

    R ChakrabortyR Chakraborty2 dagen geleden
  • What do you think how people feel when they see their president visit and embrace the mother of El Chapo Guzman? How do the cartel members think about that?

    Fernand LustFernand Lust2 dagen geleden
  • If those people have other means to make living, those drug business will become less. Those situations we have to blame.the current ways of dealing these matters will not help reduce these crimes

    bee kangbee kang2 dagen geleden
  • Mex drug cartel??? You mean American government officials right

    David GreeneDavid Greene2 dagen geleden
  • If you take illegal drugs, you are responsible for the anguish these families in Mexico are going through. It’s not the Cartels, it’s you.

    Jim ApplenJim Applen2 dagen geleden
  • Why don't these women create another militia to kill all the corrupt police, government officials as well as Cartel members of Mexico,and take back the country out of disaster...if these 90 thousands missing family members don't take up arms against government and cartels and corrupt police officers,that clearly indicates these missing persons in one way or other could have been involved in drug trafficking as no one dies of ignorance ...

    Medicine PlusMedicine Plus2 dagen geleden
  • That’s why I support TRUMP

    Waqar AliWaqar Ali2 dagen geleden
  • Crazy that no matter what party wins the presidency of mexico nothing changes, they are all working the same business for the same people and it's not for the good of the people. America has the same problem and so do most countries of the world.

    Marcus KMarcus K2 dagen geleden
  • THe only thing cartels gave to the internet worth of watching are the dismemberments of the captured rival cartel members. I mean, when you see a woman getting her arms chopped off because she was the mule for a rival cartel, you've seen everything.

    flyingspaghettiflyingspaghetti2 dagen geleden
  • You pose tough questions to dangerous men. I commend you for you works. God Bless

    Christopher BergsChristopher Bergs2 dagen geleden
  • Coming from a Mexican we need to stop the drugs.

    1 & ONLY AXO1 & ONLY AXO2 dagen geleden
  • The relieved wilderness spectroscopically time because justice holly reduce against a vacuous friend. innate, loud spring

    J LJ L2 dagen geleden
  • Multi billion dollar industry?? Who buys the drugs? Who sells them the weapons? 🙏 then of course here in the US we complain of the violence and illegal immigration? We have a huge responsibility in this!!!!

    Janice FunesJanice Funes2 dagen geleden
  • It’s a big irony that the people from the poorer side of the country like the drug cartels but I understand why, the cartel provided them the work and money that the government couldn’t and didn’t.

    R6꿀떡R6꿀떡2 dagen geleden
  • Soon these cartels will be here if not some of them are already here under Joe Biden policy God be with us all God protect us all God bless America

    Oscar LibertiniOscar Libertini2 dagen geleden
  • The US offered to help eradicate the cartels, the Mexican government declined the offer, so the hell with them.

    The50PointCalvinistThe50PointCalvinist2 dagen geleden
    • @AOh yeah Man? What position on drugs do you think would be good for a country?

      Cory HamricCory Hamric2 dagen geleden
    • imagine thinking that erradicating the cartels everything will be good... nah, man... what the us government needs to do is to change their position about drugs.

      AA2 dagen geleden
    • Yup, Trump offered military assistance to Mexico to destroy the cartels, but Mexico refused rather stating that they’d deal with them themselves...well that’s clearly going well with what we can in these videos smh

      urban seagullurban seagull2 dagen geleden
  • Stay the hell out of Mexico, I've seen and experienced the police corruption first hand.

    The50PointCalvinistThe50PointCalvinist2 dagen geleden
  • They flood the streets with Heroin/Cocaine/Meth. Look at Seattle / Tacoma Wa. Streets are flooded with addicts.

    TJTJ2 dagen geleden
  • Der grösste Trick war es Schlusendlich das eigene Volk auf die Seite schwer krimineller zu ziehen. Wie lächerlich es ist so jemanden als heiligen zu empfinden das sagt schon einiges über die allgemeinintelligenz in mexico aus aber auch über armut. Das wird niemals enden und noch hunderttausende Menschen über Jahre das Leben kosten. Besser nicht in mexico wohnen haha

    peter zwegert Schuldenberaterpeter zwegert Schuldenberater3 dagen geleden
  • that is one dumb journalist. he's lucky he did not get executed for asking the wrong questions. journalists think they have the morality-card. they don't: this journalist 'thinks' he knows what justice is. it certainly is not equality... if you are a murderous thug, then you die. that, is justice. if, you're a brave, hard-working soul, who does not steal or cheat others, that is moral. if you do the latter two, and put yourself on the line defending truth, justice and freedom, then you are a hero.

    KaneKane3 dagen geleden
  • The melodramatic leading questions clash so hard with the reality of life for these people.

    a aa a3 dagen geleden
  • The Mafia was created by prohibition. We still have not learned.

    HH3 dagen geleden
  • Hard fact

    goodday kriibvegoodday kriibve3 dagen geleden
  • it is all problem from the pigs that take bribes? make legalize? no? make cartel into agrocartel? lol

    Khoron. 0.mKhoron. 0.m3 dagen geleden
  • Legalize drugs in the US and this, as well as gangs here lose their power...

    Jack ChesnutJack Chesnut3 dagen geleden
    • All that would do is replace one problem with another... So less gangs and cartel only to have a nation plagued by addiction... I'm just saying, I don't think making it ok to do drugs is going to fix the drug addiction problem... And addiction is a big problem... Destroys lives

      Cory HamricCory Hamric2 dagen geleden
  • lol! corrruption!!!! wooow!

    Khoron. 0.mKhoron. 0.m3 dagen geleden
  • The USA is the biggest buyer of drugs, if you stop buying, that will remove the money side that fuels this "cartels"

    Francisco Javier OrtizFrancisco Javier Ortiz3 dagen geleden
  • America needs to legalize weed! In Canada the black market for weed as all but disappeared! The police could put all their focus on drugs like fentinal.

    The Elephant In The RoomThe Elephant In The Room3 dagen geleden
  • It will help if the USA STOPS consuming, and the USA government do something to stop the flow, you can stop the refuges and you can't stop the planes, trucks, and ships that bring the drugs?? where is the corruption? is in the USA

    Francisco Javier OrtizFrancisco Javier Ortiz3 dagen geleden