Mexican security officials this week launched a major crackdown on the cartel’s business smuggling iron ore to China, which another senior government figure confirmed had become more profitable for the Knights Templar than drug running.
Chinese buyers, law enforcement officials have said, have been pressured into buying ore from the gang under threats.
Furthermore many of the mines were not legally registered or the iron ore was stolen. There is more detail here, and here is another exotic sentence:
In a scene that could have been imagined by Gabriel García Márquez, last Christmas three Sinaloa drug cartel members were arrested in a cock fighting farm close to Manila.
The broader question here is whether “drug gangs” could find new outlets for their shenanigans, if drugs were to be legalized or decriminalized. For more on that you can read this older MR post.
By the way, via Craig Richardson, here are photos of a Chinese ghost town in Angola.:
Kilamba is an enormous and largely empty housing development 30 km (18 miles) from Luanda,the capital city of Angola, designed to accommodate 500,000 people, with a dozen schools and other facilities. As of July 2012 only 212 houses had been sold, due to difficulties in obtaining mortgages. The cost is reported as US$3.5 billion, financed by a Chinese credit line and repaid by the Angolan government with oil. The city of Kilamba is a government project that coincides with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos 2008 election pledge to build one million homes in four years. (He just didn’t promise people would live there.)