Money of Drug Lords
The illegal drug trade is a global black market in the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws. A UN report said the global drug trade generated an estimated $321.6 billion in 2003. With a world GDP of 36 trillion in the same year, the illegal drug trade may be estimated as slightly less than 1% of total global commerce. Consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally. The trade of drugs has existed for as long as the drugs themselves have existed. The history of the illegal drug trade is thus closely tied to the history of drug prohibition. In the First Opium War, the United Kingdom forced China to allow British merchants to trade in opium with the general population of China. Although illegal by imperial decree, smoking opium had become common in the 1800s due to increasing importation via British merchants. Trading in opium was (as it is today in the heroin trade) extremely lucrative. As a result of the trade an estimated two million Chinese people became addicted to the drug. The British Crown (via the treaties of Nanking and Tianjin) took vast sums of money from the Chinese government in what they referred to as ‘reparations’ for the wars. Mafia groups limited their activities to gambling and theft until 1920, when organized bootlegging manifested in response to the effect of Prohibition. An example of the spectacular rise of the mafia due to Prohibition is Al Capone‘s syndicate that “ruled” Chicago in the 1920s.