Los Monos recruiting children to sell drugs in the Argentine province of Santa Fe

By Dialogo
April 20, 2014

Los Monos and other Argentinian gangs are using children, threatening law enforcement officials and escaping through tunnels as the violent battle for control of drug trafficking routes in department of Rosario continues to escalate.
Los Monos and other gangs are providing firearms to children, who are known as “little soldiers,” and ordering kids and teenagers to act as hit men.
Gang members, including young men, teenagers, and children, usually kill each other. Most of the victims between rival gangs are male and between the ages of 15 and 35, authorities said.
In a typical killing, two or three armed youths will shoot a drug gang rival on the street, in the open, then run away, officials said.
“Perhaps, the most painful face of this production and criminal system are the teenagers recruited as little soldiers and the workers in bunkers and kiosks (drug distribution centers),” according to the documentary “Lost Streets,” produced by the National University of Rosario (UNR). Gang leaders pay young soldiers, those who are younger than 16, between $10 and $37 (USD) a day.
In Rosario, drug gangs sell about $250 million (USD) in drugs annually, according to the documentary “Lost Streets.”
Youths sell drugs from locked sheds or kiosks. Young gang members who sell drugs are forced to hand over the money to an adult gang member at the end of an 8-hour shift, according to the documentary. The child then leaves and is replaced by another youth, who will continue to sell drugs from the shed or kiosk.
The drug violence has left a deadly toll. For example, 264 people were killed in the city of Rosario in 2012, according to local government statistics. The number of killings in Rosario rose to 365 – an average of one per day – in 2013.
Between Jan. 1, 2014, and March 31, police said 80 killings were connected to fights between rival drug gangs, according to a report issued jointly by the Fundación La Alameda, which fights human trafficking, and the National Anti-Mafia Network.

Los Monos

Los Monos is responsible for much of the violence in Rosario, said Paz Tibiletti, representative of the Latin American Security and Defense Network (RESDAL), based in Argentina.
Los Monos has dominated sales of marijuana in Rosario since the 1990s, according to Tibiletti.
Since it took over the marijuana trade, the gang has expanded its drug activities to the production of coca paste, which is used to make cocaine, and the selling and trafficking of cocaine. Los Monos strengthened its distribution network by forming an alliance with the Cantero crime family.
In addition to selling and trafficking drugs, Los Monos engages in money laundering, extortion, and other criminal enterprises.
Los Monos is led by Ramón Ezequiel Machuca, who is also known as “Monchi Cantero”.
Los Monos has the capacity to pay off corrupt officials and has a “multilayer structure similar to Mexican cartel structures,” retired Argentinian General Norberto López Camelo wrote on his blog.
Los Monos has the capacity to pay off corrupt officials and has a “multilayer structure similar to Mexican cartel structures,” retired Argentinian General Norberto López Camelo wrote on his blog.

Los Monos threatens to kill judge and prosecutor

Los Monos is capable of extreme violence and is even willing to target law enforcement officials.
In March 2014, after obtaining a court order, authorities recorded a phone conversation in which an inmate in a prison in Santa Fe province spoke to another inmate in a different detention facility. The taped conversation revealed that the inmates were scheming to kill a prosecutor, Guillermo Camporini, and Judge Juan Carlos Viena, who were investigating Los Monos.
Los Monos was planning on having an enforcer known as “Anteojito” kill the prosecutor and the judge, authorities learned from the phone call.
The prosecutor and the judge have not been harmed.

Sophisticated tunnels

Argentinian security forces in the La Granada district discovered in March two tunnels connected to properties owned and used by Los Monos.
Los Monos used the tunnels to flee from law enforcement officers.
Sinaloa Cartel used similar tunnels to smuggle drugs, weapons, and people from Mexico across the U.S.-Mexico border. The use of tunnels was pioneered by Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the 1980s.
Mexican Marines and police agents captured El Chapo in Mazatlan in February 2014.
Following the discovery of the tunnels, someone sent a series of threatening electronic messages to authorities. At least one of the messages included a death threat against the security minister of Santa Fe province, Raúl Lamberto, and two of his aides.
“What you are going to find underground are their bodies,” one of the messages warned.
Lamberto has launched a series of security initiatives against Los Monos. He and his aides have not been harmed.

Rosario is key location for drug trafficking

The city of Rosario is a strategic point for drug traffickers. Roads converge in the city with international connections to Bolivia and Paraguay. The province has several private ports on the bank of the Paraná River where drugs can be exported to other countries.
From Jan. 1 2014 through March 31, the Argentinian Anti-Narcotics Police seized 25 tons of cocaine and 80 tons of marijuana throughout the country, authorities said.
In addition to Los Monos, several other organized crime groups operate in Argentina. Some of these, such as Los Urabeños, Envigado, and La Cordillera, are based in Colombia.
Elements of the Shining Path, a leftist Peruvian group which engages in drug trafficking, and the Sinaloa Cartel also operate in Argentina.

Security forces battle complex problem

Argentinian security forces must remain vigilant in the battle against Los Monos and other organized crime groups, according to Tibiletti, the security analyst.
The various criminal activities of Los Monos and other organized crime groups pose a “complex problem,” Tibiletti said. “There is no unique solution.”
Security forces at the federal, state, and local levels should share information and cooperate to fight micro-trafficking and other criminal activities, Tibiletti said.

This world is getting worse everyday. I'm surprised by Argentina, where they love and respect children so much. How unfortunate that they are ending their future, this way we are going to become extinct. The ones greatly responsible for the violence in Rosario are the provincial police and the Socialist government. The police (ungovernable) is a partner in drug trafficking by providing arms to children and looking the other way, because they are hired by the drug lords. Before they used to handle other crimes, and were always associated with the local security forces. You forgot to add that to date, most of the stands have been or are being destroyed by the federal forces that surrounded all the city and its surroundings as part of an undercover movement. The first thing that the countries in the world need to do is preach more the words of Jesus Christ. Worry more about spiritual things instead of material and sexual ones. You also forgot to interview the security officials who are doing a fine job by disarming the drug gangs in Santa Fe. You put together a note by collecting information from the internet, at least do a proper search. It's OK if you make a reference from a documentary made by an university, but you also need to interview the officials, who are the ones with accurate and current information. Unless the intention of the note is to discredit Argentina. WE MUST END THESE ACTIVITIES ONCE AND FOR ALL, THEY ONLY SERVE TO HARM CHILDREN AND NOT TO OFFEND A FEW PEOPLE, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CALL THEM. WHO ARE READING, AND TO FILL THEIR POCKETS AT THE EXPENSE OF THESE LITTLE BEINGS/CREATURES OF GOD. Always the same, it's tiring. May God help us. We must pray a lot so that NSJ can help those families who have been segregated and who don't even realize that they are lost. Wow, now I understand the amount of corruption in the world, especially here in Peru.