Mexican drug cartels thrive on America’s refusal to seriously enforce its immigration and border security laws. But given the escalating criminal chaos in the US today, why stop there? In a classic case of a rapidly growing business exploiting exciting new opportunities, these purveyors of organized violence are diversifying in a lucrative new direction because they once again sense a void in basic policing in this nation today.
“Mexican cartels are quietly expanding their global criminal empires to include mass theft operations targeting big-box stores, luxury retail brands, and small businesses, then selling the stolen goods online and laundering the profits through Chinese brokers,” the Washington Examiner’s Anna Giaritelli reported July 24.
“It’s a $70 billion a year enterprise – organized retail crime,” Eric DeLaune, special agent in charge at the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, HSI, declared while announcing the creation of an “Organized Retail Crime Alliance” that will include his agency, US attorneys in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and retail giants such as Albertsons, Home Depot, and Walmart.
The problem has spiraled out of control in recent years. “The nation’s largest retail lobbying group, the National Retail Federation, said stores and retailers reported that the number of organized retail crime incidents increased by an average of 26.5% between 2020 and 2021,” Giaritelli notes.
It’s a serious matter indeed. Unfortunately, the gratuitously woke big-box stores being battered by it seem determined to refuse to understand what has fueled the surge: a spirit of acceptable lawlessness within the retail sector that has emboldened criminals big and small.
“I want to be very clear, we’re not talking about petty shoplifting,” Home Depot Vice President of Asset Protection Scott Glenn took pains to stress in April. “Not theft for need, but theft for greed, and in many cases to fund ongoing criminal enterprises. This is large scale, multi-jurisdictional activity that’s carefully choreographed.”
Is it too much to expect a VP at one of America’s leading retailers to grasp that expressing a fashionable and politically correct sympathy for “petty shoplifting” “for need” has helped create a culture of non-respect for the law that has allowed “large-scale” “criminal enterprises” to step in, much to their great delight?
“Glenn said organized retail crime is on an ‘alarming rise’ and leading to more brazen and more violent attacks in retail stores and centers throughout the country,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported in April. “He played video surveillance footage of individuals assaulting and knocking over employees and brandishing firearms and knives while stealing pallets and carts full of power tools and other products. And he said he received a call… from an employee reporting a customer had been stabbed by a shoplifter tied to an organized crime ring.”
This didn’t just suddenly start happening one day out of thin air.
“Let me tell you the difficult thing to change and establish, and that is culture,” Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin said at the ORCA press conference. “It’s all over the country but particularly in some of our cities — when you have a culture that you can violate the law, steal, burglarize, do whatever you want and the feds and the state and everybody else will just sit around and watch, you’ve got a problem. And it goes way, way beyond organized retail crime.”
Cartels Cash in on Corporate Wokeness
Care to guess who helped nurture this toxic culture?
Fox Business in December 2021 reported that several major retail chains calling on Congress to take action against organized retail theft had supported radical groups urging the defunding of police in the heady days of the Summer of George Floyd.
“In 2020, Target announced a $10 million commitment to ‘advancing social justice,’ including donations to the National Urban League,” Fox detailed. “The organization outlines on its website that it has ‘21 Pillars’ on ‘comprehensive and realistic reform and accountability,’ including to ‘collaborate with communities to re-envision public safety’ and ‘change divisive policing policies.’”
It turns out that demonizing law enforcement comes at a heavy price. Target even named the figure in May. “Target lost an additional $500 million from organized retail crime at its stores compared to last year, the company announced [May 17],” Fox Business reported. “The problem affects all of us, limiting product availability, creating a less convenient shopping experience, and putting our team and guests in harm’s way,” Target CEO Brian Cornell was quoted as saying.
If only Cornell and his executive suite colleagues realized that lax law enforcement, be it with retail theft or illegal immigration, “affects all of us” as well. It also feeds the growth of the very Mexican cartels that the US government has identified as among the chief ringleaders of a $70 billion organized retail theft empire.
As Liberty Nation highlighted in March, a long list of retail behemoths funneled millions of dollars into the now-crumbling Black Lives Matter organization. BLM espoused a radical anti-law enforcement agenda, including “decarceration” (let the criminals out of prison) and defunding local police departments.
Target gave $110 million to BLM. Home Depot shelled out $12 million. Organized Retail Crime Alliance member Walmart handed them over $100 million. Fellow ORCA partner Albertson’s gave $5 million.
LN in March 2021 also reported on Home Depot’s attempts to curry woke favor:
“The Home Depot Foundation has partnered with the Georgia Center for Nonprofits to create a ‘Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness resources for nonprofits’ hub. The Home Depot logo is prominently featured on the radical guide, which is awash in material lashing out at ‘white privilege,’ ‘systemic racism’ and similar leftist themes. It includes a ‘Hate Map’ produced by the thoroughly discredited Southern Poverty Law Center. An item labeled ‘Internalized Racism’ states: ‘For white people, internalized privilege can involve feeling a sense of superiority and entitlement, or holding negative beliefs about people of color.’”
The Southern Poverty Law Center that the Home Depot Foundation openly canoodles with considers virtually any form of opposition to massive unchecked illegal immigration to be “extremist.”
“Anti-immigrant hate groups supported the construction of a wall along the US southern border,” the group laughably exclaims on its website. “Dangerous rhetoric depicting migrants arriving at the border as an ‘invasion’ has been deployed by anti-immigrant groups and hard-liner members of Congress. This rhetoric was supercharged in 2022, though it has been pushed by nativist figures for decades.”
This language has been the mother’s milk of the Mexican cartels as they expand their illegal drug and human smuggling network within the nation’s interior. Inevitably, they aren’t stopping there. Spotting another weakness, they have pounced on the retail theft plague and successfully turned it into a hugely profitable organized enterprise.
There is only one way out of this mess, and it rests on a simple bedrock principle: respect for the law. If the big-box retailers truly want to resolve the fix they now find themselves in, they can begin by refraining from chipping away at that once-stout but now suddenly extremely rickety foundation.
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