A costume and a mask representing Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka 'El Chapo'
Notorious Drug Lord El Chapo Sentenced To Life In Prison Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

After a cartel formerly run by El Chapo, took control of Mexico's water supply during a major drought, water became the north Mexican black market's latest hot property.

In 2021, the Sinaloa Cartel, an international criminal organization, targeted rivers, lakes and creeks in the mountains of the state of Chihuahua. They used water trucks and long plastic pipeline to funnel the liquid away from its sources, reported Daily Star.

El Señor, a mid-level cartel commander for the region, told Vice that in the area, "everything has an owner -- rivers, creeks, lakes… everything, and especially water." He added that water has become a "valuable asset for us, and as it becomes more scarce, the more we will fight to make sure we have enough."

The cartel made the decision to take over the water supply in Mexico for two financial reasons. First reason was to keep its weed and poppy fields well-watered. Second was so it could be the broker that supplies water to farmers, hotels, and other local businesses that have been left with no water.

This comes after Mexico recorded one of its worst droughts in history in 2021. At the time, taps ran dry across the nation. According to The Crime Report, last summer, Chihuahua declared that 100% of the crops in the state were “completely lost” for the first time. It was because of climate change. It left more than 22,000 farmers in the region in extreme poverty.

At the time of the drought’s peak, many of the local farmers were forced to leave their crops. They were told to work in fruit factories for a daily wage of less than $2, revealed some locals.

Local indigenous farmer Alberto Ramírez said that they are not used to working in "factories for money." He shared that the farmers harvest what they eat or exchange "with other farmers, and we only sell what we are not going to eat that year."

Even though the cartel hijacked water system, they might have lost some of their power after the Central American nation experienced some significant rainfall this month. Local agronomist Ramón Campoy said that this is the first heavy rain they have "gotten in more than 8 or 10 years." He noted that all the corn is fully grown, and it will last to "give something to eat to these people for the rest of the year."

But he warned that the relief was likely to be temporary and that Mexico's problems were not over. He said that when winter is over, Mexicans "will be at risk again."

File picture of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka 'El Chapo Guzman'
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka "el Chapo Guzman" (C), is escorted by marines as he is presented to the press on February 22, 2014 in Mexico City. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has escaped from a maximum-security prison for the second time in 14 years, sparking a massive manhunt Sunday and dealing an embarrassing blow to the government. Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

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