THEY have a saying in Mexico: "plata o plomo".
Translated from Spanish, it means "silver or lead". For someone unlucky enough to be presented with the expression, it usually means they face an unpalatable choice to either take a bribe or a bullet.
For many years now, the bribe and the bullet have become the standard modus operandi of Mexico's notorious drug mafias, the two most powerful of which are the Los Zetas and Sinaloa cartels. In any short article such as this, it is impossible to give any real sense of the fear, violence, political power and massive illegal profits generated by these cartels.
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