By Alejandro Hope for El Daily Post. Ninja accountants. Every so often, someone in Mexico will make the claim that it is useless to go after kingpins, unless you also dismantle their “financial network”. Unless you take away their money, the argument goes, criminal gangs will continue the power to corrupt, intimidate and create mayhem. In the abstract, that seems like a sensible idea: if indeed the financial resources of drug lords were dried, they would be terribly weakened. There is, however, a slight problem: finding drug money is terribly difficult.

Show me the money. But why? Corruption? Well, yes, that’s probably part of the story. But there are also other, more structural factors:

1. A large portion of drug money might actually be invested in drugs. The illegal drug trade does not lend itself to just-in-time inventory management for several reasons, one being that seizures are not predictable. Thus, inventories are probably quite significant.

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