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There’s Actually a Specific Reason Drug Cartel Members Get Head-to-Toe Tattoos — and It’s About Economics


They are "literally branding their employees."

Image source: Business Insider

There's a reason drug cartel members' bodies are tattooed literally from head to toe — and it's probably not one you would expect.

Tom Wainwright, former Mexico City bureau chief for the Economist and author of "Narconomics," said in a video for Business Insider recently that cartel leaders are "literally branding their employees," thus making them "cheaper to employ."

Image source: Business Insider

But the reason Wainwright gave for the body markings could come as a surprise to some.

According to Wainwright, leaders have members get tattoos because it helps the cartels control their employees. For example, it could be very hard for members to get a job somewhere else if they leave their cartel, making them economically dependent on the drug gangs as a result.

(H/T: Business Insider)

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