HomeNewsBrief3,000 Mexican 'Drug Mules' Arrested in 41 Countries

3,000 Mexican 'Drug Mules' Arrested in 41 Countries


According to a document from Mexico's Secretariat of Exterior Relations, last year 2,892 Mexicans sought consular assistance after arrests in 41 countries for drug trafficking, a sign of the global presence of Mexican trafficking organizations.

In its report, El Excelsior newspaper says more than 2,000 arrests occurred in the United States, 115 in Spain, 107 in Peru, 96 in Panama, 40 in Japan and 3 as far away as Malaysia. In the US, most of the arrest occurred in border states. Houston, Texas accounted for more than 1,000 arrests, while San Diego saw more than 700.

Most of the people arrested were acting as couriers, or "mules" in the language of the report, traveling on airplanes and smuggling between 500 grams and five kilograms of narcotics.

InSight Crime Analysis

The concentration of arrests in Houston and San Diego provides valuable insight into the patterns employed by trafficking organizations in the United States. In other words, despite increased vigilance, traffickers continue to employ tried and true routes of distribution. There is no reason to believe this will abate.

More broadly, the wide distribution of arrests across the world speaks to the potential breadth of influence of Mexican traffickers. From Asia to Europe, Mexicans appear to be overtaking the Colombians in terms of controlling the wholesale points.

Still, it's difficult to draw definitive conclusions. Forty arrests in Japan, for instance, may simply be an effect of good policing rather an increase in the amount of Mexican drug trafficking activities in this country.

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