HomeNewsBriefArms Trafficking Through Mexico City Airport on the Rise
BRIEF

Arms Trafficking Through Mexico City Airport on the Rise

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 18 FEB 2015 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Seizures of munitions trafficked through Mexico City airport grew nearly 600 percent in two years, according to new data that highlights the airport's role in a crime more commonly associated with land border crossings.

A freedom of information request submitted by El Universal to the Mexican Attorney General's Office revealed that authorities in the Mexico City International Airport seized over 2,000 cartridges in 2014 -- compared to just 318 seized in 2012. 

This isn't the only dramatic increase in munition seizures when looking at the numbers from the past eight years. Between 2008 and 2009, the amount of seized cartridges went up by over 4,000 percent -- from 59 in 2008 to 2,674 in 2009.

The figures obtained by El Universal also show that over the past eight years, 2009 saw the highest number of weapons seized at the airport: 30. The highest number of arrests, 17, were registered in 2014, surpassing the previous high of 16 in 2009 and a low of zero in 2010.

The president of Mexican arms watchdog Mexico Desarme, Miriam Morales, told El Universal that the figure represents a small fraction of what actually passes through the airport.

Insight Crime Analysis

It is difficult to say whether the fluctuations in seizures reflect patterns in Mexico's international arms trafficking trade, improved airport security, or merely the luck of airport authorities in any given year. 

The head of Mexico Desarme suggested several theories to El Universal as to why the airport sees more seizures some years than others -- more weapons could have entered the country the years when violence due to organized crime was the highest, like 2009, she said. Meanwhile, a year like 2012 saw few seizures as that was an election year, she told the newspaper. 

SEE ALSO: Gun Runners: Arms Trafficking to Mexico

The statistics also shine a light on a lesser known route for arms trafficking into the Mexico, as the crime is more commonly associated with weapons flooding across the country's northern border with the US. Studies looking at this trade estimate that anywhere from 580 to 2,000 weapons cross the US-Mexico border every day, and the quantity crossing by land undoubtedly dwarfs the number of weapons passing through airports. However, El Universal's report shows that air trafficking is also a significant source of the illegal weapons and munitions that fuel the violence plaguing much of Mexico.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 1 OCT 2015

Mexico has extradited two alleged drug lords and nearly a dozen other suspected drug traffickers to the United States, a…

ELITES AND CRIME / 28 NOV 2018

Days before his inauguration, on 1 December, Mexico's President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced a pair of security initiatives…

COLOMBIA / 11 NOV 2019

After 2002, under increasing pressure from security forces, the FARC moved much of their leadership, logistics and funding outside of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.