HomeNewsBriefUnder Calderon, 80% of Federal Organized Crime Detainees Went Free
BRIEF

Under Calderon, 80% of Federal Organized Crime Detainees Went Free

JUDICIAL REFORM / 4 DEC 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

Of more than 600,000 people detained in operations against organized criminal groups during former Mexican president Felipe Calderon's six years in power, some 80 percent went free, according to official figures.

From Calderon's inauguration in December 2006 to the end of October 2012, 623,213 people were detained by Mexico's federal forces as part of their fight against organized crime, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) told Excelsior.

The majority of those arrested, 498,570, were freed, either because of a lack of evidence or because they were let out on bail.

The Attorney General's Office only managed to establish that 5,608 of the suspects were part of organized criminal groups.

InSight Crime Analysis

As Excelsior points out, the figures are inconsistent with those provided by other government institutions such as the Defense Department (Sedena), which reported that over 50,000 people linked to criminal groups had been captured in that period.

The statistic of 80 percent freed is an illustration of the high impunity rates in Mexico, but can also indicate an overeagerness by law enforcement official to capture suspects without enough solid evidence. In September, a report from the Attorney General's Office said that of some 3,439 people arrested on drug trafficking charges between 2006 and 2011, only 31 percent were convicted.

The figures also highlight the fact that even when the military and federal police are sent to combat drug trafficking organizations, as they were under Calderon's presidency, their power to carry out operations and detain suspects means little in the absence of an effective justice system to make sure that those captured go to trial. As InSight Crime has pointed out, a cycle of arresting and then releasing members of gangs could even be worse than not arresting them in the first place, as these individuals are held together for short periods of time in poor facilities, creating "universities of crime" where they form connections with one another.

New President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on December first, has promised to push ahead with reforms to the judicial system begun under Calderon.

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

DRUG POLICY / 10 JUN 2014

Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto has said he is willing to discuss legalizing marijuana, becoming the latest regional leader to…

GULF CARTEL / 28 JUN 2011

The chief of police in a suburb of the wealthy north Mexico city of Monterrey has been gunned down, as…

JALISCO CARTEL / 22 JUL 2013

In news overshadowed by the capture of Zetas leader Z40, Mexican officials announced the arrest…

About InSight Crime

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…