HomeNewsBriefCriminal Onslaught Sees Mexico Mining Companies Take to the Skies
BRIEF

Criminal Onslaught Sees Mexico Mining Companies Take to the Skies

ILLEGAL MINING / 22 JAN 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Mining companies in Mexico are now using aircraft to move their products and personnel and ramping up investment in security in order to avoid being robbed and extorted by organized crime, in the latest sign criminal groups are increasingly diversifying into Mexico’s mining industry.

Jesus Herrera Ortega, a member of the Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists, and Geologists of Mexico, told Excelsior that due to harassment by organized crime they are using planes and helicopters to move their personnel and mineral products. Ortega said that criminals “rob the minerals, threaten the companies in exchange for their safety, and rob trailers loaded [with zinc and lead].” Ortega says that despite paying for increased security patrols and GPS systems to track shipments, the assaults continue.

In 2013, companies affiliated with the Mexico Chamber of Mining (Camimex) spent a total of roughly $41 million dollars on private security — a 14% increase from 2012, reported Excelsior.

Camimex’s annual report noted how mining is one of the most vulnerable industrial sectors to armed robbery, given operations are generally located in isolated areas with limited access. Mines in Durango, Zacatecas, Michoacan, and Coahuila, have been most affected, and for several months now mining companies have been using air transport to move minerals, diesel fuel, and personnel to avoid the risk of being assaulted.

InSight Crime Analysis

Organized crime groups in Mexico have been moving in on the mining sector for some time as they seek to diversify their revenue streams and look for sources of income beyond drug trafficking. In 2012, the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel and the Knights Templar were identified as the organizations most involved in the sector.

The sort of extortion and robbery that has caused mining companies to increase their security precautions remains the mainstay of criminal groups’ activities in the mining sector. However, there have also been reports that some groups are running their own small scale mining operations, while others are using minerals to launder money. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Mining

Although the level of criminal involvement in mining in Mexico appears to be on the rise, it still has some way to go before it reaches the levels seen in Colombia, where mining has replaced the drug trade as the primary source of income for criminal groups in some regions, and high ranking police have identified it as the biggest security challenge facing the country.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

ILLEGAL MINING / 13 APR 2015

The head of a Canadian mining company has admitted to interacting with Mexico criminal groups in order to facilitate mining…

GUATEMALA / 8 JUL 2014

The governments of Mexico and Guatemala have announced a new border program to protect migrants crossing into Mexico from Central…

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 23 NOV 2010

Under the framework of the Merida Initiative, the US will give $333 million in aid and equipment to Mexico before…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…