HomeNewsBriefMexico Destroys 92 Illegal Landing Strips So Far in 2013
BRIEF

Mexico Destroys 92 Illegal Landing Strips So Far in 2013

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 23 JUL 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Almost a hundred illegal landing strips have been destroyed in Mexico so far this year, a continuation of the significant downward trend over the last six years.

Defense Ministry SEDENA announced that 92 landing strips had been decommissioned during the first six months of Enrique Peña Nieto's presidency, reported El Informador.

Also dismantled were 60 laboratories for producing drugs. No details were given on the locations of the landing strips or the labs.

The number of destroyed landing strips dropped by more than half between 2007 and 2012 -- from 880 to 344, according to SEDENA figures. However, the number of dismantled laboratories pointed to a different trend -- 2012 saw 236 dismantled, the highest number of any year since 2007. A total of 876 were destroyed between 2007 to 2012. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The United States has given millions of dollars to Mexico to intercept drug flights under the Merida Initiative, and these efforts have had a major impact -- as reflected in the decreasing number of landing strips being discovered. While previously, drug shipments typically arrived directly to the Mexican border by plane from Colombia, they now mostly arrive overland through Guatemala (however, drug flights from South America remain common in some Central American countries, including Honduras). Once drug shipments reach Mexico, they are much more likely to travel to the northern US border overland and by sea than plane, though some short flights are still used for the northward journey.

The clampdown on narco-airstrips in Mexico has forced smugglers to adapt. Planes have been modified to be able to take off on very short runways, or land on rocky terrain. Meanwhile, ultralight aircraft, which are hard to detect and can use runways less than 100 feet long, are now being increasingly used for very short flights across the US-Mexico border. According to the US, in 2011 the number of ultralight drug flights detected in the border region had doubled in a year. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security announced a $100 million contract for a detection system targeting such aircraft.

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

MEXICO / 9 JAN 2014

Security analyst Alejandro Hope gives his thoughts about what Mexico's security situation will look like in 2014. Overall, the outlook…

ARGENTINA / 30 SEP 2011

Reports from Argentina claim that a member of Mexican drug gang the Zetas has been arrested the country, after…

MEXICO / 6 FEB 2012

Despite rising crime in northern Mexico, large US companies have continued to invest billions in the region, reports the Houston…

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…