HomeNewsBriefWhy Isn't Mexico Seizing More Cocaine?
BRIEF

Why Isn't Mexico Seizing More Cocaine?

MEXICO / 5 DEC 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

Just 2.5 tons of cocaine has been seized so far this year by Mexico's military, highlighting the country's startlingly low interdiction rates and raising the question of why its anti-narcotics efforts contrast so starkly with neighboring countries.

The figure, reported by Mexico's Secretary of Defense (SEDENA), does represent a slight increase on the 2.1 tons seized during 2012, but both amounts are surprisingly little. Meanwhile, marijuana seizures almost halved, from 1.1 tons between January and November 2012 to 624 kilos during the same period this year.

The number of people arrested on charges linked to drug trafficking also fell by a third, from 9,586 to 6,977, and the number of clandestine airstrips discovered dropped from 347 to 173.

The SEDENA figures do not include federal police seizures, which showed a major rise from 2012 to 2013, though also still remain low. Mexico's Commission of National Security reported in early December that federal police had seized nearly 1.6 tons of cocaine during Peña Nieto's first year in power, a 376 percent rise on the previous year. Marijuana seizures rose from 35 to 82 tons.

InSight Crime Analysis

Considering the fact that its northern border is the gateway to the US drug market, Mexico's seizure statistics are surprisingly low. This predates Peña Nieto's inauguration. Cocaine seizures, for instance, fell dramatically following Calderon's first year in office, going from roughly 18 tons in 2007 to just four tons in 2008. While this figure rose again to around seven tons in 2011, it fell the following year to just two tons.  Cocaine seizures in Peña Nieto's first year have seen little change, with 2.5 tons of the drug being confiscated by authorities.

All of these figures pale in comparison to cocaine seizures in countries elsewhere on the drug's supply chain. By contrast, Colombia seized ten times as much cocaine -- 241 tons -- as Mexico in 2012. On December 4 police in the central Colombian province of Cundinamarca announced the seizure of 2.6 tons of cocaine in a single operation -- more than the Mexican military intercepted all year.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

What explains Mexico's disproportionately low seizures? Is Peña Nieto focused on going after the criminal networks that move illicit substances rather than the drugs themselves? The fact that drug trafficking related arrests have fallen in the previous year as well suggests not.

The most obvious explanation for the gap in cocaine seizures is severe corruption and weak fragmented security institutions. However even in Honduras, wracked by political instability and endemic corruption, particularly within the police, security forces managed to seize five tons of cocaine last year.

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.

Tags

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

JALISCO CARTEL / 11 JUL 2022

Despite Mexico ranking as the second-most devout Catholic country on the planet, clerics have found no salvation from extortion, beatings…

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 NOV 2021

The disgraced former governor of Chihuahua, César Duarte, may soon be on a flight home. A US judge approved his…

COCAINE / 25 APR 2022

Mexican authorities have arrested a leader of the initially Guerrero-based Los Rojos crime group in the neighboring state of Michoacán,…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…