HomeNewsBriefMexico Organized Crime Controls Mining in Five States
BRIEF

Mexico Organized Crime Controls Mining in Five States

EXTORTION / 20 AUG 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Criminal organizations now control the right to mine in at least five Mexico states, according to those working in the sector, in another example of illegal groups expanding into resource exploitation in areas where state presence is weak.

Dozens of mining companies -- including multinationals -- are being extorted by criminal groups in the states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Morelos, and Michoacan, leading some companies to appeal to the federal government to take action, reported 24 horas.

According to sources consulted by 24 Horas, the situation is particularly grave in mineral-rich Michoacan, where both local companies and international companies from countries such as the United States, Canada, China and India must pay for the right to extract and transport metals including iron, gold, silver, and copper. The sources said government efforts to tackle the issue by setting up military checkpoints throughout the state have so far failed.

InSight Crime Analysis

The involvement of Mexican criminal groups in resource extraction has been a problem for some time and not just through extortion -- earlier this year the accounts of 12 mining companies accused of ties to drug traffickers were frozen as authorities investigated claims of money laundering, tax evasion and breach of federal regulations. 

The movement of illegal groups into mining has been seen across the region, especially in Colombia where both guerrilla and drug trafficking organizations are heavily involved in both extorting miners and running their own illegal mining operations. According to the authorities, in at least eight Colombian provinces, gold mining has overtaken drug trafficking as the main source of funding for illegal groups. While gold is the mainstay of illegal mining, criminal groups have also branched out into other sectors, such as the precious minerals tungsten and coltan, which are mined by the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

As in Colombia, in Mexico criminal involvement in mining is highest in regions where the state lacks control, either due to the difficulties of policing isolated regions with inhospitable terrain or because of the control exerted on the areas by criminal groups. 

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 / 10 MAR 2017

Mexico's top military official says that soldiers will remain in the streets to fight organized crime, a seeming departure from…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 5 APR 2011

Between March 2011 and the last day of President Calderon’s mandate in 2012, Mexico’s narco-underworld will evolve at…

HOMICIDES / 10 JAN 2012

Despite its admirable openness in collecting and publishing data on violence, the Calderon administration has announced it will no longer…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…