• Connect with us on Linkedin

Mexico Destroyed 4,000 Narco-Airstrips Since 2006

A clandestine landing strip found in Baja California in 2010 A clandestine landing strip found in Baja California in 2010

Mexican officials report that the country has seized over 500 illegal planes and destroyed nearly 4,000 illegal airstrips since 2006, as part of an effort to combat aerial drug trafficking that has forced traffickers to use alternative methods.

Linkedin
Google +

According to sources in Mexico's Defense Ministry (Sedena) consulted by Milenio, the majority of the 3,887 clandestine airstrips destroyed between December 2006 and November 2012 were built for light airplanes. During the same period, Mexico's Air Force and Army confiscated 539 aircraft.

The number of airstrips destroyed has decreased over the course of the Calderon administration, falling from a high of 880 in 2007 to 312 so far this year.

Sedena officials also said that increased pressure on aerial drug trafficking has forced smugglers to use more creative methods, like dropping cocaine shipments fitted with parachutes in the sea. Authorities have discovered these packages, which are fitted with bags of salt so that they remain submerged until the salt dissolves and traffickers can pick them up, off the coast of several coastal states.

InSight Crime Analysis

Clandestine airstrips are common in Central America, where cocaine traffickers take advantage of weak state presence in rural areas to land drug flights. According to the US State Department, nearly 80 percent of cocaine flights from South America pass through Honduras.

In contrast, in Mexico drugs are mostly transported either overland or by sea. While some traffickers do use aircraft in the country, the steady decrease in the number of airstrips discovered appears to support claims that smugglers have moved away from large scale aerial trafficking.

However, there is evidence that drug smugglers in the country have increasingly turned to ultralight aircraft to move smaller amounts of product northward. These inexpensive, motorized hang gliders are extremely difficult to detect because they are quiet and fly low enough to evade radar. In May 2011, the US Senate reported that the number of cases involving ultralight planes crossing the border had almost doubled in the last fiscal year.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link 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.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Guatemala, Honduras Presidents Blame US, Ignore Own Problems

Guatemala, Honduras Presidents Blame US, Ignore Own Problems

Presidents in Central America have blamed US drug policy for fueling the ongoing child migrant crisis, but the violence, unemployment and underdevelopment fueling this flight has more to do with the way the elites run...

Read more

Police, Gangs Behind Abuse of Honduras' LGBTI Community

Police, Gangs Behind Abuse of Honduras' LGBTI Community

The principal victimizers of Honduras' LGBTI community are police and criminal gangs, according to a new report by local rights groups, highlighting how discrimination against minorities relates to the security dynamic.

Read more

Nicaragua Cattle Smuggled to Honduras

Nicaragua Cattle Smuggled to Honduras

Cattle-running groups have reportedly illegally transported 22,000 heads of cattle from eastern Nicaragua to Honduras in three months, highlighting the size of a trade that allegedly relies on corrupt officials and large landowners. 

Read more

Latest Criminal Profile