Revelations over how criminal groups used Mexico's public postal service to transport drugs, guns and contraband have highlighted the need for authorities to tighten the country's postal inspection regime.
In an interview with El Economista, ex-Sepomex Director Purificacion Carpinteyro described how criminals transported illicit goods in trucks bearing the Sepomex logo and even earned genuine Sepomex contracts through offering discount or even free transportation services, using the legal shipments to disguise their illicit cargo.
Carpinteyra said the smuggling techniques were discovered by an inspection regime established after she requested assistance from the United States in training and certifying postal inspectors. However, Carpinteyra claimed the inspection regime established under her watch has been all but abandoned in recent years. "As I understand it, they have dismantled everything," she said.
In 2010, Sepomex refused to release details on its postal inspectors, claiming it would be a security risk, reported El Universal. However, the company revealed that there were only 100 inspectors for the entire country and that many states had no inspectors at all.
InSight Crime Analysis
This is far from the first time that postal systems in the region have been used for trafficking illegal goods. The discovery of large quantities of drugs being trafficked through the mail in Peru and Ecuador have led to crackdowns and mandates for reform, while in Florida authorities reported an unusually high level of drug interceptions in the mail in 2011.
However, in Mexico, criminals have taken the tactic to a new level through transporting the goods themselves -- either with legitimate contracts or bogus markings. This level of sophistication highlights the need for a well-trained inspection regime with a broad reach, which, if Carpinteyra is correct, Mexico is currently a long way from having.