Mexico postal service Sepomex

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.

 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...