Drop in Mexico Seizures Shows Cocaine Trade Shifting to Central America: UN

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Cocaine seizures in Mexico have dropped by about four fifths since 2007, which the UN says is evidence that cocaine trafficking is shifting to Central America.

According to the Associated Press, Antonio Mazzitelli of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said that Mexico’s cocaine seizures fell from 53 tons in 2007 to just 10 in 2011. However, seizures of methamphetamine and marijuana, which are both produced in Mexico, have not fallen.

Mazzitelli attributed the decline to increased law enforcement pressure in Mexico causing traffickers to move their operations into Central America and the Caribbean.

InSight Crime Analysis

The decline in Mexico’s cocaine seizures must be considered in the context of the fact that the country generally seizes low quantities of cocaine relative to the amount that passes through the country. In 2007, for example, Mexico confiscated 48 tons while Central America seized double that, at 97 tons, according to UNODC figures. This is despite the fact that in that year at least 90 percent of the US’s cocaine supply passed through Mexico, and less than 1 percent of this through Central America.

The small quantity of seizures in Mexico may then have to do with problems in Mexico’s law enforcement, as well as with the shift of criminal activities to Central America

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