Mexico’s security forces have released statistics on the year’s counternarcotics operations, which indicate a drop in both eradication efforts and drug seizures since 2010.
According to the statistics from Mexico’s Defense Department (SEDENA), the country’s armed forces captured 11,544 people suspected of links to organized crime in 2011.
Authorities did not say how this figure relates to last year’s total, but according to the U.S. State Department’s 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Mexico arrested just over 28,000 Mexican nationals on drug-related charges in 2010. This would seem to indicate a massive drop in captures, though it is not clear whether these two numbers can be compared.
SEDENA also claims to have eradicated nearly 14,800 hectares of poppy in 2011, along with almost 12,600 of marijuana. According to INCSR data, this is down from some 17,000 hectares of marijuana destroyed in 2010, while poppy cultivation remains stable. Authorities also claimed to have seized some 1,600 tons of marijuana and five tons of cocaine, down from just over 2,200 and 9.4, respectively, in 2010 (again according to the INSCR).
The apparent drop in eradication and seizures does not bode well for President Felipe Calderon’s security agenda. Calderon has often come under fire for the country’s climbing murder rate, and the latest data seems to undercut the president’s insistence that the uptick in violence is merely a response to increased law enforcement.