The area of poppy crops eradicated in Mexico last year exceeded that of marijuana by 40 percent, according to official figures, indicating shifts in drug production and trafficking patterns.
Reports by Mexico’s defense ministry show that in 2007, the area of marijuana destroyed was about 50 percent greater than that of poppy — 22,965 hectares compared to 11,393 hectares. The gap began to close between 2008 and 2010, and by 2011, poppy eradication had overtaken marijuana crop eradication, with 16,301 hectares of poppy destroyed compared to 13,262 hectares of marijuana.
This shift became more dramatic in 2012, with 8,670 hectares of marijuana and 14,347 hectares of poppy destroyed, making poppy crop destruction around 40 percent greater than that of marijuana.
A similar trend is reflected in the ministry’s figures for kilos of marijuana and heroin seized during this time period, with marijuana seizures decreasing from 2,068 tons in 2007 to 1,145 tons in 2012 and heroin seizures rising from 124 kilos in 2007 to 3,716 kilos in 2012.
InSight Crime Analysis
Mexico supplies seven percent of the world’s heroin, with the majority going to the United States, according to 2013 US State Department estimates. As previously reported by InSight Crime, governments’ numbers regarding heroin production in Mexico do not match up, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about trends.
However, 2011 reports that Mexican cartels have links to heroin distributors in numerous US cities indicate that the drug may have spread as a source of revenue. Marijuana, meanwhile, could make up as little as 15 percent of cartels’ revenues, according to some estimates, and this may decrease as marijuana legalization moves forward in parts of the US.