Mexican military personnel who collaborate with organized criminal groups will now face treason charges and up to 60 years imprisonment under an amendment to the Military Justice Code.
The Mexican House of Representatives endorsed the proposal made by the Committee of National Defense to increase the maximum punishment for soldiers who commit the crime of “treason against the armed forces.” The decree will now be sent to the Federal Executive to be signed and later published in the Official Journal of the Federation.
Soldiers who provide information to organized crime groups, deliberately obstruct the work of the armed forces or use military resources for the benefit of organized crime groups will be charged with treason and will now face prison sentences of between 15 and 60 years.
The new regulations will apply to the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The House of Representatives approved the bill to amend the Military Code of Justice with an overwhelming majority; 358 votes in favor, eight against and four abstentions.
The Secretary of the National Defense Commission, Bernardo Margarito, said those who threaten peace and harmony in the country are committing treason and deserve to be dealt harsh sentences.
With much of Mexico’s police forces viewed as ineffective due to penetration from criminal gangs, the administration of President Felipe Calderon has turned to the armed forces to combat organized drug gangs. However, allegations have also been made of corruption within the ranks of the military.