Skip navigation.
Home

International - Mexico

Basic Data
Laws and Policies
____________________________________________

  1. Basic Data

    (Drug Use Prevalence, by Gender and Age) "Of the adult urban population of Mexico, 10.4% of them (representing 5.2 million people in total) had used illicit substances at some point in their lifetime, with the rate for males being about five times the rate for females. The prevalence for the preceding 12 months was 2.3% overall (3.5% for males and 1.2% for females).
    "Rates were higher in the younger age groups. People aged 60 to 65 did not report having used any of the substances in our study in the preceding year. There was a very consistent relationship between gender and substance abuse. For all the adults, more males (18.2%) had used in their lifetime than had females (3.6%) (Table 2). For lifetime use the smallest male-female ratio, 4.5, was in the youngest age group (18-29 years old), and the largest ratio, 17.5, was among those 60 to 65.
    "In general, younger persons were more likely to report use and to experience dependence. The rates of use among males aged 18 to 29 was 25.0% for lifetime use and 6.4% for use in the last 12 months (Table 2). There was a sharp decrease in the rates of use for the next age group (30–44 years), with male lifetime use being 14.4%, and use in the preceding 12 months being 1.5%."

    Source: 
    Medina-Mora María Elena, Borges Guilherme, Fleiz Clara, Benjet Corina, Rojas Estela, Zambrano Joaquín et al . Prevalence and correlates of drug use disorders in Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [serial on the Internet]. 2006 Apr [cited 2012 Dec 07]; 19(4): 265-276. P. 270.
    http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006...
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892006000400007.

  2. 2008 - Prevalence of Drug Use in the General Population (ENA) [National Addiction Survey]
    [By Gender]

    Type of Drug

    Lifetime
    (Percentage)
    Last 12 Months
    (Percentage)

    Last 30 Days
    (Percentage)

    M

    F

    Total

    M

    F

    Total

    M

    F

    Total
    Tobacco 48.80 23.40 35.60 27.80 9.90 - - - -
    Marijuana 7.20 1.40 4.20 1.73 0.38 1.03 1.18 0.20 0.07
    Heroin 0.30 0 0.10 0.08 0.01 0.04 0.02 0 0.01
    Cocaine HCL 4.10 0.70 2.40 0.76 0.14 0.44 1.18 0.09 0.27
    Crack 1.00 0.20 0.60 0.23 0.03 0.13 0.11 0 0.05
    Methamphetamines - - 0.50 0.16 0.06 0.11 0.11 0.03 0.07
    Source: 
    Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), Governmental Expert Group (GEG), "Mexico: Evaluation of Progress in Drug Control 2007-2009" Washington, DC: Organization of American States, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), 2010), OAS/Ser.L/XIV.2.48, CICAD/docx.1843/10, pp. 12-13.
    http://cicad.oas.org/mem/reports/5/Full_Eval/Mexico%20-%205th%20Rd%20-%2...

  3. (Drug Use by Substance) "For males, marijuana (14.4%) was the substance most frequently used in their lifetime, followed by cocaine (8.3%). The drug of choice for females was also marijuana (2.0% lifetime use), closely followed by tranquilizers (1.8%). The rate of lifetime use of tranquilizers among females was slightly higher than among males."

    Source: 
    Medina-Mora María Elena, Borges Guilherme, Fleiz Clara, Benjet Corina, Rojas Estela, Zambrano Joaquín et al . Prevalence and correlates of drug use disorders in Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [serial on the Internet]. 2006 Apr [cited 2012 Dec 07]; 19(4): 265-276. P. 270.
    http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892006...
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892006000400007

  4. (Estimated Prevalence Of Drug Use Among Students In Mexico City, 2013) "In June 2013, the Federal District of Mexico released the results of a survey on the use of drugs among students in Mexico City. Based on a sample of over 26,500 high school and higher education students, the survey reveals an increase in illegal drug abuse led by cannabis, cocaine, 'crack' cocaine and hallucinogenics. The most significant increase was noted for cannabis: past-year usage rose by four percentage points, from 8.2 per cent in 2009 to 12.2 per cent in 2012. In contrast to declining prevalence rates for cocaine abuse in North America as a whole, the figures for past-year cocaine abuse among those students also rose, from 1.7 per cent in 2009 to 2.5 per cent in 2012."

    Source: 
    "Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2013," International Narcotics Control Board (Vienna, Austria: January 2014), p. 55.
    http://incb.org/incb/en/publications/annual-reports/annual-report-2013.h...

  5. (Drug Trafficking-Related Violence in Mexico) "The cross-border flow of money and guns into Mexico from the United States has enabled well-armed and well-funded cartels to engage in violent activities. They employ advanced military tactics and utilize sophisticated weaponry such as sniper rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and even mortars in attacks on security personnel. DTOs have openly challenged the GOM through conflict and intimidation and have fought amongst themselves to control drug distribution routes. The results led to unprecedented violence and a general sense of insecurity in certain areas of the country, particularly near the U.S. border. Between January and September 2009, there were 5,874 drug-related murders in Mexico, an almost 5 percent increase over 2008 (5,600)."

    Source: 
    "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, March 2010) p. 432.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/137411.pdf

  6. (Growth in Drug-Related Homicides) "Mexico’s overall homicide rate thus hinges critically on whether drug violence will recede or worsen in the coming years. The Mexican government’s official tally of organized crime killings from January through September 2011 suggests that such violence increased by 11% from the same period in 2010. This estimated increase is roughly in proportion with the estimates by Reforma, which documented a 9.8% increase comparing the same time periods. These increases suggest that Mexico’s homicide rate for 2011 will rise, possibly pushing Mexico to the levels seen in Ecuador or even Panama, but still remaining low compared with the worst cases in Latin America.
    "Meanwhile, Mexico’s 10-11% increase in 2011 constitutes an improvement in the trajectory of violence in Mexico. That is, the rate of increase in 2011 looks relatively good compared with the increases seen in 2008 (141.9%), 2009 (40.6%), and 2010 (58.8%). If violence in 2011 had increased at past rates, there would have been between 20,000 to 30,000 drug related homicides in a single year."

    Source: 
    Molzahn, Cory; Rios, Viridiana; and Shirk, David A., "Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2011" (San Diego, CA: Trans-Border Institute, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego, March 2012), p. 13.
    http://justiceinmexico.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/2012-tbi-drugviolence...

  7. (Homicide Rates and Drug Violence) "While the toll of recent organized crime homicides in Mexico has been enormous, some perspective is needed to contextualize this violence. As bad as things might seem, Mexico’s national homicide rate (18 per 100,000 inhabitants) is about average for the hemisphere. Moreover, Mexico’s homicide rate pales in comparison to Honduras (82), El Salvador (66), Venezuela (49), Belize (41), and Guatemala (41), Colombia (33), the Bahamas (28), Brazil (22), and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico (26). In other words, it is important not to exaggerate Mexico’s security situation.
    "Violence Continues to Rise, But Far Less Sharply
    "There is still no doubt that Mexico’s security is bad, and grew significantly worse in 2011. Organized crime homicides have increased to become the greatest share of all homicides, as well as the primary cause of unnatural death for young people in Mexico. In 2007, drug violence was the cause of 31.9% of all intentional homicides documented by the Mexican statistical agency, INEGI. By 2010 and 2011, drug violence accounted for 63.4% and 53.8% of all intentional homicides (homicidio doloso), respectively."

    Source: 
    Molzahn, Cory; Rios, Viridiana; and Shirk, David A., "Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2011" (San Diego, CA: Trans-Border Institute, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego, March 2012), pp. 12-13.
    http://justiceinmexico.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/2012-tbi-drugviolence...

  8. (Organized Crime-Related Homicides) "According to the Mexican government, there were over 47,500 documented “organized crime related homicides” from President Calderón’s inauguration on December 1, 2006 to September 30, 2011, though data from the fourth quarter were not available as of the release of this report.
    "While the levels of homicide in Mexico do not nearly approach some other Latin American countries, the toll of drug related violence has been unacceptably high. At the start of the Calderón administration, there was one drug related homicide every four hours; by 2011, the worst year on record, there was one every 30 minutes. Now, roughly half of all homicides in Mexico are attributable to drug violence."

    Source: 
    Molzahn, Cory; Rios, Viridiana; and Shirk, David A., "Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2011" (San Diego, CA: Trans-Border Institute, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego, March 2012), p. 1.
    http://justiceinmexico.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/2012-tbi-drugviolence...

  9. (Official Corruption in Mexico) "To increase transparency and accountability, the Government of Mexico restructured and augmented their Internal Affairs offices through implementing programs/centers in all law enforcement agencies called 'The Center for Evaluation and Control of Trust,' or more commonly known as 'Control de Confianza.' Moreover, new labor laws constrain judges from reinstating police officers fired for corruption. These efforts, combined with leadership changes in the PGR, have had a positive impact; in 2011, over 40 high ranking officials and hundreds more employees were dismissed from service due to allegations of corruption.
    "While federal law enforcement standards continue to improve, state and municipal law enforcement officials remain vulnerable to corruption. State and municipal police have been implicated in the press and social media for facilitating the movement of drugs or contraband, as well as impeding federal or military enforcement operations."

    Source: 
    United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control (Washington, DC: March 2012), p. 320.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/187109.pdf

  10. (Arrest and Detention of Drug Traffickers) "A number of important leaders of drug trafficking organizations and their key associates have been captured, and the Government has continued to dismiss officials co-opted by the traffickers through various means, including intimidation and blackmail. In recent years, the Mexican authorities have detained several leaders of the main drug trafficking organizations and arrested or detained more than 35,000 members of such organizations."

    Source: 
    "Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2010" (Vienna, Austria: International Narcotics Control Board, United Nations, January 2011), p. 15.
    http://www.incb.org/documents/Publications/AnnualReports/AR2010/AR_2010_...

  11. (Source of Guns Used by Cartels) "From December 2006 through July 2010, the Mexican government reported almost 30,000 deaths in Mexico resulting from organized crime and drug trafficking, with 9,635 murders in 2009 alone. In its fiscal year (FY) 2010 to FY 2016 strategic plan, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reported that Mexico’s drug traffickers have turned aggressively to the United States as a source of guns and routinely smuggle guns from the United States into Mexico. This is, in part, because Mexican law severely restricts gun ownership.
    "In 2009, ATF reported to Congress that about 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico that ATF has traced were initially sold in the United States.7 The Southwest border states – Texas, California, Arizona, and to a lesser extent, New Mexico – are primary sources of guns used by Mexican drug cartels. The growing crime rate in Mexico, and fears that the violence will spill over into the United States, have led to efforts by U.S. and Mexican authorities to attempt to curb firearms trafficking."

    Source: 
    "Review of ATF’s Project Gunrunner" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Evaluation and Inspections Division, November 2010), p. 1.
    http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/ATF/e1101.pdf

  12. (Official US Assessment Of Mexico As Transit and Source Country) "Mexico remains a major transit and source country for illicit drugs destined for the United States, and a center for money laundering. Narcotics trafficking and related violence in Mexico continue to pose significant problems. Government of Mexico statistics indicate that from 2012 to 2013, reported homicides decreased by approximately nine percent. Reported kidnapping and extortion rose sharply, however, by about 20.5 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.
    "Mexico aggressively combats drug trafficking, and U.S.-Mexico cooperation in this area is robust. The bilateral Merida Initiative is a major component of these efforts; since 2008 approximately $1.2 billion in training, equipment, and technical assistance has been delivered to help transform Mexico’s judicial and security institutions. Concurrently, U.S. and Mexican law enforcement counterparts have cooperated on investigations and other criminal justice issues regarding transnational criminal organizations. Such cooperation has boosted efforts to bring the leaders of transnational criminal organizations to justice. That success, however, has also resulted in smaller, fractured groups that have violently attempted to consolidate their power.
    "Mexican consumption of illicit drugs is lower than U.S. levels, although insufficient data exists to determine longer-term consumption trends."

    Source: 
    United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control (Washington, DC: March 2014), p. 233.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/222881.pdf

  13. (Seizures Of Drugs and Guns In Mexico 2011) "Mexico is also a major supplier of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine to the United States. Mexico is also a source and destination for money laundering activity and the U.S. Attorney General estimates that 64,000 of the 94,000 weapons recovered in Mexico over the last five years were traced from origins in the United States. Complementing the Government of Mexico‘s effort, Merida Initiative implementation accelerated in calendar year 2011 with major deliveries of equipment and training of just over $500 million dollars to help transform Mexico‘s judicial and security institutions."

    Source: 
    "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I Drug and Chemical Control," Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (Washington, DC: United States Department of State, March 2012), p. 317.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/187109.pdf

  14. (Cocaine Transshipment Through Mexico, 2006) "The US authorities estimate that around 90% of the cocaine, which entered their country in 2006, transited the Mexico-Central America corridor. The amounts of cocaine trafficked into the United States declined, however, in 2006 and this trend became more pronounced in 2007 as Mexican authorities stepped up efforts to fight the drug cartels operating on their territory, which also increased the level of cocaine related violence in Mexico. US cocaine seizures along the country’s southern border declined by 20% over the first two quarters of 2007 on a year earlier and by almost 40% in the second quarter of 2007, as compared to the second quarter of 2006. The main entry point of cocaine into the United States continues to be the common border of Mexico with southern Texas (accounting for a third of all seizures along the border with Mexico in 2006), followed by the border with southern California (18%).14"

    Source: 
    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, "World Drug Report 2008" (United Nations: Vienna, Austria, 2008), p. 77.
    http://viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?preview=1&mid=wtddth&_x=1#/page0/

  15. (Transshipment Through Mexico) "As Mexican traffickers wrested control of the most valuable portions of the trafficking chain from the Colombians, Mexico itself has become by far the most important conduit for cocaine entering the United States. Today, some 200 mt of cocaine transits Central America and Mexico annually, bringing some US$6 billion to the regional 'cartels'. As a result, those who control the portions of the Mexican border through which the bulk of the drug passes have gained wealth and power comparable to that commanded by the Colombian cartels in their heyday. These groups command manpower and weaponry sufficient to challenge the state when threatened, including access to military arms and explosives."

    Source: 
    UNODC, World Drug Report 2010 (United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.10.XI.13), p. 237.
    http://www.unodc.org/documents/southeastasiaandpacific//2010/06/wdr2010/...

  16. (Mexican Methamphetamine Production) "Law enforcement pressure and strong precursor chemical sales restrictions have achieved marked success in decreasing domestic methamphetamine production. Mexican DTOs, however, have exploited the vacuum created by rapidly expanding their control over methamphetamine distribution -- even to eastern states -- as users and distributors who previously produced the drug have sought new, consistent sources. These Mexican methamphetamine distribution groups (supported by increased methamphetamine production in Mexico) are often more difficult for local law enforcement agencies to identify, investigate, and dismantle because they typically are much more organized and experienced than local independent producers and distributors. Moreover, these Mexican criminal groups typically produce and distribute ice methamphetamine that usually is smoked, potentially resulting in a more rapid onset of addiction to the drug."

    Source: 
    National Drug Intelligence Center, "National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment 2007" (Johnstown, PA: US Dept. of Justice, Nov. 2006), p. 1.
    http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs21/21821/21821p.pdf

  17. (Reliance on Interdiction Backfires) "One flaw of current U.S.-Mexico strategy is the false presumption that international trafficking of drugs, guns, and cash can be effectively addressed through interdiction, particularly along the nearly two thousand- mile U.S.-Mexico border. After a three-decade effort to beef up security, the border is more heavily fortified than at any point since the U.S.-Mexico war of 1846–48. The United States has deployed more than twenty thousand border patrol agents and built hundreds of miles of fencing equipped with high-tech surveillance equipment, all at an annual cost of tens of billions of dollars. Although this massive security buildup at the border has yielded the highest possible operational control, the damage to Mexico’s drug cartels caused by border interdiction has been inconsequential.43 Meanwhile, heightened interdiction at the border has had several unintended consequences, including added hassles and delays that obstruct billions of dollars in legitimate commerce each year, the expansion and increased sophistication of cross-border smuggling operations, and greater U.S. vulnerability to attacks and even infiltration by traffickers.44 Further efforts to beef up the border through more patrolling and fencing will have diminishing returns, and will likely cause more economic harm than gains in security for the struggling communities of the border region.45"

    Source: 
    Shirk, David A., "Drug War in Mexico: Confronting a Shared Threat," Council on Foreign Relations, Center for Preventive Action (Washington, DC: March 2011), p. 18.
    http://i.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Mexico_CSR60.pdf

  18. (Eradication Efforts In Mexico and Guatemala) "Mexico has manually eradicated marijuana and opium poppy as an integral part of its drug control strategy for decades; indeed, between 2008 and the first half of 2012, the number of hectares of poppy eradicated averaged 15,600 per year. Guatemala also eradicates poppy and marijuana; as mentioned above, at least 1,490 hectares of poppy were eradicated in 2011.13"

    Source: 
    Organization of American States, General Secretariat, "The Drug Problem in the Americas," 2013, p. 34.
    http://www.oas.org/documents/eng/press/Introduction_and_Analytical_Repor...

  19. (Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations) "Today Mexico is a major producer and supplier to the U.S. market of heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana and the major transit country for cocaine sold in the United States. According to the Department of State’s 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, as much as 90% of the cocaine entering the United States now transits through Mexico. A small number of Mexican DTOs control the most significant drug distribution operations along the Southwest border. The criminal activities of these Mexican DTOs reach well beyond the towns and cities of the border, extending along drug trafficking routes into cities across the United States. The Mexican DTOs have exhibited many characteristics of organized crime such as being organized in distinct cells and controlling subordinate cells that operate throughout the United States.1"

    Source: 
    Beittel, June S., "Mexico's Drug-Related Violence," Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, May 27, 2009), p. 7.
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R40582.pdf
    citing: United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control," (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State: March 2009), p. 414.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/120054.pdf
    and Cook, Colleen W., "Mexico's Drug Cartels," Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, October 16, 2007), p. 5.
    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34215.pdf

  20. (Drug Use and Related Mortality) "In Mexico, a national survey showed that from 2002 to 2008 there was a significant increase in the abuse of drugs, in particular cocaine. According to Government estimates, the abuse of cocaine, particularly “crack”, continued to increase sharply in 2009. Most drug-related deaths were attributed to the abuse of cocaine (449 deaths in 2009, an increase of 90 per cent over 2008). There was also a sharp increase in the abuse of heroin, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, solvents and inhalants. The most commonly abused drug continued to be cannabis, followed by cocaine. One reason for the increased abuse of drugs is that drug trafficking has resulted in drugs being more widely available in the country."

    Source: 
    "Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2010" (Vienna, Austria: International Narcotics Control Board, United Nations, January 2011), p. 71.
    http://www.incb.org/documents/Publications/AnnualReports/AR2010/AR_2010_...

  21. (Source of Methamphetamine Supply in the US, 2008) "Preliminary 2008 availability and seizure data indicate a strengthening in domestic methamphetamine availability and domestic methamphetamine production, and an increase in the flow of methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico—most likely attributable to the efforts of methamphetamine producers in both countries to reestablish the methamphetamine supply chain in the face of disruptions and shortages that began occurring in early 2007. Throughout 2007 methamphetamine availability decreased in U.S. drug markets, causing instability in the methamphetamine supply chain. Prior to 2007, U.S. drug markets relied on the strong flow of methamphetamine produced in Mexico, a supply system established in 2005 and strengthened in 2006. However, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine restrictions in Mexico resulted in a decrease in methamphetamine production in Mexico and reduced the flow of the drug from Mexico to the United States in 2007 and from January through June 2008."

    Source: 
    National Drug Intelligence Center, "National Methamphetamine Threat Assessment 2009" (Johnstown, PA: US Dept. of Justice, Dec. 2008), p. 1.
    http://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=34482

  22. (Treatment Need and Estimates of Treatment Use) "The country informs that the estimated number of persons potentially in need of care in 2008 was 428,819. However, it does not provide the number of cases treated in specialized facilities during that year, nor the estimated need for treatment and the number of cases treated in 2007 and 2009.
    "Mexico reports that in 2006, 60,213 cases were treated in unlicensed specialized establishments providing treatment services for problems associated with drug use, including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment and self-help groups. These establishments treated 64,917 cases in 2007, 69,575 cases in 2008 and 70,465 cases in 2009.
    "The country reports that there are 10 treatment centers that provide social reintegration programs."

    Source: 
    Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), Governmental Expert Group (GEG), "Mexico: Evaluation of Progress in Drug Control 2007-2009" Washington, DC: Organization of American States, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), 2010), OAS/Ser.L/XIV.2.48, CICAD/docx.1843/10, p. 12.
    http://cicad.oas.org/mem/reports/5/Full_Eval/Mexico%20-%205th%20Rd%20-%2...

  23. (Treatment Need) "Mexico has data to determine levels of dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs in the general population and, consequently, the treatment requirements for this population during 2008. In that regard, 4,168,063 persons are considered alcohol abusive/dependent (5.5 percent of the population ages 12 to 65). Another 428,819 persons are considered dependent on illicit drugs (0.6 percent of the population ages 12 to 65). Mexico indicates that the criterion on which the scale used to evaluate abuse and dependence was based in 2008, in the case of alcohol, marihuana, and cocaine HCL was the DSM-IV R."

    Source: 
    Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), Governmental Expert Group (GEG), "Mexico: Evaluation of Progress in Drug Control 2007-2009" Washington, DC: Organization of American States, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), 2010), OAS/Ser.L/XIV.2.48, CICAD/docx.1843/10, p. 13.
    http://cicad.oas.org/mem/reports/5/Full_Eval/Mexico%20-%205th%20Rd%20-%2...

  24. (Money Laundering and Mexican DTOs) "Mexico is a major drug producing and transit country. Proceeds from the illicit drug trade leaving the United States are the principal source of funds laundered through the Mexican financial system. Other significant sources of illegal proceeds being laundered include corruption, kidnapping, extortion, piracy, human trafficking, and trafficking in firearms. Sophisticated and well-organized drug trafficking organizations based in Mexico take advantage of the extensive U.S.-Mexico border, the large flow of legitimate remittances, Mexico’s proximity to Central American countries, and the high volume of legal commerce to conceal transfers to Mexico. The smuggling of bulk shipments of U.S. currency into Mexico and the repatriation of the funds into the United States via couriers or armored vehicles, trade, and wire transfers remain favored methods for laundering drug proceeds. Though the combination of a sophisticated financial sector and a large cash-based informal sector complicates the problem, the 2010 implementation of U.S. dollar deposit restrictions reduced the amount of bulk cash repatriation back to the United States via the formal financial sector by approximately 70 percent, or $10 billion. According to U.S. authorities, drug trafficking organizations send between $19 and $29 billion annually to Mexico from the United States, though the Government of Mexico disputes this figure. Since 2002, Mexico has seized a total of more than $500 million in bulk currency shipments."

    Source: 
    "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, March 2014), pp. 161-162.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/222880.pdf

  25. (Mexican Marijuana Imports to the US)
    "• Mexican DTOs’ gross revenues from moving marijuana across the border into the United States and selling it to wholesalers is likely less than $2 billion, and our preferred estimate is closer to $1.5 billion. This figure does not include revenue from DTO production and distribution in the United States, which is extremely difficult to estimate with existing data.
    "• The ubiquitous claim that 60 percent of Mexican DTO export revenues come from U.S. marijuana consumption (Fainaru and Booth, 2009; Yes on 19, undated) should not be taken seriously. No publicly available source verifies or explains this figure and subsequent analyses revealed great uncertainty about the estimate (GAO, 2007). Our analysis— though preliminary on this point—suggests that 15–26 percent is a more credible range of the share of drug export revenues attributable to marijuana."

    Source: 
    Kilmer, Beau; Caulkins, Jonathan P.; Bond, Brittany M.; and Reuter, Peter H., "Reducing Drug Trafficking Revenues and Violence in Mexico: Would Legalizing Marijuana in California Help?" International Programs and Drug Policy Research Center (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, October 2010), p. 3.
    http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/2010/RAND_OP325.pdf

  26. (US-Mexico Security Cooperation: The Merida Initiative) "Since 2008 the United States has delivered approximately $1.2 billion in assistance through the Merida Initiative. A government-wide effort involving numerous U.S. agencies, Merida has contributed to better law enforcement training, criminal justice reforms, crime prevention efforts, programs for at-risk youth, human rights initiatives, drug demand reduction projects, alternatives to incarceration, and border security programs. Mexico invests more than 10 dollars for every dollar of Merida Initiative money spent.
    "Mexico extradited 54 people to the United States in 2013. This represents a 53 percent decline from the 115 individuals extradited in 2012."

    Source: 
    United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I: Drug and Chemical Control (Washington, DC: March 2014), p. 237.
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/222881.pdf

  27. (Source of Illegal Mexican Firearms) "Military-style weapons, such as high-caliber and high-powered semi-automatic assault rifles, are readily available for civilian purchase in the United States. Many of these are imported from former Eastern bloc countries and then can be bought by straw purchasers and transported to Mexico.
    "Of the 87 percent of firearms traced from Mexico to the United States from 2004 to 2008, about 68 percent of those firearms were manufactured in the United States, and about 19 percent were manufactured in third countries and imported into the United States before being trafficked into Mexico. Many of these firearms are high-caliber and high-powered, such as AK-type semi-automatic rifles and AK-type pistols that are becoming increasingly popular with traffickers."

    Source: 
    Feinstein, Senator Diane; Schumer, Senator Charles; and Whitehouse, Senator Sheldon, "Halting U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico," United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control (Washington, DC: June 2011), pp. 12-13.
    https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=4320

  28. (US Counternarcotics Spending in South and Central America) "However, during fiscal years 2000-2005, the United States provided about $6.2 billion to support counternarcotics and related programs in the source and transit zones (see table 1).12 In the source zone, U.S. assistance supports eradication and interdiction efforts and related programs for alternative development and judicial reform, primarily in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. In the transit zone, the United States provided about $365 million in assistance—primarily to El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Mexico —to support interdiction and other law enforcement programs."
    "For fiscal year 2006, the Administration has requested an additional $735 million for countries in the source zone and $77 million for countries in the transit zone."
    "From fiscal year 2000 through 2005, the United States provided about $365 million in assistance to countries in the transit zone. Of this, Mexico received approximately $115 million to support its efforts to eradicate opium poppy and marijuana, and improve surveillance and intelligence capabilities."

    Source: 
    "Drug Control: Agencies Need to Plan for Likely Decline in Drug Interdiction Assets, and Develop Better Performance Measures for Transit Zone Operations," Government Accountability Office (Washington, DC: USGAO, Nov. 2005), GAO-06-200, pp. 10 and 23.
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06200.pdf

  29. Laws & Policies

    (Mexico's Anti-Drug Strategy) "During the evaluation period, Mexico did not have an approved national anti-drug strategy. The country reports that interinstitutional efforts have been maintained in order to follow up on national anti-drug policy.
    "Mexico reports that the National Drug Control Program (NDCP) does not have an assigned budget. Each of the government offices involved in its execution allocates the resources needed to develop and implement program-related activities within its jurisdiction from its own budget.
    "The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic is the agency or institution responsible for coordinating Mexico’s National Drug Control Program. It does so through the National Center for Crime Control Planning, Analysis, and Information (CENAPI). CENAPI was established on June 25, 2003 in accordance with the regulations and the Organic Law of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic. CENAPI coordinates the implementation of activities in the following areas: demand reduction, supply reduction, alternate, integrated and sustainable development programs, control measures, international cooperation and program evaluation, as well as related offenses."

    Source: 
    Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), Governmental Expert Group (GEG), "Mexico: Evaluation of Progress in Drug Control 2007-2009" Washington, DC: Organization of American States, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), 2010), OAS/Ser.L/XIV.2.48, CICAD/docx.1843/10, p. 5.
    http://cicad.oas.org/mem/reports/5/Full_Eval/Mexico%20-%205th%20Rd%20-%2...

  30. (Possession For Personal Use Not Prosecuted Criminally) "With regard to how it handles illicit drug possession for personal use, Mexico has indicated that, in accordance with article 478 of the General Health Care Act, the Public Ministry shall not prosecute criminal charges for the possession of narcotics by an addict or user in possession of one of the narcotics listed in the Guideline Table for Maximum Dosages for Immediate Personal Use.
    "If it is determined that a person involved in a case suffers from drug addiction, the Public Ministry or judicial authority shall order the competent health authorities to provide appropriate treatment. Prison facilities will provide rehabilitation services for drug dependents.
    "Where a sentence of probation or parole is appropriate, the sentence must always require the recipient to undergo the appropriate medical rehabilitation treatment under the supervision of the sentencing authority.
    "The legislation defining the crime of illicit drug possession includes the Federal Penal Code, articles 195 and 195 bis, and the General Health Care Act, articles 235, 237, 245, 247 and 248."

    Source: 
    Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), Governmental Expert Group (GEG), "Mexico: Evaluation of Progress in Drug Control 2007-2009" Washington, DC: Organization of American States, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), 2010), OAS/Ser.L/XIV.2.48, CICAD/docx.1843/10, p. 27.
    http://cicad.oas.org/mem/reports/5/Full_Eval/Mexico%20-%205th%20Rd%20-%2...

  31. Guideline Table for Maximum Dosages for Legal Presumption of Immediate Personal Use In Mexico

     

    Tabla de Orientación de Dosis Máximas de Consumo Personal e Inmediato
    Narcótico
    Dosis máxima de consumo personal e inmediato
    Opio
    2 gr.
    Diacetilmorfina o Heroína
    50 mg.
    Cannabis Sativa, Indica o Mariguana
    5 gr.
    Cocaína
    500 mg.
    Lisergida (LSD)
    0.015 mg.
    MDA,
    Metilendioxianfetamina
    Polvo, granulado o cristal
    Tabletas o cápsulas
    40 mg.
    Una unidad con peso no mayor a 200 mg.
    MDMA, dl-34-metilendioxi-n-
    dimetilfeniletilamina
    40 mg.
    Una unidad con peso no mayor a 200 mg.
    Metanfetamina
    40 mg.
    Una unidad con peso no mayor a 200 mg.
     
    Source: 
    Official Journal of the Mexican Government, August 20, 2009. Last accessed March 21, 2013.
    http://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5106093&fecha=20/08/2009
    http://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle_popup.php?codigo=5106093

  • (Need for Performance Measure and Timelines for the Merida Initiative) "[The US Department of] State generally lacks outcome-based measures that define success in the short term and the long term, making it difficult to determine effectiveness and leaving unclear when the Initiative’s goals will be met. Establishing better performance measures could provide Congress and other stakeholders with valuable information on outcomes, enabling them to make more informed decisions on whether or not policies and approaches might need to be revised and in what ways. Regarding program implementation, there are no timelines for future deliveries of some equipment and training, particularly for a range of capacity building programs that will take on a large role going forward. Provision of time frames for the commencement and completion of programs would set expectations for stakeholders, including the Mexican government, which has expressed concerns about the pace of delivery."

    Source: 
    Government Accountability Office, "The Merida Initiative: The United States Has Provided Counternarcotics and Anticrime Support but Needs Better Performance Measures" (Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office, July 2010) GAO-10-837, p. 36.
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10837.pdf

  • (Merida Initiative) "The third meeting of the United States-Mexico Merida High-Level Consultative Group on Bilateral Cooperation against Transnational Criminal Organizations was held in April 2011. The Group, composed of cabinet secretaries from the United States and Mexico, aims to increase bilateral cooperation and coordinate action against transnational organized crime by building upon the implementation framework developed under the Merida Initiative. The four objectives agreed upon by the parties, called “pillars”, are the disruption of organized criminal groups, the institutionalization of the rule of law, the building of a twenty-first century border and the building of strong and resilient communities. Specific actions to be undertaken in the pursuit of those objectives include optimizing the use and sharing of intelligence; broadening support for state-level justice system reforms; modernizing border infrastructure; and the initiation of a binational demand reduction study."

    Source: 
    International Narcotics Control Board, "Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2011" (Vienna, Austria: United Nations, February 2012), E/INCB/2011/1, p. 59.
    http://www.incb.org/documents/Publications/AnnualReports/AR2011/AR_2011_...

  • (Mérida Initiative) "Recognizing the threat posed by mounting criminal violence, at the Mérida Summit held in March 2007, Presidents George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón agreed on the need to expand bilateral and regional cooperation to combat crime in the region. The result was the development of the Mérida Initiative, a multiyear security assistance package for Mexico and Central America. Under the initiative, Mexico was set to receive $1.4 billion, but a specific dollar target was not set for Central America. Subsequently, Congress added funding for Haiti and the Dominican Republic to address concerns about increased drug trafficking in the Caribbean (see fig. 1). According to State, as part of the Mérida Initiative discussions, the United States agreed to do its part to reduce domestic demand for drugs and to interdict illicit arms trafficking and repatriation of drug proceeds. The initiative also complements broader efforts by the governments of Mexico and Central America, to engage on every front in the battle against organized crime.
    "Characteristics of the Mérida Initiative
    "The four primary goals of the Mérida Initiative are to (1) break the power and impunity of criminal organizations; (2) strengthen border, air, and maritime controls; (3) improve the capacity of justice systems in the region; and (4) curtail gang activity and diminish the demand for drugs in the region."

    Source: 
    Government Accountability Office, "Status of Funds for the Mérida Initiative" (Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office, December 3, 2009), GAO-10-253R, pp. 4-5.
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10253r.pdf