Mexican huachicoleros supply drug dealers on high seas

The coasts of Guerrero, Michoacán, Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit are being used by criminal groups to supply fuel to drug cartels
Mexican huachicoleros supply drug dealers on high seas
Mexican authorities claim that, by using these sea routes, the criminal groups from Central and South America, as well as their partners in Mexico, make it easier for their shipments to avoid crossing the country - Photo: Berenice Fregoso/EL UNIVERSAL
11/07/2018
15:11
Manuel Espino Bucio
Mexico City
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The coasts of Guerrero, Michoacán, Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit are being used by criminal groups to supply fuel obtained from thieves (often called huachicoleros), as well as legal gasoline to small vessels with cocaine shipments coming from Ecuador and Colombia on their way to the United States.

Reports from Mexico’s security cabinet have shown that naval forces detected several routes on the Pacific ocean, 124 miles off the coast, which are being used by criminal groups moving home made fuel (a blend of oil and gasoline) to load the speedboats carrying drugs. Last week, the Mexican Navy arrested three crew members and a small vessel transporting 68 drums carrying 3,000 liters of fuel off the shores of the Lázaro Cárdenas port in the state of Michoacán.

In order to move the drugs along the shores of Mexico, the drug cartels obtain some of their fuel illegally through the huachicoleros (fuel thiefs), and later submit the fuel to a chemical process in which they add oil and other compounds with which they move the high speed vessels to a specific distance of 120 to 130 miles offshore.

Mexican authorities claim that, by using these sea routes, the criminal groups from Central and South America, as well as their partners in Mexico, make it easier for their shipments to avoid having to go across the Mexican territory or get close enough to be intercepted by the Coast Guard.

From January to May, Mexican maritime authorities have seized 6.7 tons of cocaine at sea, which is the highest amount seized in the past five months.

Statistics from the Ministry of Navy (SEMAR) indicate that Navy forces, in coordination with the Coast Guard, have seized an average of one ton of cocaine per month, mainly off the shores of Manzanillo, Colima; Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán; and Acapulco, Guerrero.

 

Artículo

Fuel theft increased by 52.6% in Mexico

During the first five months of 2018, there was a 52.6% increase in fuel theft by organized crime
Fuel theft increased by 52.6% in MexicoFuel theft increased by 52.6% in Mexico

In view of this, Mexican security forces are on full alert given the sustained rise in cocain production in South America.

A carefully established diagnosis issued by the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has indicated that security areas are designing operational measures, such as the reinforcement of Coast Guard forces along the Pacific shore and some of the country’s main ports, in order to address the problem: A growing traffic of cocaine by land and sea to the United States.

"For two years, the UN World Drug Report has detected an increase in cocaine production in South America, which of course puts us on guard,” the report stated.

The document added that naval forces face different modalities of cocaine traffic, such as the reactivation of submarines and other types of sophisticated sea transports for cargo shipments heading to the United States and Europe, considered to be the main consumer markets.

“We want to be able to act before this becomes an even bigger problem,” stated the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Óscar Santiago Quintos.

In March, after assuming command of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the deputy attorney of International Affairs at the PGR, acting representative of the attorney general Alberto Elías Beltrán, signed several bilateral agreements with Latin American nations such as Colombia, in order to coordinate measures between both countries and stop the drug flow.

A year ago, the Mexican Navy took control of all 98 active port authorities, establishing itself as the National Maritime Authority to work as a Coast Guard.

Since then, Navy forces have intensified ship inspections in the ports of Lázaro Cárdenas, Manzanillo, Veracruz, Altamira, Ciudad del Carmen, Ensenada, Tuxpan, Puerto Juárez, and Cancún, in which Mexico’s maritime and trading activity is mainly focused.

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