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Mexico, third producer worldwide of opium poppy

Pedro Villa y Caña
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The UN stated that 64.494 acres were planted in the country; the cartels have a similar structure to criminal bands in Japan and Russia

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) informed that Mexico is the third producer worldwide of opium poppy fields, only behind Afghanistan and Myanmar.

In the 2017 report of the UNODC, it is stated that according to figures from 2014 and 2015, 64.494 acres of poppy were planted in the country, the plant that is the base in the production of heroin and morphine. While Afghanistan produced 452.202 acres and Myanmar 137.143 acres.

The United Nations indicates that Mexican drug cartels have similar structures and operations as those of Japanese and Russian criminal bands, and informs that “some Mexican cartels have reportedly benefited from the protection of the police and politicians.”

It assures that the capacity of organized crime to operate in illicit markets is illustrated by the fact that many of them, besides from drug trafficking, run businesses on identity theft, human trafficking, cyber crimes, and money laundering.

According to statistic data from the UN, during 2005 were cultivated 8.154 acres in all the Mexican territory, a number that in 2009 reached 48.185 acres. From that year, the figures decreased and in 2012 reached 25.946 acres.

The cultivation of this drug changed in 2014 from 42.007 acres to 64.494 in 2015, which amounts to an increase of 53%.

In terms of cannabis, the UN indicates that in 2015, Mexico recorded the largest confiscation of cannabis worldwide, followed by the United States, Nigeria, Paraguay, and Egypt. In addition, the agency points out that Mexico sends the most cannabis to the American Union, seconded by Canada, but it also notes that "this does not mean that Mexico is the largest producer in North America because large quantities are produced in the United States, most of them for domestic consumption."

Without giving numbers, in terms of cannabis eradication, the UNODC reported that in the period of 2010-2015, Mexico was the country where most of the crop areas were destroyed, followed by Morocco and Nigeria.

The UNODC concludes that while drugs still represent between one-fifth and one-third of the total income of transnational organized crime, its importance in global illicit activities is decreasing.


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