Mexican drug cartels are using more advanced airplanes to transport drugs

A few days ago the Mexican army seized an airplane in Mahahual, Quintana Roo

Mexican drug cartels are using more advanced airplanes to transport drugs
The drug cartels went from using propeller planes to turbine airplanes - Photo: Taken from the SEDENA’s Twitter account
English 02/02/2020 14:41 Manuel Espino Mexico City Actualizada 14:41
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According to Armando Ruiz Ayala, the head of the operations department from the Integral Aerial Surveillance System (SIVA), Mexican drug cartels have modified the way they transport drugs by implementing the use of more advanced and faster airplanes; they went from using propeller planes to turbine airplanes.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the colonel said the airplane the Mexican army seized in Mahahual, Quintana Roo, last week, was transporting around 1 ton of cocaine and had the capacity to avoid radars and fighter jets from the Mexican Air Force.

Ruiz Ayala said that although the drug cartels haven’t stopped using small planes, they are also using Gulfstream and Learjet airplanes to transport drugs, weapons, and money from South America to Mexico, and then to the United States.

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The army colonel explained that drug cartels are “modifying the way they operate, previously they used small airplanes, propeller planes, and they are currently using airplanes with turbine engines, with higher speed and greater carrying capacity.”

Nevertheless, the government official said the Mexican government has technology such as five radars and a fleet of three airplanes to detect the illegal airplanes. Moreover, the three planes can form a shield that forces pilots who work for the cartels to land in Guatemala or Belize, not Mexico: “Mexico has an aerial shield that allows the detection of any irregular flight. When they realize this, they don’t dare to enter the [Mexican airspace] because they know they will be detected and intercepted, so they land before.”

Armando Ruiz said that on average, Mexican authorities detect three irregular flights in Mexico’s southern border every month. The majority of these airplanes come from Venezuela but more flights have been registered since January 2020, as 9 of these planes were detected in that month alone. Furthermore, since President López Obrador took office, authorities have registered 630 irregular flights and in 80 cases they were illegal.

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During the current administration, authorities have seized drugs, weapons, and airplanes worth around MXN $3,500 million.

The army official also revealed that authorities have identified the flight and landing paths used by criminal organizations. The most common route is Venezuela-Nicaragua-Mexico; these flights often land in Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco using clandestine runways, illegal airfields, and alfalfa fields.

Pilots often set the airplanes on fire once they successfully transported the drugs.

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