The drug trafficking cartels concentrate their drug trafficking operations in six ports in the country, five in the Pacific and one in the Gulf of Mexico, where vessels from South America arrive, with hidden shipments in different ways.
Manzanillo, Colima; Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán; Mazatlan Sinaloa; Ensenada, Baja California; La Paz, Baja California Sur; Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, have the highest presence of organized crime groups, mainly the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel and Sinaloa, according to a naval intelligence report.
According to the document, vessels from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama arrive at the aforementioned ports, with flags of other nations, which transport hidden drugs through different methods developed by criminal groups.
Either hiding the drug in the boats, tying up small submersibles like torpedoes loaded with drugs, or even attaching to the hull (of the boats) containers to transport the illicit goods.
In the first 15 months of the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Secretary of the Navy, in coordination with other authorities, seized 144 tons of various drugs in 22 of the 102 ports on both coasts of the country. About 80% of the total insured drugs took place in the port of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, one of the most important.
According to the Naval Intelligence report, the operation of criminal groups in ports is constant, which can give rise to acts of corruption with officials and authorities that could be co-opted by the cartels to extract or load drugs.
It stands out that the high rates of violence in coastal states, such as Colima, Michoacán, and Baja California, among others, due to the struggle of the cartels that seek to control criminal logistics routes, as these entities are strategic points for drug trafficking, such as the cocaine and chemical precursors, such as fentanyl, for the manufacture of synthetic drugs.
Faced with this situation, it is expected that the Chamber of Deputies will grant powers to the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) for the administration and security of the 102 ports of the country, in addition to control over commercial navigation, which currently corresponds to the Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT).
If the initiative to recognize Semar as the sole maritime authority is approved, the agency under the command of Admiral, José Rafael Ojeda Durán, would assume the supervision of the merchant marine, the issuance of corresponding permits and licenses, the administration of the National Maritime Registry, the certification of vessels, the appointment or removal of port captains, among other functions.
The Command and Control Center of the Mexican Navy coordinates and monitors maritime and port surveillance operations to stop drug trafficking along both coasts of the country, as well as those to support the civilian population and search and rescue.
From January 2019 to September 2020, the Secretary of the Navy (Semar) has seized 7.5 tons of cocaine; 1.4 tons of marijuana; 165.25 kilograms of methamphetamine; 559 kilograms of chemical precursors; 126 thousand liters of fuel, in ports, maritime terminals and customs of the country, which represent an affectation of more than 20 million pesos to criminal organizations.
Regarding the transfer in smaller vessels, personnel of the Navy of the Eighth Naval Region, based in Acapulco, managed on August 3 to seize 2,240 kilograms of cocaine, considered the largest shipment reported in the current administration.
The head of Analysis and Operations of the Command Center, located in Mexico City, Captain Miguel Ángel Monroy Rodríguez, told EL UNIVERSAL that fast vessels with illegal cargo are detected both by air and by sea, mainly in the Pacific Ocean. from South America.
He stressed that surveillance through the trinomial Oceanic Patrol-Helicopter-Interceptor Patrol has allowed the Mexican Navy greater capacity to detect illegal vessels of all kinds and act faster.
“The use of these elements gives us the virtue of having a better projection out to sea, with greater detection capacity and of acting more quickly. In addition, our airborne surveillance and maritime reconnaissance units, such as King Air aircraft, they provide us with information in real-time for follow-up, “he said.
The Fragata captain recalled that the maritime routes for the transfer start from the south of the continent and in some cases, criminal groups use the Mexican coasts and in others, they go directly to the United States, with the cargo.
“The maritime routes are from the south and can be to Mexican coasts or even go to the United States. There is no specific pattern that everything reaches Mexico because it is in general, it is an uncertainty and it is the analysis or constant surveillance that it keeps waiting and reacting when we have detection and being able to act, “he commented.
Monroy Rodríguez explained that the Navy Command and Control Center is organized into six modules: Control of Operational Units, Communications, Emergency Plans, Recognition of the Maritime Environment, Support and Direction, with trained personnel working in a 24 / 7 in four 8-hour duty shifts.
At the headquarters of the Command Center, the naval command detailed that from the Maritime Environment Recognition module, merchant ships, pleasure boats, and fishing boats in Mexican marine waters are monitored, to have control over who sails in Mexican waters.