Cartel Arrests and Product Seizures Lowered under AMLO

Photo: Bill Oxford/Unsplash


As the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues its policy of “hugs, not bullets” against Mexico’s widespread narco trafficking cartels, arrests and seizures by the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) against the groups have gone down in tandem.

Between 2020 and 2021, a total of nine anti-cartel practices have been reduced by Sedena, including the eradication of illicit marijuana and opium fields, seizures of cocaine and illegal weaponry, arrests and destroyed drugs, though the covid-19 pandemic is partially to be blamed for the lowered methods during this time period.

Within the first half of 2020, Sedena eradicated 1,501 hectares of marijuana crops, while only removing 466.7 hectares during the first six months of 2020, representing a decrease of 67 percent.

In 2021, Sedena likewise only reported the seizure and destruction of 545.4 kilograms of cocaine, down 85.7 percent from the year previous.

All-in-all, Sedena destroyed 1.18 billion pesos worth of illegal drugs in the first half of 2021, down 74.6 percent from the 4.362 billion pesos reported in 2020.

And while the amount of arrests of cartel-affiliated persons has gone down during the AMLO administration, their release has gone up, with some 5,299 being released from prison, while only 5,024 were put into jail.


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