Mexico Ranks Number One in Paid Assassinations

Photo: Paul Einerhand/Unsplash


Mexico has the dubious distinction of ranking Number One worldwide in paid assassinations, according to a report released last week by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), an independent institution based out of Geneva, Switzerland.

When it comes to the murder-for-hire of political figures, local authorities, security forces, journalists and representatives of the judicial system, as well as private sector leaders, no other country beats out Mexico.

Between 2019 and 2020, the international body counted at least 2,700 cases in 84 countries, although a handful of nations concentrated 85 percent of those murders.

Mexico topped the list with 545 cases, followed by El Salvador, Colombia, South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil, the Philippines, Kenya and Mozambique.

The report, prepared by Ana Paula Oliveira and Nina Kaysser, also pointed out that Mexico stands out for the “unusual” number of cases in which the motive of the crime is unknown, 26 percent of the total.

“This is due in large part to the number of cases reported without identifying the victim,” the report said.

“In several cases, the perpetrators left messages on the bodies, accusing the unidentified victims of belonging to a rival group or cartel, or of being rapists, thieves or extortionists.”

Of the cases identified, the main objective of the executions for pay was criminal, at  51 percent, followed by politics, at 14 percent.

“In practice, these two main motivations, politics and organized crime, intersect in many cases in the Latin American context,” the report said.

The main targets in Mexico are security personnel, representing one in five victims.

“Police officers of all ranks are frequent targets of criminal groups in Mexico,” the report stated, often because of their investigative work, but also for their involvement in criminal activities.

“Reports show that police officers in Mexico are highly vulnerable to corruption and criminal association,” the report said.

“They are attracted by the opportunity to earn additional income given poor working conditions, low wages, a lack of training and high levels of employment. It is estimated that more than one police officer is murdered every day in Mexico.”

As in the case of the rest of the Latin American nations that appear on the GI-TOC black list, the most common method of killing is the use of firearm, which accounted for 86 percent of all paid murders in Mexico.

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