US State Department Says Corruption Still Rampant in Mexico

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The U.S. State Department released its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) on Tuesday, March 1, noting that “organized crime groups continue to have influence over high-ranking officials within the Mexican government in an environment where corruption persists.”

In the report, the INCSR said that this persistent ubiquity of corruption “hinders the fight against drugs in the country.”

The report, which dedicated three entire pages to the situation in Mexico, noted that while there have been efforts by the Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) government to try to eradicate corruption, graft, extortion and other criminal practices have contributed to the “unacceptably high volumes” of illegal drugs that enter the United States through Mexico.

“The association that transnational crime organizations maintain with high-ranking Mexican government officials and the influence they maintain over them continues to significantly hamper Mexico’s drug control efforts,” said the report.

“Local and state security officials in Mexico report that conflicts over the control of retail drug sales, especially methamphetamine, are a major security problem throughout the country.”

The report also underscored the “poor results of the Mexican criminal justice system, ensuring that 93 percent of crimes — including drug crimes — are not reported or investigated,” adding that Mexico only achieved three convictions in money laundering cases in 2020.

The INCSR did not provide names of the alleged Mexican officials that is claimed “have associations with organized crime,” but this was first time that it made this explicit allegation.

The report also specifically stated that the production of methamphetamine in Mexico “appears to be at record levels” and that conflicts over retail sales in the country of that drug “are the source of the high levels of violence” across Mexico.

“Meth production in Mexico appears to be at historic levels, as evidenced by rising seizures, record prices and growing availability within the United States,” it said, noting that 90 percent of all methamphetamine in U.S. territories originates from Mexico.

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