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By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF

In the three years since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office with his so-called Fourth Transformation (4T) reform, drug trafficking has risen by more than 40 percent, according to the government’s own statistics.

During 2018, the last year of the government of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, 58,588 police files were opened in Mexico regarding drug trafficking, while in 2021 82,271 were opened.

Figures from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP) show that the incidence of drug trafficking in Mexico has registered a steady  increase since 2016.

That year, an average of 2,602 new files related to drug-trafficking were opened throughout the country each month, that is 82.2 per day.

But by 2018, the incidence of drug trafficking practically doubled to an average of 4,882 cases per month, or 160 per day.

While, in 2019, the first year of the AMLO government, 70,274 new drug-trafficking files were, a figure 20 percent higher than that registered in 2018, according to SESNSP figures.

Since taking office, López Obrador has adopted a controversial soft-on-crime policy of “hugs not bullets” when dealing with organized crime groups, allegedly aimed at addressing the causes of violence.

To that end, the 4T has targeted communities with the highest incidence of violent  crimes and drug dealing with social programs intended to offer work alternatives to potential criminal recruits.

But despite that strategy, the rise in the incidence of drug dealing has not subsided.

In 2020, 76,741 new drug trafficking files were opened, and in 2021, the figure shot up to 82,271, an average of 225.4 files per day.

In the first two months of 2022, 14,718 new drug trafficking files were opened, and, if this trend continues, at least 88,000 drug dealing files would have been initiated by the end of the year.

It should be noted that convicted drug trafficking in Mexico carries a prison sentence of between 10 months to three years, depending on the amount and type of drugs, as well as other factors, although the impunity rate in those few cases that come to court is over 90 percent.

At the federal level, AMLO’s Amnesty Law has sought to reduce these sentences and to release current prisoners from jail.

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