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Organized crime supplied the state during the pandemic; economic and social vacuum

MEXICO CITY.

Organized crime groups in Mexico took advantage of the economic and political voids exhibited by the covid-19 pandemic to take control of several communities through the delivery of pantries and implementation of security measures, the United Nations Organization said yesterday.

In its 2021 Drug Report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) highlighted the delivery of “aid packages marked with the Gulf Cartel insignia.”

He noted that, by advertising the supply of basic products on social media, organized crime thus reached “communities where it can attract new recruits.”

The criminals kept civilians at home, while reinforcing their criminal activities, imposed curfews and provided basic services such as water supply, he said.

They lose strength towards the border

The document, released yesterday in Vienna, highlighted that “criminal groups in the country have made miscalculations and have experienced problems in drug trafficking to the border with the United States.”

These errors are attributed, said UNODC, to internal disputes between drug cartels and the impact of the pandemic on distributors.

Organized crime saw an opportunity to expand in Mexico due to the economic impact left by the health emergency, with a 9% contraction in the economy in 2020.

Poppy crops fell 23% in Mexico

In 2019, 21,500 hectares of sowing were identified, that is, 6,500 less than in 2018, according to data from the UN office.

The area of ​​poppy crops in Mexico fell 23% between 2018 and 2019, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In its Report on Drugs, it indicated that in 2019 21,500 hectares of poppy fields (a plant from which opium is extracted) were identified, 6,500 less than in 2018. The figures were obtained based on satellite tracking carried out by UNODC and the government of Mexico.

He pointed out that this is the second consecutive decrease in poppy crops, since in the 2017-2018 period it fell 8% compared to the 2016-2017 period.

The UN office stressed that Mexico is the third country in the world with the highest poppy production, after Afghanistan and Burma.

The report highlighted that cannabis continues to represent the largest crop worldwide.

“Since 2010, the illicit cultivation of cannabis has been denounced, directly or indirectly, by 151 countries in all regions, covering 96% of the world’s population,” it is stated.

They boost fentanyl and methamphetamine

The Mexican cartels found in the restrictions for covid-19 a boost for the production and trafficking of fentanyl and methamphetamine, it is pointed out, in contrast, in the document Report on Drugs 2021, of the UN office.

At the end of 2020, when the country was facing its second and worst wave of covid-19, the cartels experienced a boom in the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs, it stands out.

US authorities, UNODC said, pointed to an increase in the amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl manufactured by transnational organized crime groups based in Mexico, some of which have recruited scientists to manufacture their own chemical precursors.

The ability of those criminal groups to transport large quantities of drugs has remained largely intact, despite the pandemic, he said.

Even the data available from the report suggests that the total amount of methamphetamine seized in the United States in 2020 was higher than in 2019.

Although there are reports of disruptions in the manufacture of synthetic drugs, particularly fentanyl, due to shortages of precursors and other chemicals, high-profile synthetic drug seizures in 2020 indicated that drugs continued to be illicitly manufactured and transported along corridors. traffic between Mexico and the United States.

In addition, reports from the US authorities in early 2021 pointed to a possible expansion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and fentanyl, by transnational organized crime groups based in Mexico.

However, measures imposed on the border shared by the United States and Mexico limited the movement of synthetic drugs, the report added.

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