Mexican Drug Cartels use Sea Routes for Trafficking

Cancún Mexico beach
An aerial view of the beach in Cancún, Mexico. Image Courtesy - Gerson Repreza, Unsplash.

The coronavirus pandemic has dried up land options for trafficking narcotics into the US.

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Mexican drug cartels are renowned for their innovative trafficking methods. Using a mix of techniques involving land, sea, and air, they invariably managed to keep their shipments moving. However, the coronavirus pandemic – and the lockdowns that came with it, dealt a huge blow to the way “merch” is moved. The New York Times reports about innovations these drug cartels are deploying to keep things moving.

Using the sea has never been new to these cartels. However, due to severe curtailment in air traffic accompanied by land border closures, reliance on sea routes has increased tremendously.

A case in point would be the heightened use of semi-submersible vessels and modest vessels with high power motors (referred to as ‘go-fast boats’).

Alongside, freighters and shipping containers are also being used to transport contraband, most often hiding drugs between legal freight. This has specially come to light on two shipping routes: the first connecting Mexico with South America, and the second between Latin America and Europe.

Besides greater use of the sea, another innovation observed has been the use of drones in border areas.

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