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Video grab of a plane suspected of carrying drugs that was reportedly set alight after allegedly being intercepted by soldiers in Quintana Roo state, Mexico Video grab of a plane suspected of carrying drugs that was reportedly set alight after allegedly being intercepted by soldiers in Quintana Roo state, Mexico 

Mexico puts army in charge at customs to fight drugs trade

In a radical move to try and stamp out large scale corruption entwined in the country's huge drugs smuggling business, Mexico`s President is placing the Army in charge of Customs at its borders and sea ports, signalling a major direction shift in law and order.

By James Blears

The bold announcement has been made by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, as he was visiting the Port of Manzanillo, on Mexico`s Pacific coast, in the Western State of Colima. 

It`s sunk to being one the epicenters of multi ton drug seizures from  inflows of precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of crystal meth.  It`s led to Colima having the highest homicide rate nationwide. 

President Lopez Obrador explained: " We`ve taken this decision due to the poor administration of sea ports, with corruption and drug smuggling in these ports."

The Army is increasingly tasked and trusted with what should be civilian policing, which has been infiltrated and compromised by increasingly powerful organized crime. 

Precursor chemicals are the major ingredient of narcotics now manufactured on an industrial scale. It`s cheaper, quicker, less vulnerable and more profitable than growing drug crops, which are easier to locate, spray and destroy with pesticides.  In 2010, there was a seizure of 200 metric tons of metaphetamine chemicals at Manzanillo.

This move has not yet been extended to airports. Mexico`s illicit drugs trade has grown into  a forty billion dollar per annum illegal industry, mostly directed towards the United States, in return for cash and high grade weaponry, which kills 30,000 Mexicans every year.

Listen to the report by James Blears
18 July 2020, 17:03