Mexico Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Mexico’s black market. Intelligence and threat information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

According to a report by the International Narcotics Control Board, over 1,000 tonnes of marijuana is seized by United States security agents along the US / Mexico border each year.

The marijuana seized by US customs represented 94 percent of all marijuana seized around the world in 2013.

Back in 2010, law enforcement officials estimated that the US black market in marijuana was worth $41 Billion.

(See the price to buy a gram of marijuana around the world.)

Source:  AFP, “Mexico’s drug cartels adapt to US pot legalization,” Yahoo News, March 7, 2015.

According to a report by the United Nations, an estimated $6.6 Million was made in 2010 by human smugglers bringing in illegal migrants to the United States.

The revenue was generated by migrants paying anywhere between $150 to $100,000. The fees charged by the smugglers was dependent on the immigrants country of origin. Charges covered everything needed for the journey, such as hotel stays, bribes and taxes paid to the drug cartels.

The United States Border Control apprehended 57,000 unaccompanied minors trying to illegaly enter the United States between October 2013 and June 2014.

(More human smuggling statistics.)

Source: Associated Press, “Migration Spotlights Mexican ‘Coyote’ Smugglers,” ABC News, July 21, 2014

According to a report by Vice News, male prostitution is active on the Paseo de la Reforma avenue in Mexico City, Mexico. Within a five block stretch, about 120 men sell their services on the black market.

Based on interviews with the men, the price for sexual services is on average around $40 for 40 minuets of service. The ages of the men range from 17 years old to 35 years old. Most of the customers are gay men who in many cases have not publicly come out of the closet. Many are married with children.

Based on prostitution statistics released by the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, 73.2 percent of male prostitutes in Mexico are hired by men and serve around 4 customers per week. For every 30 male prostitutes, 7 offer their services to women as well.

(Additional rates of prostitutes on the black market.)

Source:  Norma Ponce, “Mexico City’s Male Hustlers: Inside the Rough Lives of the ‘Good Vibe Guys’,” Vice News, June 1, 2014.

Additional prostitution stats and prices available in our ebook:
prostitutionbook

According to statistics released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). security agencies worldwide seized 36 tons of methamphetamine in 2012. Back in 2008, a total of 12 tons of meth was seized around the world.

(Cost of meth per gram.)

In 2012, nearly 45 percent of the worldwide total of meth seizures took place in China. In North America, Mexico account for around 60 percent of all seizures in the region in 2012.

Between 2007 and 2012, the seizure rate of ecstasy in the United States declined by 85 percent.

(See all meth facts.)

Source:  Amar Toor, “New legal highs are flooding the market faster than governments can ban them,” The Verge, May 20, 2014.

Based on statistics about kidnapping released in Mexico, there were 4,051 kidnapping victims across Mexico that were officially reported to criminal justice programs between December 2012 and February 28, 2014. 2,922 of the kidnapping victims were released, while 1,129 victims were still being held for ransom.

71 percent of the kidnapping victims were males. 69 percent of the victims were also considered to be non-affluent. These victims were middle class workers, shop owners students and mid-level professionals. Security intelligence and other research into the kidnap-for-ransom industry in Mexico have found that organized crime groups are now targeting these middle class workers in an attempt to expand the number of potential targets. The kidnappers charge a lower ransom demand, usually around $7,669 (100,000 Mexican Pesos), but are able to target a greater number of people instead of just targeting executives and wealthy families.

Source:  Sergio Ramos, “Mexico: The fight to end kidnapping,” Infosurhoy, April 11, 2014.

According to security agents in Mexico, hackers, extortionists and other cyber criminals generated $3 Billion in revenue from various forms of cybercrimes in Mexico in 2013.

Criminal justice programs in the country handled 23,543 cases of cybercrime in 2013.

The director of the Scientific Police Division in Mexico stated that when hackers take over a computer system, they force the computer owner to pay an extortion fee in order to relinquish control of the computer. On average, the extortion fee ranges between $2,000 to $3,000 and is paid through electronic means to a bank account.

(More internet crimes and hacking services online.)

Source:  “Mexico: Computer hacking becoming form of extortion,” Infosurhoy, April 11, 2014.

In early 2014, federal security administrators reported that more heroin grown and produced in Mexico was entering the United States. Officials stated that this was occurring due to the decrease in marijuana that was being sold by Mexican traffickers.

Based on intelligence and media interviews, the wholesale price of marijuana sold in Mexico has dropped within the past 5 years. In 2009, a farmer growing marijuana in Mexico was able to receive up to $100 per kilogram of wholesale marijuana. By 2014, the wholesale price of marijuana dropped to less than $25. Farmers state that the push towards marijuana legalization has contributed to the downfall as more people buy higher-quality marijuana that was grown in the United States.

As the price of marijuana decreased, Mexican drug cartel have begun looking for new revenue streams. It appears as if they have found a replacement in heroin.

With reports from criminal justice programs stating that heroin abuse increased by 79 percent in the US between 2007 and 2012, Mexican cartels are increasing their supply in order to meet demand. Back in 2007, border security agents seized 367 kilograms of heroin that was being smuggled into the United States from Mexico. In 2013, security agents seized 2,162 kilograms.

A contributing factor to the high heroin abuse rates in the US is driven by prescription drugs abuse. With heroin being cheaper than prescription drugs, many users are continually switching to heroin due to its cheaper cost. For example, a prescription drug sold on the black market in can be sold for up to $80, with the effect of the pill wearing off after 4 to 6 hours. A hit of heroin can be sold for as little as $4.

Farm workers in Mexico are cashing in from the increase in heroin demand. Farmers in the Northern Sierra Madre earn up to $30 to $40 per day cultivating poppies on farmland. The poppy farm is reportedly the best paid farm in Northern Mexico.

Farmers sell a kilogram of opium for $1,500. The wholesale price has doubled in 2013 from the year before. The raw opium is sold to middlemen who cook the opium into heroin. After being smuggled across the border, a kilogram in the Northern United States can be sold for $60,000 to $80,000.

(How much does heroin cost per gram?)

Source:  Nick Miroff, “Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls,” Washington Post, April 6, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Bolivia recorded 35 human trafficking cases back in 2005. In 2012, the number of trafficking cases reported was 456.

In 2013, law enforcement reported 363 human trafficking cases across Bolivia, an increase of over 10 times from 2005.

Despite the number of cases handled by the criminal justice system, reports claim that there has not been a single prosecution conviction for human trafficking crimes.

Most of the victims in Bolivia are between the ages of 12 to 24.  The men who are trafficked are used in forced labor situations, while the women are forced to work as prostitutes. The victims are trafficked to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Spain.

Source:  Mimi Yagoub, “Human Trafficking Reports in Bolivia Rise 900% in 9 Years,” Insight Crime, April 4, 2014.

In 2013, criminal justice officials in the United States estimated that between $19 Billion to $29 Billion is being smuggled down to Mexico from illegal drug sales in the United States. The sales and revenue from marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine is included in that total.

In terms of enforcement, the US Immigration ad Customs Enforcement seized $411 Million in cash that was being transported into Mexico.

The Former Governor of Sinaloa stated that up to 62 percent of the economy in Sinaloa was based on drug trafficking money.

Many of the drug cartels invest in legitimate businesses in order to launder their illicit proceeds. Cartels place investments into shopping centers, hotels, residential developments and various types of economic activities.

Source:  John Burnett, “At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South,” NPR News, March 20, 2014.

In 2013, there were 8,042 reported extortion cases in Mexico, according to statistics released by the Federal Government. The number of extortion cases reported was higher than the 7,272 extortion cases reported in Mexico in 2012.

In the State of Mexico, 1,688 extortion cases were reported in 2013, a 58 percent increase in the number of reports compared to 2012.

In contrast, the number of murders committed in Mexico dropped by more than 16 percent in 2013.

Security experts state that extortion has a negative impact on Mexico’s economy by discouraging investments into the community by businesses.

Source:  Karl Baker, “Mexico’s rising threat: extortion,” Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2014.