Cocaine Seizures in Mexico Plunge

By Will Godfrey 02/29/12

But the drop in captured coke suggests a change of location, rather than an overall reduction in the trade.

It seems there's much less cocaine in
Mexico than there used to be.
Photo via

The amount of cocaine captured by law enforcement in Mexico is falling fast, according to an International Narcotics Control Board report released yesterday. Just 10 tons of the drug were taken last year, compared with 53 as recently as 2007. But the figures aren't thought to suggest that cocaine trafficking is decreasing. Rather, as Mexican president Felipe Calderon's forces squeeze the traffickers' space—leading to more fighting for position—while the US tries to tighten up its border, the cartels have moved much of their trade to other parts of Central America, like Honduras, where coke seizures have stayed steady. (The problems this shift has caused are severe enough for some Central American leaders to contemplate total drug decriminalization in an attempt to wrest power back from the cartels.) Much cocaine now skips Mexico entirely on its way from South America to the US, taking Caribbean routes instead. But despite a few promising signs, this doesn't mean Mexico can leave its drug problems behind; drugs that are produced within the country, like meth and marijuana, are just as prevalent there as ever.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.