Mexican cartels are using fishery co-operatives to transport drugs

A report by Mexico’s Naval Secretariat looked into the issue

Criminal groups in Mexico are said to be using fishery co-operatives to transport drugs.

A report by newspaper El Universal revealed that local gangs are setting up fake fishing co-operatives in the states Chiapas, Oaxaca y Guerrero, in southern Mexico, and use registered vessels to travel to collect drugs from Colombia and Ecuador.

Between 2017 and 2020 a total of 4,733 new vessels were declared to the Mexican fishing authority, making it difficult for the authorities to spot those more suspicious.

El Universal’s story is based on a report by Mexico’s Naval Secretariat (Semar), which the paper had access to.

According to the report, the local gangs are using the boats registered via the co-operatives to travel up to 250 nautical miles for eight to ten days to procure large shipments of cocaine.

Some local fishermen from impoverished coastal communities also make the trip in exchange for money or after being coerced into it, claims El Universal.

In 2020 alone Mexican authorities seized 27.5 tons of cocaine and 244 tons of marijuana, while fentanyl seizures increased by 486%.