Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mexico Seizes 105 Tons of Marijuana in Tijuana. Does It Matter?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mexico Seizes 105 Tons of Marijuana in Tijuana. Does It Matter?

Article excerpt

Mexico's national security spokesman Alejandro Poire on Tuesday trumpeted 'the largest seizure in the country's history of marijuana prepared and packed for sale and distribution.'

It is another big coup in Mexico: more than 105 tons of marijuana confiscated in Tijuana this week.

With 15,000 packets counted, all found during raids in various houses in at least three neighborhoods around the border city, Mexico's national security spokesman Alejandro Poire Tuesday called it "the largest seizure in the country's history of marijuana prepared and packed for sale and distribution."

But will this make a dent in the bi-national effort to stem the power of drug trafficking organizations in Mexico?

Probably not.

Weapons, cash, and drug seizures, as well as top arrests of drug traffickers, are always touted by the government as signs of success. While they are no doubt good news - and definitely give the government, normally battered by the ongoing violence in Mexico, a PR boost - they do little to impact the overall structure of criminal organizations, experts say.

But that didn't stop Mr. Poire from trumpeting the news on Tuesday, when he announced that Mexico has confiscated more than 7,400 tons of marijuana this year.

"This administration has maintained an important effort in the eradication and confiscation of illicit substances," he said Tuesday. "This is an important milestone that demonstrates the ability of the Mexican state when security forces in three levels of government coordinate and take responsibility around a common goal."

Big announcements, little change

As we reported in August, the arrest of Edgar Valdez Villarreal - "La Barbie" - was touted as a major victory in government corners, but it provoked skepticism among observers that the illegal drug trade would be remotely reduced by the arrest. …

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