Mexican federal police and customs agents implicated in Federal District trafficking ring
The agents worked with corrupt Aduana officials at Mexico City's International Airport (AICM). The Aduana is Mexico's customs enforcement department, similar to a U.S. agency known as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
The smuggling ring did business on a "grand scale," according to sources which reviewed preliminary reports by the Secretary of SSP, a federal agency which supervises Mexico's Federal Police.
The conspiracy was revealed by Mexico's Milenio network and other news agencies late Tuesday (June 26), about 36 hours after three federal police officers were shot to death in Terminal 2 while attempting to arrest two fellow agents who are thought to be involved in the smuggling operation (Three dead in Mexico City International Airport shooting). The yet unidentified shooters have not been captured, although law enforcement officials claim to know who they are. One of them may have been wounded in the brief gun battle.
As they approached the suspects who were also in uniform, the latter pulled out handguns and executed the three in front of hundreds of terrified travelers. A witness reported one of the shooters fired at point blank range five or six times at an officer on the airport floor.
The smuggling operation mostly handled cocaine, and the Europe-bound shipments went primarily to Spain. The drugs were transported in aircraft cargo holds, not via individuals carrying small quantities, commonly known as mules (Cartel use of child drug mules on the rise).
The international transfer of narcotics in bulk by common carriers would have required the cooperation of multiple law enforcement agencies in different countries, according to drug trafficking and security experts (Cancún International Airport serves as major gateway for Europe-bound cocaine).
In an interview yesterday, Mexico's Attorney General, Marisela Morales, declined to say whether other officers are under investigation, or whether the country's Federal Police agency has been infiltrated by drug cartels and organized crime. The latter is an historic problem with local police forces throughout the country (Federal troops take over police functions in Veracruz, as 1,000 local cops are dismissed). "All investigative lines remain open," she told reporters at a press conference, leaving open the possibility that the trail could lead to "other agencies."
Yesterday Mexico's lower legislative body, the Cámara de Diputados, called upon the nation's Federal Police to diligently investigate the case and publish a full report of their findings. Cámara leaders also expressed concern that travelers could be killed or injured in such violent episodes, unprecedented at the country's largest international airport and primary gateway for foreign visitors.
July 24 - Europe-bound drugs pass through Cancún, Mexico City airports
July 10 - Amplia estructura criminal en el aeropuerto
July 9 - Investigan a federales
July 1 - Policía Federal, la más denunciada
June 29 - Aeropuertos, en manos del crimen organizado