Sunday, August 19, 2012

Federal Police reassign hundreds of Mexico City airport officers in effort to weed out corruption

Mass changing of the guard at AICM

After three Federal Police officers were shot to death by fellow agents in a crowded terminal of the Mexico City International airport (AICM) on June 25, the government announced that the assailants were part of a drug trafficking gang which had been under internal investigation for 18 months. The corrupt federal law enforcement agents were part of an elaborate smuggling network which imported "huge quantities" of narcotics from Colombia, Peru and Guatemala, and sent them on to the United States and Europe, officials said at the time.

What remains unclear is how many were - and still are - involved in the narcotics business at AICM. Arrest warrants were quickly issued for three officers directly involved in the shootings, and on July 15 one was captured without incident (Mexican federal cop killer arrested).

But a commander of the Federal Police said today that despite the payment of $1.6 million pesos in informant tips ($123,000), authorities have not been able to locate the other two suspects. Another $3.4 million pesos remain in the reward fund.

Moreover, no one else has been charged. Within hours after the officers were murdered in front of hundreds of horrified travelers in AICM's Terminal 2, the government announced that the Federal Police agents almost surely had worked with corrupt Aduana officials at the airport. The Aduana is Mexico's customs enforcement department, similar to the U.S. agency ICE. The smuggling ring did business on a "grand scale," according to the Secretary of SSP, a federal agency which supervises Mexico's Federal Police.

In the meantime, 348 Federal Police officers who had been assigned to airport duty - apparently most of the federales' AICM complement - have been farmed out to various states. They've been replaced by other agents. All the reassigned 348 officers are said to have been "double checked" for honesty, although just how that was accomplished is unclear.

Aug. 21 - At least 50 of the officers transferred from DF are now working at Cancún International Airport. With all the drug trafficking problems in that city, cynics may view the move as like putting the fox in the hen house (Cancún International Airport serves as major gateway for Europe-bound cocaine).

June 28 - Mexico offers $5 million pesos for "traitor agents" in slaying of three fellow officers
June 27 - "Narco Feds" operating out of Mexico City airport sent drugs to U.S., Europe
June 25 - Three dead in Mexico City International Airport shooting


  1. Eighteen months of investigation, and they only arrest one guy? What's wrong with this picture?

  2. Yes, there are many unanswered questions.

    Moreover, the officer who was arrested in July, plus two others who have been identified and are being sought (their photos are in one of the stories linked above), were those immediately involved in the June 25 shootings. If that event had not occurred, quite probably they would still be on duty.

    One has to wonder how many others are out there, quietly going about their illegal enterprises every day. The case clearly demonstrates that not all drugs leave Mexico under cover of darkness, or at some remote border crossing. Tons and tons exit ever year on ordinary commercial flights, in cargo holds, because officials have been paid to look the other way. The problem is just as serious, if not worse, at Cancún International Airport, according to sources there:

    1. I would imagine there are many airport employees who are well aware of the trafficking, not involved in it, and not saying anything simply because they prefer keep their jobs and stay alive.