Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Forfeiture of property has no effect on narcos

Sunday, June 24, 2012 |

El Universal. 06-24-2012. While in countries like Colombia or Guatemala the number of properties seized from organized crime groups and subject to forfetiture actions numbered over 28,000 in one year, in Mexico, only 8 properties have been the subjects of such an action, according to the report  "Forfeiture of property", drafted by the Center of Social Studies and Public Opinion (Centro the Estudios Sociales y de Opinion Publica--CESOP) of the Mexican House of Representatives (Camara de Diputados ).

CESOP's analysis shows that the most notable cases of forfeiture of property in Colombia in 2011 affected property valued over 3 billion 400 million Mexican pesos, and that between 2003 and 2009, nearly $11 billion dollars in criminal assets have been forfeited in that South American country, while in this country, the value of assets subject to forfeiture is "merely symbolic."

In Guatemala, up until February, 2012, ten months after the law on this subject matter became effective, courts have issued 12 judgments on behalf of the State involving assets that authorities have seized from organized crime and drug trafficking, amounting to around $760,000 dollars, plus 226,000 Colombian pesos.

CESOP adds that in Mexico, from the date that the 2009 Federal Law on Forfeiture of Property (Ley Federal de Extincion de Dominio) went into effect, the Office of Attorney General (PGR) has initiated only 10 proceedings, of which they have won only one, and that no proceedings have been filed in 2012.

The document also states the statutory grounds that provide a basis for initiating a criminal forfeiture proceeding in [Mexico] are fewer compared to Guatemala, [whose law] contains 40 (causal factors), and Colombia, which has 25 (causal factors), while in Mexico the law only allows 5.

In the "Report on the Results of the Superior Inspection of Public Accounts 2009" (Resultado de la Fiscalizacion Superior de la Cuenta Publica 200), the review that the Auditoria Superior de la Federacion (functionally eqivalent to the Congressional Budget Office) performed concluded that the Office of Administration and Transfer of Property did not receive any real or personal property from the operation of this law between August and December 2009.

CESOP points out that ITAM (Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico) specialists like Edgardo Buscaglia find it "incredible" that the institutions charged with combatting organized crime in Mexico lack the tools to dismantle the financial and property structures used by organized crime groups.

In Buscaglia's view, who is the coordinator of ITAM's International Program on Justice and Development, the Mexican government is not complying with the recommendations of the International Financial Group  (GAFI) to prevent money laundering, nor does it use the technical and legal tools it has available to prevent dirty money from circulating through the arteries of the Mexican financial system.   

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12 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

It is shocking the number is so low,, although it should'nt be a surprise. Money laundering is what feeds the corruption of politicians and bureacrats in Mexico. Politicians allow dirty narco money to flow to legitimate investments, that they themselves profit from in back room deals and straw buyers. How else would politicians like Salinas de Gortari and Cevallos amass fortunes in the 100's of millions of dollars on a low government salary???

Anonymous said...

Oh No You mean that Mexican Prosecutors ARE NOT Siezing property,surely there is a mistake! Mexican law is crooked and as corrupt as it gets,Columbia had enough and fought back THE PEOPLE, remember Los PEPPES killing Pablos people,how about Mexicans going after Chapos people and family RIGHT,never happen.

Anonymous said...

A good portion of their assets are stolen! Ranches, SUV's, homes and god knows what else is all paid for by someone else. So why would they care if the Mexican Government took it away and seized it? Especially the lower guys who are surrounded by stolen items they uses every day. There is a never ending number of tan Chevy Tahoe's out there for them to use as gun ships.

Anonymous said...

With this story I realize that the drug war in Mexico is less than a fair fight for the good guys. The bad guys can amass large tracts of land on which to hide. A top cartel boss could have a palace in every city like Saddam did. Bomb one, ha-ha; he's at another one.

Anonymous said...

Classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse.

Anonymous said...

This article is misleading,if there WAS Meaningful,forfiture of property in Mexico it would be EFFECTIVE??

Anonymous said...

Why do you suppose there is so little real will in Mexico to attack the narcos on all possible fronts? Because nobody really wants the money to go away.

Too many Mexicans of all walks of life are making too much money from criminal activity. They don't need more laws. They need the will to use the laws they already have.

Anonymous said...

Any person in Mexico with two or more working brain cells who has given any thought to this matter correctly concludes that Mexican politicians were very careful not to put any teeth in their forfeiture laws because they are probably the single largest group of thieves in the country. Politicians use the same methods that the illegal organized crime organizations (as opposed to the legal ones) use to steal, hide and transfer assets. Of course, the two groups specialize in different kinds of stolen goods, one group steals public property and tax revenues, the other steals private property and smuggles drugs, but they think alike.

Anonymous said...

the forfeitures would lead back to the lawmakers, their families, freinds, and to the government itself,, on second thought lets not confiscate properties. thats why even the lowest level of government pays off very well.

Anonymous said...

Mexico as a country is beautiful but mexican government and those who choose to support narcos and corruption are shit!!! Uunderstand as long as mexiccans bow their heads ,mexico will continue to be a third world country!!!

Anonymous said...

@3:20 PM They not only think alike, they are often one and the same person. Holding a public office of any kind in Mexico is like having a license to steal.

Anonymous said...

Nothing law enforcement has ever done has been 'effective' at controlling gangs or narco cartels.

Everything for the last 30yrs of anti drug war actions has resulted in stronger cartels, more profits, more violence and more corruption.

Clearly it isn't working

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