Mexico, SEMAR in the tough fight against drug trafficking

Jorge A. Medelln, February 13, 2021

With a nominal troop status of 68,725 soldiers and an operation of 31,000 elements in the country’s 17 coastal states supported by 215 ships and 140 aircraft, the Naval Secretariat of Mexico (SEMAR) has placed particular emphasis on the development of the Naval Intelligence to fight organized crime with very favorable results.

At the same time, it uses it to protect the sovereignty of the nation and internal security through the use of technology, education and training of professional staff. This is done in a special way through the cooperation and coordination with the Mexican Army and Air Force (FAM) as well as with countries such as the United States, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala and Panama in the exchange of strategic information for the security of the hemisphere. The close cooperation between SEMAR and the International Center for the Analysis of Drug Trafficking (CIMCON) in Colombia, with which the company has been working at the highest level since July 2015, is characterized by constant results in the detection, surveillance and surveillance of aircraft and ships. Minors loaded with drugs.

Major challenges and threats to which SEMAR continues to face include the alliances of Mexican and South American cartels to transport large quantities of drugs either by sea (in speedboat ships that are covert and semi-submersible for transport with a capacity of up to 5 people are equipped) ton of cocaine) and by air, no longer in 4-passenger aircraft, but in reactors with 12 or up to 18 seats that want to bypass naval and military radars.

To counter this scenario, the Navy equipped 4 of its 8 King Air turboprops with early warning systems and created a Caribbean air interceptor with 5 of its 13 T-6C Texan IIs operating off the coast of the state of Quintana Roo in the Mexican state. It also has 1,984 members of the Special Forces (6 battalions) and Special Operations Unit (UNOPES) to fight organized crime on land and at sea. Between 2007 and 2012 she developed the comprehensive messaging system for maritime safety in the Navy (SIISMAR), which will shorten the response time to information requests from naval commands and the exchange of information with national and international agencies and agencies.

Port control

After a heated legislative discussion at the headquarters of the Chamber of Deputies, the federal legislature finally voted with a majority on October 1 to hand over complete control of the country’s 102 port areas to SEMAR. The decision of the federal legislature culminated in the dynamics of other scenarios of the government of President Andrs Manuel López Obrador, whose anti-corruption policies, Republican austerity measures and full support for the poor are linked to an accelerated militarization process that has expanded to various areas of the civic Life.

This fact has been heavily questioned and criticized the risks of militarization, started with public safety, switched to the fight against COVID-19 and eventually expanded to the surveillance and control of ports and customs. This dynamic includes the culmination on September 21 of the appointment of retired admirals, vice admirals and rear admirals at the helm of 12 of the 14 Comprehensive Port Administration (API) in the country, who arrived to fight corruption and keep operational security and clean up its administrative Administration. Add to this the appointments of 15 members of the Navy, some of whom are retired to take on the same number of sea tariffs in 12 of the country’s 17 coastal states.

ARM POLA-101 in anti-drug operations

During its first anti-drug interception mission, the Long Range Ocean Patrol POLA-101 Jurez confiscated a load of 1,100 kg in October 2020. of cocaine off the coast of Colima. The drug was carried by 7 people in a boat with outboard motors. The seizure was the result of surveillance by the Navy Secret Service when it was discovered that a boat was moving at unusual speed, moving about 130 nautical miles from these coasts of Colima (about 240 km from the port of Manzanillo).

This action came after maritime surveillance work was conducted with operational personnel from the 6th Maritime Region and the Pacific Naval Force, which included infantry personnel, surface and interception units, and Persuader and King Air aircraft from the Navy, a key body in these operations. The ARM POLA-101 Jurez is the most advanced ship in the SEMAR fleet with 270 surface units and also the most advanced ship of its kind in Latin America.

It was built between 2017 and 2018 and originally named Reformador at the end of President Enrique Pea Nieto’s tenure. The ship is equipped with advanced missile, rocket launcher and radar systems. It carries 1 embarked Panther helicopter and has space for 2 high-speed interceptors. It is equipped with Thales, Indra and Hermesy radar and communications systems, and has 1 Bofors cannon that uses Dart / Strales ammunition such as those used by the Navy’s 31 ocean patrols.

It was also fitted with a Raytheon RAM Block 2 rocket launcher, which the team sold with 23 subsonic projectiles that could be used to intercept other missiles. In addition to this armament, there are advanced MK54 light torpedoes and Sea Sparrow Evolved missiles. In December 2018, a few days after leaving power, Enrique Pea Nieto led the start of the POLA in Salina Cruz (Oaxaca). In his speech, he recalled the 152 seafarers who were killed in the drug war and among the 337 soldiers killed in his government.

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