Crime and Violence

Mexico replaces entire customs force

In a move effectively doubling the size of its customs force, Mexico overnight replaced all of its 700 customs inspectors with newly minted agents specifically trained to detect weapons and drugs, along with contraband smuggled to avoid import duties.

The 1400 new officers have undergone extensive training along with background, personality, and drug testing, according to Tax Administration Service spokesman Pedro Canabal. In addition, 70 percent of the new recruits hold university degrees, as compared to 10 percent of the previous force. Canabal said that the main objective of the shake-up is to combat tax evasion, although another is to step up efforts to stem the flow of weapons from the United States and elsewhere into Mexico.

According to the federal Attorney General’s Office, only 10 percent of the estimated 230,000 southbound vehicles are checked daily. With new technology, says Canabal, agents will weigh and photograph every vehicle entering the country, and will compare license plate numbers to a database of suspicious vehicles.

From the Justice in Mexico Project’s August Monthly News Report:


Olson, Alexandra. “Mexico replaces customs staff, revamps borders.” Associated Press August 16, 2009.

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