Mexico: The crime situation in Mérida, Mexico City, Campeche, and Cabo San Lucas; organized crime and cartel groups active in these cities (as well as Yucatán state, State of Campeche, and Baja California Sur); the ability and motivation of organized crime groups and cartels active in other areas of Mexico, including the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, CJNG), Sinaloa Cartel, and Los Zetas, to track and retaliate against people who relocate to these areas (2019–August 2021) [MEX200732.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Crime Situation, Organized Crime, and Cartel Groups in Mexico

Sources state that drug violence in Mexico has "increased over recent years" (UK 22 July 2021) or criminal violence "has become highly intense, diversified, and popularized" over the past two decades (Brookings Institution Mar. 2019). The Foreign Travel Advice profile for Mexico by the UK indicates that "violence is concentrated in specific areas," with "some regions … almost completely spared" (UK 22 July 2021). The country profile for Mexico on the Smartraveller website by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) indicates that the areas "most affected" by drug-related and gang violence include:

  • Northern border states – Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas
  • Pacific states – Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Sinaloa
  • Central states – Guanajuato, Durango, San Luis Potosí, and Zacatecas
  • State of Mexico and the State of Veracruz
  • Major cities along Mexico's border with the US – Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Nogales, Piedras Negras and Reynosa. (Australia 27 July 2021)

According to Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index (BTI) 2020, which "assesses the transformation toward democracy and a market economy as well as the quality of governance in 137 countries" and covers the period from February 2017 to January 2019, "widespread violence and ungovernability … have affected almost all Mexican states," except Yucatán, Campeche, and Aguascalientes (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2020, 2, 29). The Mexico 2021 Peace Index (Índice de Paz México, IPM) report [1] by the Institute for Economics and Peace (Instituto para la Economía y la Paz, IEP), an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit think tank based in Sydney (IEP May 2021, [ii]), indicates that Yucatán was the [translation] "most peaceful state" in Mexico for four consecutive years, followed by Tlaxcala, Campeche, Chiapas, and Nayarit (IEP May 2021, 2). Semáforo Delictivo Nacional, an indicator that examines and compares crimes in Mexico [2], provides the following statistics for the first quarter of 2021 for the states of Yucatán, Mexico City, Campeche, and Baja California Sur:

  Homicide Rate (per 100,000 inhabitants) Change in Homicide Rate (percent) Kidnapping Rate (per 100,000 inhabitants) Extorsion Rate (per 100,000 inhabitants) Drug Trafficking Rate (per 100,000 inhabitants)
Yucatán 1.4 36 n/a 0.1 3.3
Mexico City 2.8 -24 0.1 1.4 12.5
Campeche 2.4 5 0.1 0.4 4.8
Baja California Sur 1.7 40 0.5 2.3 14.9

(Semáforo 23 June 2021)

The Yucatan Times, an online English-language newspaper based in the Yucatan peninsula (The Yucatan Times n.d.), quoting the head of the US Northern Command, reports that "'organized crime controls between 30% and 35% of the territory in Mexico'" (The Yucatan Times 22 Mar. 2021). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a doctor of criminology from the University of Toronto who specializes in organized crime groups in Mexico stated the following:

It is rarely the case that cartel groups have a monopoly in any one state – there is always a presence of numerous criminal organizations within a state at any given time. What you sometimes do have is the dominance of one group in a specific area, which usually takes place in a city or town. (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021)

According to the Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization in Washington, DC (Brookings Institution n.d.), organized crime groups "take over one another's territory" as they "lack clarity about the balance of power among them" (Brookings Institution Mar. 2019).

1.1 Mérida – Yucatán State

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI), an "autonomous public body" responsible for collecting and disseminating information regarding the population, territory, resources, and economy in Mexico (Mexico n.d.), in 2019 Yucatán's crime rate was 17,686 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (Mexico [2019]a). The same source reports that in 2019, 37.5 percent of people 18 years and over in Yucatán considered their city to be unsafe (Mexico [2019]a). An article by Yucatán a la Mano, a Yucatán-based online news portal, reports that Mérida is the municipality with the most homicides within the state, with 31 out of the 45 registered cases in 2020 (Yucatán a la Mano 28 Dec. 2020).

According to a report by Lantia Intelligence, a digital data platform on violence, organized crime, and social conflict in Mexico (Lantia Intelligence n.d.) whose research is based on open-source intelligence verified through information from newspapers, periodicals, social media, and academic studies, the Sinaloa Cartel, the CJNG, the Gulf Cartel, and other [translation] "local or regional criminal groups" have a presence in Yucatán (Lantia Intelligence Jan. 2020, 3, 12). An article by Diario de Yucatán, a newspaper based in Yucatán, reports that [translation] "at least" 3 of the 19 "high-impact criminal organizations" identified by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Mexico's Ministry of Finance operate in the state: the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and Los Zetas (Diario de Yucatán 12 Oct. 2020). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California who specializes in criminality, criminal cartography, and the criminal economy indicated that the CJNG and Los Zetas have a presence in Mérida (Professor 29 July 2021).

Diario de Yucatán reports that according to a report from the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Finance, [translation] "no one group has control of operations" in Yucatán (Diario de Yucatán 12 Oct. 2020). The Yucatan Times states that according to the director of the IEP, Yucatán is not located "'among the drug routes'," it does not have a port, and it does not have an "'attractive market for drug dealing'" (The Yucatan Times 21 May 2021). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a research professor at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, CIESAS), in Mexico City, whose research focuses on Mexico's drug trafficking organizations indicated that Mérida is "mostly used" as a "haven" for families of organized crime and cartel groups who send their family members to Mérida to protect them from "violence present in other places" (Research Professor 21 July 2021). The same source further stated that while criminal groups "may be present" in Yucatán or Mérida, they "try to keep a low-profile" and there does not "seem" to be the establishment of a hegemony by any one organized crime group (Research Professor 21 July 2021).

1.2 Mexico City

INEGI indicates that in 2019 Mexico City's crime rate was 62,008 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (Mexico [2019]b).The same source indicates that in 2019, 89.2 percent of people 18 years and over in Mexico City considered the city unsafe (Mexico [2019]b). The Foreign Travel Advice profile for Mexico by the UK reports that Mexico City has experienced a "recent increase" in "[o]utbursts of politically-motivated violence" (UK 22 July 2021). The Yucatan Times, citing data from local prosecutors, indicates that Mexico City was the third "worst entity" in Mexico for kidnapping, with 192 recorded cases in 2019 (The Yucatan Times 22 Jan. 2020). According to the Doctor of criminology, Mexico City

is also a strategic [location] for international drug trafficking due to the large size of the local market. For this reason, organized crime is very strong, but they cannot behave in the same way as other Mexican cities, due to the strong presence of authorities and/or the government. Organized crime tends to be much more secretive and there are no massive displays of power. (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021)

The Professor noted that while drug trafficking exists in Mexico City, [translation] "there is not much violence or homicides" as criminal groups are "controlled by state institutions" (Professor 29 July 2021). The Research Professor stated that "big criminal organizations try to keep a low-profile in Mexico City";

however, smaller organizations who fight for retail drug-selling market[s] and are also involved in extortion business are more openly violent here in Mexico City, but the way they use violence resembles more the urban gang turf wars and hits than paramilitar[y] violence present somewhere else. … Nevertheless, such events attracted such public attention that their perpetrators were soon arrested by police. (Research Professor 22 July 2021a)

Sources state that all the main criminal groups are present in Mexico City (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021; Professor 29 July 2021; Research Professor 21 July 2021), even though "local and federal institutions… usually try to minimize the presence of big drug trafficking organizations" (Research Professor 21 July 2021). Lantia Intelligence reports that the Sinaloa Cartel, the CJNG, the Beltrán Levya Organization (Organización criminal de Los Beltrán Leyva), Los Caballeros Templarios–La Familia Michoacana, and other [translation] "local or regional criminal groups" have a presence in the capital (Lantia Intelligence Jan. 2020, 12). According to an article by El Heraldo de México, a national newspaper in Mexico City, La Unión Tepito [translation] "has a presence in almost all areas" of Mexico City (El Heraldo de México 28 June 2020). El Universal states that according to a report by the Mexican government published in November 2019, La Unión Tepito [translation] "had a strong presence in the municipalities of Cuauhtémoc, Iztapalapa, Benito Juárez, Miguel Hidalgo and Venustiano Carranza, where it engaged in drug dealing, extortion, kidnapping, land invasion and trafficking" (El Universal 1 Sept. 2020). The Doctor of criminology stated that La Unión Tepito is the "best organized local organization" in Mexico City and noted that "it is very local and works in partnerships or alliances with larger groups outside of Mexico City" (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021).

According to the Research Professor, criminal organizations in Mexico "are fluid and often shift alliances. Current friends may soon be foes, and current foes become allies" and this is "even more usual" among smaller criminal groups (Research Professor 22 July 2021b). InSight Crime states that the Fuerza Anti-Unión (FAU) is "one of Mexico City's largest criminal threats" (InSight Crime 13 Nov. 2020). However, the same source reports that the "ongoing volatile turf war" between the FAU and La Unión Tepito makes it "difficult to say which municipalities in Mexico City the [FAU] truly dominates at any one time" (InSight Crime 13 Nov. 2020). The InSight Crime article indicates that the FAU has a "strong alliance" with the CJNG, which has the "economic resources" to provide the FAU with "weapons, drugs, vehicles and even hitmen" (InSight Crime 13 Nov. 2020). However, an article by La Jornada, a Mexico City-based newspaper, reports that the CJNG [translation] "has been associated with Unión Tepito for more than a year" (La Jornada 26 June 2020). According to the Research Professor, the CJNG "seems to be lately more connected to [FAU]" (Research Professor 22 July 2021b).

According to the Research Professor, the CJNG has "contacts with smaller drug gangs" in Mexico City, such as La Unión Tepito, that it provides with drugs (Research Professor 21 July 2021). An InSight Crime article states that according to a Mexican journalist and expert in organized crime, the CJNG has a presence in Mexico City, particularly "in certain poorer neighborhoods to the north of the city" (InSight Crime 11 June 2020). Another InSight Crime article reports that CJNG is "expanding its presence" in Mexico City (InSight Crime 22 Oct. 2020). However, the same source states that officials have made "somewhat contradictory statements about the CJNG"; for example, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo Montaña stated that the CJNG "had been making incursions into Mexico City and maintained 'fragile' agreements with local gangs," however, Mexico City's Secretary of Citizen Security, Omar García Harfuch, "claimed that the CJNG had no significant presence in the capital and that local gangs, such as the Unión Tepito and their enemy the Fuerza Anti-Unión, had been broken up into 'atomized cells'" (InSight Crime 22 Oct. 2020). An article by Infobae, a Spanish-language news website from Argentina (The Washington Post 8 June 2016), states that although the CJNG is [translation] "one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico City, circumstances and its particularities have worked against it to establish a foothold in the region" (Infobae 3 Nov. 2020).

An InSight Crime article reports that the Familia Michoacana has "expanded" and "established cells" in Mexico City (InSight Crime 5 May 2020). According to La Jornada, the federal government and the Security and Citizen Protection Secretariat (Secretaría de Seguridad y Protección Ciudadana, SSPC) [translation] "have exchanged intelligence reports" and "established that criminal organizations like Familia Michoacana and CJNG have partnered with groups of dealers in [Mexico City] in search of new territories" (La Jornada 26 June 2020). However, the Doctor of criminology noted that Familia Michoacana "has been crippled by government crackdowns, in-fighting, and attacks from rival organizations," and "what remains is a collection or constellation of very small groups called Carteles Unidos that are allied against CJNG" (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021).

An InSight Crime article states that "smaller groups," such as the Cartel de Tláhuac, "enjoy plentiful incomes from extortion and microtrafficking" in the capital (InSight Crime 11 June 2020). According to the Doctor of criminology, Cartel de Tláhuac is a "local group," with a presence in the district of Tláhuac, that is "known for targeting journalists," however, "it is not by any measure one of the big players in Mexico" (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021).

According to another InSight Crime article, the Sinaloa Cartel "may be growing" in Mexico City (InSight Crime 12 Nov. 2020). The Doctor of criminology indicated that the Sinaloa Cartel has a "business" presence in the capital, "not one of territorial control", and owns businesses and properties, "especially in upscale neighborhoods" (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021). According to the Research Professor, "there is strong evidence that the Sinaloa Cartel uses Mexico City Airport to land drugs or chemical precursors" (Research Professor 21 July 2021).

1.3 Campeche – State of Campeche

Sources report that the state of Campeche has a low crime rate (Tribuna Campeche 22 Feb. 2021) or a low incidence of cartel-related crime (El Sur de Campeche 14 July 2021). INEGI indicates that in 2019 Campeche's crime rate was 18,595 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (Mexico [2019]c). The same source reports that in 2019, 61 percent of people 18 years and over in Campeche considered the city unsafe (Mexico [2019]c). According to El Expreso de Campeche, a newspaper based in Campeche, Campeche was named the [translation] "best state" in the southeast of Mexico during the 2018–2020 National Conference of Secretaries of Public Security (Conferencia Nacional de Secretarios de Seguridad Pública, CNSSP) (El Expreso de Campeche 2 July 2020). The same source further reports that the state recorded a [translation] "reduction" in "intentional homicide[s], kidnapping[s], [and] drug dealing" during the same period (El Expreso de Campeche 2 July 2020). Tribuna Campeche, a newspaper based in Campeche, reports that while the state is [translation] "not exempt from the presence of crime and violent acts," "both federal and state security forces work in coordination" (Tribuna Campeche 22 Feb. 2021).

The Research Professor stated that "[c]urrently, there does not seem to be a notorious presence of a big drug trafficking organization," however, "this does not mean that [criminal groups] may not be operating some transport operations" in Campeche (Research Professor 21 July 2021). According to an article by El Sur de Campeche, a newspaper based in Campeche, the existence of cartels in the state is [translation] "palpable" given that Campeche is an "obligatory zone for air and road traffic of illegal merchandise" (El Sur de Campeche 14 July 2021). An article by Campeche HOY, a newspaper based in Campeche, indicates that the number of homicides, kidnappings, and extortions [translation] "increased" during to the COVID-19 pandemic and kidnappings and drug dealing "tripled" during August 2020, a month in which the city of Carmen experienced "executions and threats by means of grenades" (Campeche HOY 22 Sept. 2020). Another Campeche HOY article states that [translation] individuals who live in the state of Campeche "live in terror of being assaulted" (Campeche HOY 28 May 2021).

According to Lantia Intelligence, the Sinaloa Cartel, the CJNG, and the Gulf Cartel have a presence in the state of Campeche (Lantia Intelligence Jan. 2020, 12). An article by Telemundo, a Spanish-language media company based in the US (Telemundo n.d.), indicates that the CJNG [translation] "maintains alliances" with "local criminal groups" in the state (Telemundo 20 May 2019). According to El Sur de Campeche, a [translation] "battle has been taking place" between the CJNG and the Gulf Cartel in Carmen, while the [translation] "incursion" of the CJNG into Campeche has "generated disputes" in areas "controlled" by Los Zetas, including Escárcega, Hopelchén, Candelaria, and Calakmul (El Sur de Campeche 14 July 2021). The same source further states that the Gulf Cartel [translation] "maintained control" in the municipalities of Calkiní, Hecelchakán, Tenabo, Campeche, Champotón, and Palizada (El Sur de Campeche 14 July 2021).

1.4 Cabo San Lucas – Baja California Sur

INEGI indicates that in 2019, the crime rate in Baja California Sur was 18,887 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (Mexico [2019]d). The same source reports that in 2019, 48.2 percent of people 18 years and over in Baja California Sur considered the city to be unsafe (Mexico [2019]d). According to sources, violence (Research Professor 21 July 2021) or "drug-related violence" (Australia 27 July 2021) or "drug-related crime" (UK 22 July 2021) has increased in Baja California Sur (UK 22 July 2021; Australia 27 July 2021; Research Professor 21 July 2021). According to the Mexico 2020 Crime and Safety Report by the US Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), "drug-related violence in … Baja California Sur typically affects those involved with the drug trade" (US 29 July 2020).

The Professor stated that the CJNG, the Sinaloa Cartel, and [translation] "small blocks" of the Sinaloa are present in Cabo San Lucas (Professor 29 July 2021). Lantia Intelligence indicates that the Sinaloa Cartel, the CJNG, and the Beltrán Leyva Organization have a presence in the state (Lantia Intelligence Jan. 2020, 12). According to InSight Crime, the CJNG is "vying" with the Sinaloa Cartel for "control of drug routes" in Baja California Sur (InSight Crime 27 Aug. 2019). The Research Professor stated that the Sinaloa Cartel has "extended its trafficking operations to Baja California Sur, and is interested in using the land and coasts for transporting drugs, and even selling them in tourist-affluent places like Cabo San Lucas" (Research Professor 21 July 2021).

2. Ability and Motivations of Organized Crime Groups to Track and Retaliate Against Individuals

Sources stated that organized crime groups track and retaliate against individuals (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021; Research Professor 21 July 2021). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the director for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), "a research and advocacy organization that seeks to advance human rights and social justice in the Americas," stated that if a criminal group has "very strong motivation to find and retaliate against a certain person," "especially if the criminal group were one of the more powerful groups in Mexico" and/or "a group with indications of having cooperation from relevant authorities," then "[the ability to track or retaliate against a certain person] would be a reasonable concern to have" (Director 21 July 2021). The Research Professor stated that if organized crime groups in other parts of Mexico are "interested and willing to retaliate against people relocated in [Merida, Campeche, Cabo San Lucas, or Mexico City], they could do it easily" (Research Professor 21 July 2021). According to sources, criminal groups are motivated to track certain individuals because they steal or lose money; due to personal rivalries; for political incentives/reasons (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021) or due to "personal vengeance; perceived betrayal; public exposition of relationships with public officials, politicians or investments; or cooperation with authorities as informants or collaborative witnesses" (Research Professor 21 July 2021).

The Professor stated that criminal groups use phone and cellphone companies (Professor 29 July 2021). The Research Professor noted that if a criminal organization is "more sophisticated," "they may bribe people working in telephone companies in order to track phone calls or messages, whether SMS or social networks of relatives," in order to find "where targets may be hidden" (Research Professor 22 July 2021c). According to sources, criminal groups abduct and "torture" relatives in order to find information about the targeted individual's whereabouts (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021; Research Professor 22 July 2021c). According to the Doctor of criminology,

it is an oversimplification to say that a group will track just anyone. It really depends on who you are and what you did. Low ranking members are not worth the time or resources for armed groups to track and kill. Instead, high-ranking members or someone who betrayed a [high-ranking member of] a criminal organization may cause you to be tracked or targeted. (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021)

Similarly, the Research Professor stated that

the safety of an individual who relocates to flee from one of these organizations' threats depend on the interests a group may have to punish or retaliate against them. If the conflict is not too serious, a relocation might work. But if any of these organizations is interested in harming [an individual], no city will provide a safe haven. Any of these organizations have the capacity to commit violent acts against any person in the country. (Research Professor 21 July 2021)

The Professor indicated that criminal groups would [translation] "do everything they can" to track someone with "privileged, or sensitive information" (Professor 29 July 2021).

According to an article by the Guardian, "Mexico has become a major importer of spyware" (The Guardian 7 Dec. 2020). Another Guardian article, quoting a security consultant from Mexico City, states that "'Mexico's capacity to spy on its citizens is immense'" and it is "'extremely easy for the technology and the information obtained through the spyware to fall into private hands – be it organised crime or commercial'" (The Guardian 19 July 2021). The Director stated that

tracking an individual does not require physical presence in that individual's location, due to the proliferation of spyware that tracks people through their phones. Mexico's government is a major consumer of spyware on the global stage, and the lack of proper controls over its use creates the risk that it could end up being used to serve private interests. (Director 21 July 2021)

Similarly, the Guardian reports that "there is little or no regulation of the sector – and no way to control where the spyware ends up" (The Guardian 7 Dec. 2020).

The Guardian article indicates that many regional and state forces are accused of" collaborating with criminal groups and that according to a senior US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official, "corrupt" Mexican officials have helped drug cartels acquire spyware "which can be used to hack mobile phones" (The Guardian 7 Dec. 2020).

Business Insider, an online global news publication (Business Insider 6 May 2016), reports that "commercial drones are now part of Mexican drug cartels' arsenal for attacking enemies" (Business Insider 1 June 2021). A BBC article states that drones are the "latest weapons in a deadly war" between the CJNG, and the "security forces and vigilantes opposed to them" (BBC 21 Apr. 2021). The BBC article reports that officials believe the CJNG was responsible for a drone attack in Michoacán in April 2021 (BBC 21 Apr. 2021). The same source adds that members of the CJNG used drones in an "attack" in the state of Michoacán in April 2021 (BBC 21 Apr. 2021). An article by Proceso, a magazine from Mexico City, reports that in May 2021, the CJNG used C4 explosives and [translation] "fragmentation grenades" to "attack" the community of Pinolapa in Michoacán (Proceso 4 May 2021). According to a CJNG operative interviewed by Business Insider, the Sinaloa Cartel "'is also using drones against contras [rivals]'" (Business Insider 1 June 2021).

Sources state that 80 percent of police forces are [translation] "controlled" by criminals (Notimex 21 Oct. 2019) or "almost 60 or 70 percent" are "corrupted" by organized crime (Doctor of criminology 21 July 2021). Sources noted that criminal groups bribe the police (Professor 29 July 2021; Research Professor 22 July 2021c) and judges (Professor 29 July 2021). The BTI report states that local police and politicians "have been infiltrated by organized crime" (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2020, 29). According to the Director, "criminal actors who have connections among authorities could request information from official databases" (Director 21 July 2021).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The Índice de Paz México (IPM) measures peace, which is defined as [translation] "'the absence of violence or fear of violence'," using five indicators (homicide, violent crimes, organized crimes, crimes committed with firearm, and imprisonment without a sentence) rated between 1 and 5, where 1 represents the "most peaceful rating" and 5 "the least peaceful" (IEP May 2020, 11). The IPM also uses data published by the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública, SESNSP), and [translation] "wherever possible, official data is adjusted to compensate for underreporting and contextualized using other datasets" (IEP May 2020, 11).

[2] The Semáforo Delictivo Nacional is a [translation] "social project" that aims to establish peace in Mexico by collecting monthly data on 11 "offenses": homicide, kidnapping, extortion, drug dealing, vehicle theft, home theft, business theft, intentional injuries or fights, rape, domestic violence and feminicide (Diario de Yucatán 28 Apr. 2020). The Semáforo Delictivo Nacional has three ratings:

Red: rates are above the historical average for said offense;

Yellow/Amber: rates are between the historical average and target for said offense; and

Green: rates are within the 25 percent reduction target (Diario de Yucatán 28 Apr. 2020).

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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Amnesty International; associate professor at an American university who specializes in Mexico-US relations, organized crime, border security, and human trafficking; Bertelsmann Stiftung; Brookings Institution; Center for Strategic and International Studies; Council on Foreign Relations; doctoral candidate at a university in Canada who researches violence and organized crime groups in Mexico; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; InSight Crime; International Crisis Group; journalists at The Wall Street Journal (2); Lantia Consultores; Mexico – Ministry of Finance; post-doctoral researcher at a Mexican university who specializes in gangs; professor at a Mexican university who specializes in drug and arm trafficking-related violence in Mexico; professor at a Mexican university who specializes in transnational organized crime, violence, and anti-money laundering in Mexico; sessional professor at a Canadian university who specializes in Mexican gangs and cartels; Transparency International; UN – UNDP; visiting researcher at an American University who specializes in insurgency, terrorism, and transnational crime in Northern Latin America; Wilson Center.

Internet sites, including: Al Jazeera; Amnesty International; Belgium – Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons; Center for Strategic and International Studies; COMUNICAcampeche.com; Denmark – Danish Immigration Service; ecoi.net; El Debate; El Sudcaliforniano; EU – European Asylum Support Office; Fédération internationale pour les droits humains; France – Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; Institute for War and Peace Reporting; Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; International Crisis Group; INTERPOL; Jane's Country Risk Daily Report; Justice in Mexico; Mexico – Ministry of Finance and Public Credit; MondoTimes; Netherlands – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The New Humanitarian; Norway – LandInfo; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; Reporters sans frontières; Transparency International; UN – Human Rights Council, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNDP, UN Women; US – Congressional Research Service, Department of State, Library of Congress; The Wall Street Journal; Washington Office on Latin America; Wilson Center; World Bank; Zeta Tijuana.