Source: Reuters
Pubdate: 10 Aug 1998


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Nearly a third of the illegal drugs that pass
through the Caribbean from South America to the United States enter Mexico
near the popular tourist resort of Cancun, a newspaper report said Monday.

Reforma newspaper said U.S. anti-drug agents were alarmed at the growing
importance of Mexico's eastern Yucatan peninsula, where Cancun is located,
as a transit point for cocaine.

It said that in the last month alone, the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) registered 64 boats believed to have been ferrying
narcotics from Colombia to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, in the Yucatan.

Of those boats, some 38 were registered to Mexicans, Reforma said, adding
that Mexican authorities had no comment when showed the list of boats.

The newspaper added that the vast majority of the ships -- some with
capacity of 300 tons -- unload their cargo on high-speed boats that land in
Cancun or very near the luxury resort.

U.S. officials have said that because of a crackdown on trafficking through
overland routes in northern Mexico, drug traffickers have started to rely
more heavily on the Caribbean as a transit point for cocaine -- as they did
in the early 1980s.

But Reforma has said in recent articles that Cancun has become the 1990s
equivalent of the role Miami played then as a key transit point for cocaine.

An estimated two-thirds of the cocaine that ends up in the United States
passes through Mexico at some point, officials in both countries say.

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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski