Nearly 2,000 kg of marijuana heading to Tamaulipas seized in Michoacán/Guanajuato border

“MX” for Borderland Beat
The marijuana was hidden in boxes

Members of the National Guard and the Mexican Army seized approximately 1,638 kg (3,611 lbs) of marijuana hidden inside two vehicles. The seizure occurred in Pénjamo, a municipality in Guanajuato that borders Michoacán. Four people were arrested in the operation. According to security forces, the marijuana had a market value of over MXN$3,193,444 (US$136,364).

The vehicles were coming from the state of Nayarit and were heading to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, a city in northeastern Mexico and considered a stronghold of the Gulf Cartel. Nayarit is about a 14-hour drive from Matamoros. As they drove through a highway that connects Pénjamo with the Michoacán municipality of La Piedad, they were stopped at a law enforcement checkpoint for a traffic violation. Both drivers were not wearing their seat belts.

Authorities noticed the vehicle and drivers were suspicious and proceeded to do an inspection. The drugs they found were placed in 134 packages inside several boxes. About MXN$40,000 (US$1,708) were seized as well.

The suspects were placed under federal jurisdiction. The seizure is part of the security campaign National Plan of Peace and Security (Plan Nacional de Paz y Seguridad) and the addiction prevention campaign Together for Peace (Juntos por la Paz) that started under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Background
Marijuana production in the U.S. continues to grow every year, but a lot of the marijuana consumed in the U.S. is still produced outside of the country.

In Mexico, marijuana production is primarily centered in the following states: Sinaloa, Jalisco, Chihuahua, Durango, Guerrero, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Nayarit. This last state is where the drivers were coming from.

Distance between Nayarit and Matamoros, Tamaulipas (nearly a 14-hour drive)

Nayarit has been a strategic corridor for drug cartels planning to move merchandise north. In a country torn apart by drug-violence, Nayarit has traditionally been the exception.

The reduced drug-related murders in the state have been widely praised in the past, but others have suggested that they may be a sign that Nayarit is colluded with organized crime. Their state attorney, Edgar Veytia, was arrested in San Diego in 2017 for drug trafficking.

Note: For better readability, the sources were linked in the body paragraphs above. Some of the sources inadvertently stated that Pénjamo is in Michoacán. It is in Guanajuato.