Drug Violence Impacting Security for Mexico Supply Chains

Security experts discuss how CSOs can mitigate risks in the country

Photo courtesy stock.xchng/jcam
Photo courtesy stock.xchng/jcam
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The following article originally appeared on SecurityInfoWatch.com, a sister site of SDCExec.com at Cygnus Business Media. Joel Griffin is assistant editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com. The article continues below at SecurityInfoWatch.com.

Since 2006, the Mexican government under President Felipe Calderon has been embroiled in a bloody war with drug cartels that operate throughout the country. This has obviously created some additional headaches for security directors whose companies have operations in Mexico, but the violence has recently escalated to the point where it is having a direct impact on businesses.

Earlier this year, SecurityInfoWatch.com (SIW) reported on a growing number of incidents of cargo crime in the country, as the cartels have sought out other ways to supplement their income. Cargo crime remains a big problem in Mexico, but what was once a relatively safe place for corporations to establish plants and send their executives to hammer out business deals is now anything but.

"One of the concerns that I know companies are facing is a lack of concern from the cartels about collateral damage," said Daniel Johnson, senior chief of ASI Global, a subsidiary of medical and security evacuation firm Medex that specializes in kidnap and ransom response.

While a lot of the violence in the country is targeted, Sam Logan, regional manager of Latin America for risk management services firm iJET, says that there have been several recent incidents that involved the indiscriminant killing of innocent victims.

Last month, gunmen opened fire on buses carrying factory workers in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, killing four people and wounding 15 others. The victims worked in a plant owned by car upholstery maker Eagle Ottawa. A spokeswoman for Eagle Ottawa said the company could not comment about the attack due to an ongoing investigation into the incident.

Mexican authorities may be making some headway in the violence in Ciudad Juarez, however, as they recently announced the arrest of Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, leader of Aztecas street gang who claims he is responsible for 80 percent of the murders in the city since August 2009.

"It's not pinpoint precision that they are going after (in attacking) their perceived opposition. They are shooting a busload of people and kind of letting the chips fall where they may," Johnson said. "There used to be, for lack of a better term, a perceived 'immunity' for the Americans that were working down there, which seems to be gone now. They are as much a target of violence or affected by the violence as anyone else."

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