US State Dept., April 6, 2004
2003 Drug Cultivation Estimates for Mexico
The United States has completed the 2003 annual estimates of illicit drug cultivation in Mexico. The estimates indicate -- despite intensive Mexican eradication programs -- an overall increase in marijuana and opium poppy cultivation.
Mexicoís intensive eradication efforts resulted in a record elimination of 36,600 hectares of marijuana, up from 30,777 hectares of marijuana eradicated in 2002. Unusually favorable growing conditions and increased planting efforts by narco-traffickers contributed to a 70 percent increase in marijuana cultivation for 2003. The number of hectares cultivated increased from 4,400 in 2002 to 7,500 in 2003.
The estimates also show a 78 percent increase in opium poppy cultivation, again owing to unusually favorable growing conditions and stepped-up planting efforts. The number of hectares cultivated increased from 2,700 in 2002 to 4,800 in 2003. Mexico sustained 2002ís strong opium poppy eradication efforts, increasing slightly from 19,626 hectares of poppy to a record 20,000 hectares of opium poppy eradicated in 2003. The report noted that 2003ís opium poppy cultivation levels, while an increase over 2002, are well within the historic range of poppy cultivation seen for the last decade.
While the increases in illicit drug crop cultivation are of concern to both the United States and Mexico, cooperation between our two countries on counter-narcotics has never been better.
In 2003 Mexico and the Fox Administration made major progress in both interdicting drugs and attacking drug trafficking organizations and cartel leadership. Mexican law enforcement agencies seized 2,019 metric tons of marijuana, 354 kilograms of opium and heroin, and 20 metric tons of cocaine. In addition, Mexican authorities captured major drug cartel figures, such as Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the head of a violent drug trafficking organization that smuggled marijuana and cocaine into the United States, and Manuel Campas, a member of the "El Mayo" Zambada Garcia organization, and extradited a record 31 fugitives to the United States (up from a record 25 in 2002).
Released on April 6, 2004
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