US court decides on arms trafficking case, Ayotzinapa development, Gálvez to visit D.C., AMLO’s proposed fentanyl reform
US federal appeals court rules that Mexico can sue US arms manufacturers, eight members of the military accused in the Ayotzinapa Case released from prison, Xóchitl Gálvez to visit the US, AMLO to present a constitutional reform banning the consumption of synthetic drugs like fentanyl. (Week of 01/21/2024 - 01/27/2024)
Week of 01/21/2024 - 01/27/2024
On Wednesday morning (01/24), eight members of the military who were accused of having played a role in the disappearance of 43 students in the 2003 Ayotzinapa Case were released from prison, following a decision made on Saturday (01/20) by federal judge Raquel Ivette Duarte Cedillo.
The eight men are awaiting their trial for their possible involvement in the disappearances, but Judge Duarte Cedillo’s decision allows for their freedom until the trial, with several conditions. The eight members of the military were all required to pay a 50,000 peso bail, turn in their passports to prevent them from leaving the country, and they must present themselves in front of the Judiciary on the first and the sixteenth day of every month. Furthermore, the men are not allowed to visit the state of Guerrero, where the disappearances took place, nor are they allowed to have any contact with or proximity to the victims, families of the victims, and witnesses.
A United States federal appeals court ruled on Monday (01/22) that American arms manufacturers are not immune from being sued by the Mexican government for “negligent commercial practices” that facilitate the illegal trafficking of arms to Mexican cartels.
In August of 2021, the Mexican government had presented a civil case against US arms manufacturers, arguing that their business practices had allowed for arms to move easily across the border and be acquired by violent drug cartels in Mexico. The court ruled in that case that arms dealers were protected by the PLCAA, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protected the companies from being sued for illegal activity that had been carried out using their firearms.
The Mexican government appealed this decision in September of 2022, and the appeals court sided on Monday (01/22) with the Mexican government, determining that the PLCAA does not apply in this case. Because of Monday’s ruling, the Mexican government’s case will be able to proceed in the trial court and Mexico will be able to seek damages from the US arms manufacturers.
During his Friday (01/26) morning press conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that he will propose a constitutional reform that will ban the consumption of synthetic drugs, including fentanyl.
Highlighting the dangers of drugs like fentanyl, especially to young people, the President expressed his administration’s commitment to dismantling the system of fentanyl production by shutting down laboratories and discouraging the illegal consumption of drugs by securing drug shipments. He also noted that the United States in particular has suffered from fentanyl use.
This reform will be included in López Obrador’s series of reforms and initiatives that will be presented on February 5.
Xóchitl Gálvez, the opposition candidate for Mexico’s June 2024 presidential election, announced that on February 5 she will travel to Washington, D.C., and New York City to meet with financial institutions, members of Congress, and think tanks over the course of a week.
Recalling her recent meetings with US members of Congress who had visited Mexico, Gálvez stated that Washington is particularly interested in discussing fentanyl and border security with her. She emphasized that she would not deny the existence of fentanyl laboratories in Mexico, a stance frequently taken by the current administration under López Obrador.
Gálvez noted that, due to the ever-changing nature of a campaign, her plans may change. Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate for the incumbent party, Morena, and Gálvez’s competitor, had also scheduled a trip to the United States recently, but has since canceled.
About the Author
The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute. Read more