Mexico City, Q.R. — Twelve customs administrators from Mexico’s Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT) agency have been removed from their positions for their alleged links to organized crime.
On Friday, customs director Horacio Duarte made the news public saying the criminal scheme is being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), adding that in some cases, bank accounts have already been frozen.
“It is always the tradition that we find the income does not correspond to the expenses, to their bank movements, cash movements, international trips that have no justification and, for this reason, we have found some cases of collusion of administrators with organized crime,” he said during his announcement from the National Palace.
Duarte added that since he took over the agency, a total 49 SAT administrators have been removed from office with these 12 being suspected of organized criminal activity which involves weapons, drugs, cash and hydrocarbons entering the country.
He explained that according to their investigations, two groups of officials located in Baja California and Tamaulipas were found operating in the country’s customs, who controlled illicit activities within the agency with alleged criminal ties.
“In general, the most serious thing in customs is the issue of weapons, drugs and cash along the northern border and, in the specific case of Tamaulipas, the issue of hydrocarbon smuggling where there is a very strong presence, especially in the Reynosa customs, which at the time, were the products detected,” he elaborated.
Duarte acknowledged that the cleansing ordered by the President has not progressed as fast as hoped, however, he said that with the support of the Secretary of the Navy, which already controls 17 maritime customs, and the army, which has just started a pilot plan on the northern border, results will improve.