Licensed to shoot, 556 foreign agents carry weapons


Historically, the largest group of foreign agents operating in Mexico belongs to the DEA, a US agency.

In the last nine years, the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) has granted 1,129 permits to carry weapons, half to foreign agents operating in Mexico and who must now adhere to the recent reforms to the National Security Law ( LSN), which will regulate their actions in Mexican territory and force them to respond to the authorities of this country for any use of their weapons.

In response to a request for public information, the agency headed by General Luis Cresencio Sandoval reported that during the period of former President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) and even so far during the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it granted 556 permits of carrying firearms to agents of foreign organizations operating in Mexico. While another 573 permits were issued to Mexicans.

Historically, the largest group of foreign agents operating in Mexico belongs to the US Anti-Drug Agency, known by its acronym in English as DEA.

Through the study, “What is the DEA doing in Mexico?”, The researcher from the CIDE International Studies Division, Carlos Pérez Ricart, points out that said agency maintains offices in Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Nogales, Hermosillo, Monterrey, Matamoros, Mazatlán, Guadalajara, Mérida, and Mexico City. Most of these offices, normally established in US consulates, were founded in the 1970s and are still active.

The Sedena, the only institution that can issue permits for the carrying and sale of weapons in Mexico, indicates that 2019, the first year of the government of President López Obrador, was the year that more licenses to carry Mexicans were granted since 2012: 195 permits in compared to previous years when between 20 and a maximum of 50 were authorized.

The agency reports that the entities where more Mexicans have processed these licenses are Mexico City with 275, the State of Mexico with 48, Nuevo León with 98, Querétaro with 26, and Jalisco with 28.

In responding to the request for public information, the General Directorates of the Military Industry and the Federal Register of Firearms and Control of Explosives of the Sedena, do not break down the permits to foreign personnel neither by year, nor by state, nor by agency, nor by country to which they belong.


Pérez Ricart maintains that the DEA is made up of 10,000 elements, of which more or less half (4,924) are anti-narcotics agents. Despite concentrating almost all of its resources on police actions within the United States, it maintains about 500 agents distributed in 91 offices in 68 countries.

No other US civilian agency, with the possible exception of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), allocates so much human and financial resources to non-domestic tasks.

The specialist adds that of the DEA agents that operate in Mexico, some are accredited before the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) and maintain formal and institutional contact with police and intelligence agencies in Mexico, so they should not be armed and They must inform the Mexican government about their actions, contacts, and movements.

But there are others that “are more elusive, their presence is temporary —maybe a few weeks, but never more than a couple of months— and the Mexican authorities are not always notified of this.”

The CIDE investigator emphasizes that, during the first years of the government of President López Obrador, the collaboration between Mexicans and Americans has been further reduced, since US officials recognize that the relationship is embedded in an environment of mistrust, which worsened after the unsuccessful capture of Ovidio Guzmán in October 2019.

Tema Ovidio Guzmán López | La Opinión

In 2015, reforms were approved to the Federal Law on Firearms and Explosives, which allowed foreign agents from areas such as customs, immigration, and security to carry firearms and empowered them to carry out searches in border areas. But on December 9, the Senate of the Republic approved reforms to the National Security Law to regulate the activities of foreign agents in the country, within the framework of bilateral cooperation agreements and programs.

The regulations include that no foreign element may make arrests, deprive them of liberty or search property. They will not have immunity either, although they will be able to carry weapons.

With the reform of the National Security Law we do not favor crime: Monreal tells the US

Morena’s leader in the Senate rejected the accusations made by the attorney general of that country

The reform to the National Security Law approved in the Senate to regulate foreign agents does not include elements that favor transnational crime, Senator Ricardo Monreal replied to the still United States Attorney General, William Barr.

Speaking to El Sol de México, Morena’s leader in the Senate accepted that it will be a controversial issue with the neighboring country “because for 100 years it has not been regulated.” The presidential initiative endorsed by the upper house, and which is now under review in its co-legislator, obliges foreign agents to submit periodic reports of their work to the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE), in addition to preventing them from making arrests, carrying weapons and limits their immunity.

wo days after the Senate endorsed the reform, the United States, through prosecutor Barr, warned that the new legislation can only benefit transnational criminal organizations.

Monreal Ávila rejected the accusations. “On the contrary, having clear protocols for the exchange of information will now allow both countries to have a greater amount of inputs to develop joint strategies to strengthen national security on both sides of the border.” He pointed out that considering that the reform could benefit criminal groups “would mean that equality between nations, which favors dignified treatment and cooperation as equals, is not valued in its true proportion.”

For the Bicamaral National Security Commission, Deputy Francisco Javier Huacus said that the reaction of the United States attorney is natural, “because they have always done what they want in our country, without regulation.” “It is a political reaction and we were aware that it was going to happen because the United States does like to monitor everyone, but does not want to be watched or regulated,” he added.

They have always done what they want in our country, without regulation

Javier Huacus / Member of the PT

While in the Chamber of Deputies, the president of the Interior Commission, Rocío Barrera Badillo, also denied that the reform benefits crime. “The relationship with the United States is not being affected or benefiting criminals, what we want is a matter of coordination, through an agreement that existed in 1992 and that realities have changed.”

Yesterday, William Barr announced that he would leave his post on December 23.

This medium asked Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, spokesman for the Government of the Republic, an official position on Barr’s allegations, but at the end of the edition there was no response.


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